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ailingGOP

What Ails the GOP?

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“The United States stopped the German military and beat the North Koreans and the Chinese and defeated the North Vietnamese in many engagements. But under this president, our military has not been able to stop ISIS for some reason. Is Obama not prosecuting the war correctly? Or is there another reason?,” Savage asked…“Let’s not go there,” Savage warned. “If you do, you’ll realize the situation is far worse than you think.” (Michael Savage, February 18, 2015)

“Why don’t Republicans spend all their airtime attacking the media for lying about what Obama’s amnesty does and what the Democrats are doing? It’s hard to avoid concluding that Republicans aren’t trying to make the right arguments. In fact, it kind of looks like they’re intentionally throwing the fight on amnesty.

“If a Republican majority in both houses of Congress can’t stop Obama from issuing illegal immigrants Social Security cards and years of back welfare payments, there is no reason to vote Republican ever again.” (Anne Coulter, GOP: Double crossing traitors)

Since 2008 I’ve been trying to get the conservatives who refuse to stop playing in the GOP sandbox to start thinking like Americans when it comes to saving our liberty. For reasons of religious faith, moral character and historical circumstances, Americans have always been a people unwilling to accept injustice, unfairness and treachery. We see this in the famous “Don’t Tread on me” banner that was one of the first flags of Revolutionary America. Impatience with unwarranted constraints was also a factor in the restlessness that drove Americans ever deeper into the sparsely inhabited lands of the North American continent.

That same drive accounts for the kaleidoscope of associations and organizations, political and otherwise, Americans have been prone to create and recreate in every era. If something needs doing, Americans have always been the least likely people in the world to sit around waiting for someone else to get it done. In this too, we see the mentality of generations of people who met the challenge of carving home, farms and towns out of virtually undeveloped territory. People who weren’t prone to take the initiative for themselves simply didn’t survive that challenge.

Perhaps this also accounts for the prickly individualism that strove against the subservience to public opinion Tocqueville thought likely to be one of the characteristics of the democratic ethos in America. As long as the frontier spirit persisted, there was always a good supply of Americans renowned for their “ornery cussedness” (the early West gave us some phrases that sound exactly like what they are supposed to convey.) In American parlance, the word ‘ornery’ came to mean irascible and prickly. But it may originally have been a shorthand pronunciation of the word ‘ordinary’.

Spend but a little time with most people who call themselves Republicans and you’ll hear, over and over again, some version of the mantra of free enterprise, fueled by individual freedom, a sense of personal responsibility and the impulse to seize the initiative rather than waiting for others to act. Yet since the end of the Reagan presidency the politics of the GOP has veered toward the politburo/collectivist culture characteristic of socialist/communist parties throughout the world.

Apparently, for the elitist minded Republican leaders who took the helm as the Bush era came into its own, that entrepreneurship talk is great when it helps grease the wheels of Congress and the bureaucracy, to the advantage of corporate interests. But when it generates political activity that interferes with the whirlpools of corrupt self-interest used to apply the grease, it has to be suppressed.

The elitist suppression of political entrepreneurship introduces a serious self-contradiction into the very heart of the GOP. It fundamentally contradicts the other defining mantra of Republican politics, which declares allegiance to the U.S. Constitution and to the Union, i.e., the national identity informed by the fact that Americans hold fast to the principles of democratic-republican self-government set forth in the Declaration of Independence.

The GOP first took root in the allegiance of Americans who heard their own hearts in the stirring peroration of Daniel Webster’s most famous speech. In it he declared his allegiance to “Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable.” Of course, that sentiment proved to be the prelude to an arduous civil war, necessary in order to make sure that liberty for some would no longer be purchased at the price of slavery for others.

Before that war, some Americans upheld a specious right of property that included the “right” to trample out the God-endowed humanity of others. Thereafter the common ground of America’s liberty was defined in terms of every individual’s right to develop his properties of talent, ingenuity, virtue and good faith. These unalienable property rights proved to be the keys to portals onto vistas of general prosperity and convenience, such as humanity had never seen before.

True to the American creed (the one that made slavery anathema), these are God-endowed properties of character, spirit and material potential. In various ways, and to various degrees the Creator makes them available to all, along with a natural inclination of heart and will intended to encourage people to exercise them for their own individual good, but also for the common good of all.

The Republican Party grew up in the context of the nation’s rededication to this common national identity. It was epitomized, for political purposes, by the unalienable right of liberty. The founding President of the Party articulated the statesmanship that made this moral right- to government of, by and for the people- the touchstone of the nation’s purpose. Thus he gave meaning to the horrid carnage of the Civil War.

Lincoln helped Americans read from its pages of sacrifice an affirmation of the nation’s good will. By doing so he robed the monumental death toll of the war with the aspect of redemptive justice. From blood drenched battlefields his words distilled a Job-like charism. From the broken hearts of the generation he led it flowed forward to anoint America’s future generations into the service of our nation’s God-acknowledging truths. So freedom, though much abuse, was borne out of the shadow of God-accursed death, onto the steep but God-blessed path of that right exercise for which it earns the name of liberty.

If the GOP today still held to the path of its original vocation, our nation would not stand upon the brink of self-destruction. But though the hearts of many Republicans still beat in tempo with our nation’s founding creed, the GOP’s quisling leaders have betrayed them with their sirens’ song of hollow victories, into a situation that is, as Michael Savage say, far worse than we think, with consequences for our nation’s fate we shudder hard to contemplate. Nonetheless, in Part II of this essay, I try to do just that.



 

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