I decided then that when I got a moment I would write you a letter and try to express my concerns with what is going on. In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I am not a Republican. I have never been a Republican; in fact I’m really, really liberal. However, while I was raised in a nuclear family composed of Democrat voters, there is a lot of conservativism in my family. I was raised going to church, respecting protestant values, and taught to be fiscally conservative. So I didn’t blindly choose to be liberal, I came to it by becoming a thinking, informed adult and I realized what was best for me. There it is. That’s my bias, out on the table.
So while I do not agree with conservative values, I generally respect people who disagree with me. However, the following issues I have with your party go beyond what I can respectfully stand. As such, I’m calling you out.
- Disrespect for the American political system AKA yelling shit out in congress. (Sorry to be so blunt.) I dealt with this in more detail here, as mentioned above. In summary, I cannot think of a more childish, discourteous way for America’s political decision makers to behave. Unacceptable.
- Refusal to work together and compromise. You have blocked literally everything that the president and Democrat majority congress have tried to do. It doesn’t matter what it is, you vote against it. How will you get being the party who stands for nothing except being against Democrats? The biggest example is the health care bill, but to better illustrate what I actually mean, I will use the example I talked about here. Basically, Al Franken sponsored an amendment on a bill. That amendment that would end government contacts with companies that keep raped American contact workers from prosecute their rapists and suing the contract companies. What should have been a very uniting vote...a no brainer, still garnished several "NAY" votes. And they were from (male) Republicans (only.) Disgusting.
- This leads nicely into my third gripe, the Republican commentator tendency to equate liberalism to the "raping" of America. If I need to explain why this is a problem, then we are simply not on the same plane of thought, and I am not capable of discussing much of anything with you. But just in case, I'll let Amanda and Jill pick this apart. It makes me SICK.
- And of course, if you clicked those links, then you can see why I would say that I also take issue with the Republican tendency to embrace racism. As if it isn't bad enough that you have hardly any POC representation in your party, you are out rightly racist in your rhetoric. You can call them cartoons, I will call it what it is: racism. And it's not just limited to Obama, your racism has been aimed at others like Sonia Sotomayor and John Lewis. In fact, some might even say that points #1 and #5 are inextricably linked to your racism. When you say you want to "take our country back" what else are we supposed to believe? Who is the "our?" And who are we taking it back from?
- Of course the racism and rape analogies lead right into my next point: The link between Republicans and the utilization of violence. From threats on Obama to the murder of Dr. Tiller to threats of violence against representatives who voted for the health care bill, all of it is extremely disturbing, chilling, and totally inexcusable. How is violence ever a rational solution in public discourse? It's not. As I realize that violence is not the response of reasonable individuals, I do not hold all or even most Republicans responsible for the violence, I am simply acknowledging a scary link. However, what I will hold the party responsible for is...
- Unabashedly embracing right wing fringe groups. I really can't explain this any better than Jill has. As she said about the fringe's use of violence, racism, and homophobia, "We’re talking about a major political party that does nothing to deter that kind of behavior, and instead quietly encourages it." This point for me goes hand in hand with the vilification of the word liberal. Republicans have worked SO VERY HARD to make liberal a dirty word that no one uses or self identifies with in major political elections. Heaven forbid a Democrat be linked to liberal fringe groups. Barack Obama was said to be such a liberal crazy, to be feared...and yet "smart, conservative leadership" is thrown around every where. It seems to me that I should be a lot more afraid of the word conservative, at least by how it is being portrayed to by the current Republican Party.
- And while we're talking about homophobia, Republicans are the anti-gay marriage party...the party of anti-gay everything. This is something I just really don't get. Like I've said 100 times...if you don't want a gay marriage don't. have. one. Why oppress a group of people for shits and giggles? However, Republican's anti-gay stance highlights something that kills me the most about the right: Hypocrisy. It's not surprising that the top 10 anti-gay politicians caught being gay are Republicans. And it's not surprising that the RNC, a party of "family values" is spending money on strippers. (Keeping in mind that I intend not to make a judgment call about sex work, but rather highlight the hypocrisy of holding everyone to rigid sexual standards and then using party money on sex workers.) And threatening violence against the guy YOU called a "baby killer?" Really?
- Lastly, the Republican Party accuses Barack Obama of being all talk, yet, like I mentioned in #2, they themselves are chiefly the reason he can get nothing done. The real problem is that everything that Democrats try to do or say is ignored, belittled, or twisted. If you do not come to the table with some level of respect for your adversary, intelligent discourse is utterly impossible. For example, watching meet the press yesterday, Democrat Bob Schrum made a point about how losing Ted Kennedy's Democrat Senate seat mobilized the Democrat Party, and all Republican commentator Mike Murphy had to say about it was that it was a bunch of "disingenuous sound bites" that he couldn't address. If you continually ignore, belittle, or twist what your opponent is saying, then nothing will ever get done. EVER. It's an evasive discussion technique. It's in the same vein as saying that someone's tone is "too angry" for you hear what they are saying; as a way of ignoring their message, of course.
Well guess what, I am angry. But I've tried to keep my tone respectful and actually address what I feel is soon to be the death of the American political system. Seriously, if contempt, non-action, hypocrisy, violence, racism, careless rape analogies, and belittling within mainstream American politics isn’t to be the death of our system, what is? When the fringe becomes the typical, how is civil discourse possible? When everyone is Rush Limbaugh, how will we ever hear each other?
We’re not there yet, but the Republican party is bringing us scarily close. And that’s why I addressed this to you, reasonable American Republicans. You are the ones who are not participating in violence or racism, and yet you are being represented by those who are. How does that make you feel? Are you going to do something about it?
Discuss issues with me. Disagree with me. Vehemently defend your viewpoint. But don’t use violence or a rape analogy. Don’t belittle, threaten, or ignore me.