This begs the question, why do this? There absolutely has to be a reason, some bigger picture we aren't seeing, that would make Republicans keep using and even doubling down on the extreme rhetoric of anti-women, anti-immigration, anti-gay, anti 'any not like us' talk. (So if you are not a rich, white male, then shut up and go lay down by your dish.)
The Congress is grinding to a stop repeatedly and becoming completely polarized with 'compromise' now considered a dirty word. A certain amount of give and take to reach a middle ground was supposed to be their job description until all the Tea Partiers came aboard and the political extremism intensified to the point of making Congress not working at all as a plan it seems.
Ron Paul as the supposed intellectual godfather of the Tea Party must be rubbing his hands in gleeful satisfaction. I get that youth gravitates to the revolution spoken by Ron Paul but I really don't get the youth signing on for his anti-choice, life begins at conception so no hormonal birth control position. So youth + no contraception + no abortion = no sex or lots of babies. Are the youth not reading the fine print on this candidate? Forgive, I digress.
Many very savvy political commentators have been bringing the question up of why the Republicans bite the bullet to continue on down this path of extreme rhetoric. Sometimes history can give us insight, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
A possible reason for the extreme rhetoric could be to prepare the field and lay the groundwork? Here are some quotes from an actual professor of history on a democracy becoming dismantled (not a self-professed historian like Newt Gingrich, but a professor that would truly upset anti-college Santorum).
"Mass extremism, intolerance, a desperate desire for radical change - all factors that make a stable democracy impossible - are difficult to evoke. When the community is secure, political agitators find themselves ranting in near-empty halls. It takes a haunting fear, a sudden awareness of hitherto unsuspected dangers, to fill the halls with audiences who see the agitator as their deliverer." *
So if a group wanted to gain power over the masses in country with a democracy like the USA, the first order of business would be perpetuating mass extremism and intolerance. Anybody noticed that more and more people are either getting on board with the bible-thumping pervasive hate messages of what used to be the far right Tea Party types? How many are now going along with the strong arm harassment and the peer pressured hate message or just getting out?
Some of the hate messages in our country lately:
- 'hate strong independent women - they are evil' (no surprise Rush Limbaugh gets a nod from keep them pregnant and at home club)
- 'hate people of color - they are lazy and dangerous' (dismantle the Civil Rights Act)
- 'hate gays - they are corrupt' (rewrite discrimination laws).
One need look no further than the financial collapse to know fear has spread through the middle-class. Will they lose their jobs, their homes, their pension, what will their children's future be? As long as the fear can be fed and the group wanting to take power stands firmly in the way of providing any path to recovery, then a check mark can be made on 'desperate desire for radical change' as well.
You might try to dismiss this as 'every four years the Democrats and Republicans go at it' but this is different. We are not just talking about a push to get the White House for four years, we are looking at how one group would destabilize a democracy to take power and rewrite the laws in order to keep that power. Don't think that can happen in America? Then you must not have heard about Benton Harbor Michigan takeover. Its already happening. ** Video link to msnbc on Benton Harbor below
The Tea Party activists core issues are similar to Ron Paul's rabid desire to cut government spending and even dismantle entire areas of government, a disdain of the politics of compromise. In the 2010 elections many of the Tea Party social conservatives got in and went to work rewriting laws in many states across the country on access to birth control, abortion, definitions of rape and discrimination and voting rights.
It becomes easier to see why Republicans in Congress, under pressure from the Tea Party would want to make sure the American economy stalls by standing in the way of any jobs bills and by attaching poison to any attempts to encourage our economy.
It can be truly frightening to watch these events of today unfold and not be struck by the similarities in the history throughout the book. Another quote from that history professor, "If that bunch ever once gets in, democracy will be lost" *
As an optimist, I still hold to the hope that we will be somehow able to push back and stand against these machinations. I for one, still believe in that 'can do' American spirit which can accomplish amazing things in spite of seemingly impossible odds, to bring us back from the edge of disaster.
** Video links to msnbc to learn more about what has happened at Benton Harbor http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#46436487
* William Allen Sheridan. The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town 1922-1945. ed. 1973, pp. 23, 42.