Posts Tagged Republicans

The founding fathers know best: the TV Land version of American history


"Listen to this, kids. We can now live free or die. It's our choice."

Sarah Palin summed things up best. When her history teacher, Mr. Beck,  asked who her favorite Founder was, she replied: “Well as for me ummmm….thats a hard one, cuz all of them have a special place in my heart.”.  Which is like being asked who your favorite candidate for president is and you saying you couldn’t make up your mind, they all were that good.  (But I guess when you are busy reading everything from the Nation to National Geographic to Penthouse it can be hard to make up your mind about a lot of things.)

It’s like people really believe that the ‘founding fathers’ were of the same mind, with the same goals and ambitions.  That almost overnight they became angry at the British and, looking around and seeing ALL the other angry Americans, got together, wrote the Declaration of Independence, formed the Continental Congress and ratified the Constitution.  Somewhere around 1776.

A lot of people on the right claim to be  modern day patriots,  who (incorrectly) see themselves fighting for the same things as did colonial Americans 240 years ago.  They are not alone there:  ill-informed politically minded people have claimed the divine right of Minutemen before, both on the right and on the left.  And of course, none of them were anywhere near the truth, either

The issues facing the colonial rebels at that time were nothing like those we face today, no matter how we may like to stretch the truth.  Like our current tax policies or not,  in this country every citizen, no matter their gender, race, religion, educational background or financial status, is represented by their vote.  Something that the colonists did not enjoy and something that they did not grant most Americans when they took power from the British. And they never said much of anything negative about government health care (though there were some positive words spoken about similar ideas).

"Martha, I've told you that Dan'l Boone handles problems with the Beaver."

In spite of all their lamentations, I don’t think that Revolutionary-era ideals are what the Tea Party & Co. are pining away for.  They know too little of history to convince me of that.  What they really miss is Parson Weem’s America, as taught in classrooms of the 1950’s and early 1960’s, when so many of them grew up. It was a rosy and glorious history,  full of anecdotes and myths about their country’s heroes that gave (almost) everyone a warm feeling inside.  It was the fifties, the big war was over, victorious America was super powerful and the times were prosperous, while the somewhat distant Soviet threat united many of them in common cause.  Life was good.

Unless you were black,  Jewish, an ambitious woman or a homosexual.  In that case you probably didn’t rate a pool-side martini with Doris or a corner office on Madison Avenue.  (OK, maybe some Jewish guys did alright there. And Rock was gay…) But non-WASPs,  many of whom played major roles in our nation’s early history, were almost never mentioned in Baby-Boomer text books  (as some non-experts would like to do with our text books today).  Instead they were told that it was the noble, virtuous  and Christian men of the colonies,  who would quickly shed their white wigs and frock coats whenever another musket was needed, who led a nation of united Americans (including their slaves) in the common cause of freedom and liberty for all (except for the slaves, of course. And women).  Anti-historical rubbish.

I know there are a few minorities swimming in conservative Republican waters right now, even some gays. But I think it’s pretty obvious that the bulk of the angry people are angry because they are the descendants of what were once the entitled and privileged class of America.  Not the super wealthy, but those who never feared that hard work and good morals would be insufficient to make it in America. Those that never had to worry about being denied a job or a place of residence because of what they looked like.  Those that never had to stand outside in the dark, looking wistfully into the living rooms and kitchens of suburbia, wondering what that would be like, if only things could be different.

And now they are. And that pisses a lot of people off because nobody wants to share their toys, especially the white Christian right who have spiritually possessed the Republican party.  And as we all know, it is an American Christian mantra that “he who dies with the most toys goes to heaven”.  Toys like health care and pensions. And cheap gas for their SUVs. And really good schools that keep the property values up (Or at least they did for a while. Rats!)

And that’s the point of the anti-history lesson being taught by the Tea Party and Glenn Beck:  life used to be so much better. For the heirs of the Founders.

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Barak Obama: the heir of Woodrow Reagan?


Man, it’s really tough getting a handle on this President. Is he Woodrow Wilson incarnate, or Ronald Reagan?

The Right wing thinks he is an  anti-American, quasi-Christian (or maybe-Muslim) pseudo-intellectual who is hell-bent on forcing his national socialist agenda upon the United States,  impoverishing it enough so that it will easily comply with the demands of a European-led New World Order.  The deadliest of democracy’s enemies:  a Progressive.

The Left wing believes he is a cowardly, vacillating Quisling, a pawn of the Republicans,  who has arrogantly ignored his Democratic base  by  caving in to conservative congressional demands,  kowtowing to Wall Street and perpetuating  the policies of the Bush era. In short: he is no Progressive.

How can Limbaugh, Savage, Beck  and the Teavangelistas label Obama a  Progressive/Socialist who must be defeated in 2012 while Schultz,  Rhodes,  Miller and the Young Turks are questioning the wisdom of supporting him for another term?

I guess this shouldn’t be very surprising, when our only political choices are between two extremes.  Or at least, that’s the way the politicians and pundits present things, particularly with this last election.  Any moderates need not apply for office.  We will accuse you of lacking ideals and convictions and you will likely lose the primary.

So, is Obama feeling this liberal heat for being a moderate: willing to negotiate terms with Republicans, just so that something might get done, even if it is something  less than what he would have hoped?  Are the Democrats really the liberal extremists the conservatives paint them ?  And are the conservatives  so intoxicated with political righteousness that it is impossible for them to see anyone on the left as something other than a Marxist demon?

Because the conservatives sure are unaware of any presidential diplomacy, any sense that Obama might be more of a centrist than a leftist. They crow about the victory of  Republican ideals over Democratic snake oil, ignoring the fact that this victory would not have been possible without a Presidential willingness to play ball.  The debate over whether or not to extend Bush the tax cuts and restore lapsing unemployment benefits  could have stalled over political principles, presenting us with the worst case scenario – increased taxes on the middle class along with a loss of their jobless benefits.

It’s no wonder that so few politicians  present themselves as thoughtful, reasonable people, willing to listen to both sides of the issue and take both sides seriously.  Moderates raise the ire of both political parties.  Besides that, the subtleties of post partisanship, the idea that both sides have good ideas and that the best practice is one that is not slavishly devoted to any one ideology, is lost on today’s voters. .  Everything is a matter of black or white,  left or right.  And that’s how we like our Presidents.

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