What More to Debate?
As the 2012 GOP Primary debates come to an end, one thing is certain: The Republican Party has gone mad, frothing from every orifice, Old-Yeller-in-the-corncrib-gnashing-at-the-hand-that-feeds, mad. For the casual observer this campaign season is just like all the rest. It's the customary chest thumping of primates asserting they're dominance. A few debates in I was about to write these particular primaries off as such. Upon closer inspection, as the front-runners dropped like pucks on the Plinko Table, I saw a glimpse of something more, something floating at the brim longing to spill over. In a self-slashing frenzy the kingpins of white-misogyny, dosed up on a cocktail of Union abjuration, racial bigotry, yonic fear, and Super PAC financing, turned on one another. The melee was only exacerbated through the shouts and grunts of an audience armed with the attention span of a toddler in a room full of kittens. As each debate's eccentricities escalated to unprecedented levels, liberal America finally understood the absolute beauty of a demolition derby. And good goddamn! What a sight to behold! The candidates tried so hard to out crazy one another that even Jeb Bush began questioning whether he's a conservative, "I used to be a conservative, and I watch these debates and I'm wondering, I don't think I've changed, but it's a little troubling sometimes when candidates are appealing to people's fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective." He said, in awe.
Perhaps more frighting than the attacks on each other is what lurks in those calmer moments, somewhere between the backbiting and self-aggrandizing, when these candidates and their ilk agree: once upon a time any man who so desired could attain staggering riches with merely the sweat of his brow; women were "free" to only concern themselves with cooking and raising children; there was no poverty, no welfare, no crime, no homosexuals and none of those "job stealing" immigrants. Through limited government and an unthrottled love of Jesus this great nation prospered.
The thing is, such a place never existed. Nonetheless, that didn't stop Ron Paul from claiming in South Carolina that in the early '60s, "It (health care) worked rather well and there was nobody out in the street suffering with no medical care." Perhaps Paul had conveniently forgotten, just as he forgot approving those newsletters, that in 1959, prior to the 1965 signing into law of Medicare, the Republican administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, along with the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, issued a report to Congress stating that the rising cost of health care was forcing some people on the dole. Oh, and who needed that dreaded G.I. Bill?
An era most minorities in this country are still trying to escape has been plastered with more coats of paint than the Golden Gate Bridge and is now just as appealing of a place to return to when things get shaky. Yet as requests for a living wage, marriage equality, affordable health care, or any other humane cause gets mentioned, "Real America" attempts to accelerate our national DeLorean to 88pmh with the date set to 1955.
This idea of a once grand utopia was arguably spawned sometime during the days of Nixon and the evangelical thralls of Reagan. It started to appear as though Norman Rockwell paintings had replaced history books. It wasn't too long before self-appointed "Real Americans" found the source of their strife -- those other Americans! Over the next forty years, no mater how hard they tried, Jesus never came back, openly gay couples still wanted to be together in wedlock instead of the Senitorially preferred airport restrooms, Women wanted control of their own bodies, and non-white America continued to grow in numbers. Due to polices put forward by Real America's elected officials, the banks became robbers and the everyday homeowner were their victims. Then the unthinkable happened; a black man with a Muslim sounding name became president. Finally they had a scapegoat, someone to lay all the sins of a past administration on. Real America went from preachy to pissed.
No one is pining for those mythological glory days, before the black president with the "phony theology," more than Rick Santorum. Since day one turning back time has been the goal of his campaign. When the season began, his nonsense about Satan attacking America was on the fringe of national discourse. The real problem the GOP was set on tackling was the economy. The culture wars, though raging in state legislatures, were set on the back burner. This election season was going to be about fiscal policy. "Got to stop those overspending democrats from destroying the American way of life, damn It!"
That was the rhetoric. Until just a few weeks ago, at a campaign stop in Las Vegas, Newt Gingrich, coming down from a brief stint at the top of the polls, set his sights on front-runner Mitt Romney for his absorbent wealth, "I think we want a candidate who represents Americans who work, pay taxes and believe in the Declaration of Independence, not somebody who is clearly against the American ideal." said the hammock of a man.
Former candidate Rick Perry, with a gleaming endorsement of Gingrich, echoed his sentiments. Soon, even Mitt Romney found himself somewhere between "queers" and "facts" on the GOP's bloated list of intolerances.
What a dagger to the heart of all the Paul Ryans and Eric Canters in the House of Representatives trying to Shamwow progress with their fight for the free market and extension of the Bush tax cuts. Their species of inanity has now metastasized into a more potent and viral epidemic. Except for his successful healthcare plan and magic underwear, Romney is the poster child of the Republican ideal. Romney is what we're told we'll become if we just try, try, try hard enough. He reflects the avarice of the 'haves' and inspires the more dangerous covetousness of the 'have-nots.' It's the riches of tycoons like him that encourage millions of Americans to incessantly hit the mental snooze button with the hopes of experiencing the American Dream.
As the party continued eying each other like starving sailors lost at sea, January's National Unemployment numbers were released. The drop to 8.3% made headlines. Though still high, it became clear that going head to head with Obama on the economy would not be as easy as previously thought. What was to be a campaign focused on fiscal issues took a turn down the social conservative turnpike. It was time to pull out the ol' culture wars and polish them to an intoxicating new shimmer.
So here we are. Just yesterday Gingrich chimed, "We have a secular elitist wing that deeply, deeply disbelieves in America, that wants to create a different country based on a different set of principles. And we have a radical Islamist one which legitimately and authentically hates us and should."
Gingrich's statements came fresh off the heels of Rick Santorum and his raging crusade of batshit crazy. Santorum so despises modernity that he longs for a time before the separation of church and state. He's not a fan of higher education. He has even gone so far to say that a ruling in favor of gay rights over his irrationality is unethical because it's a sign of, "intolerance for irrationality." And when he couldn't find anyone else to attack, he took towards vaginas. The catalog of his bigotry and complete lack of understanding of the modern world grows so fast, that by the time you finish reading this he has probably made yet another headline for some statement of bigoted foolery. Someday someone needs to do him a favor and let him know that no matter how far in the closet he is, he'll never find Narnia.
As the GOP continues to combust I can only hope it propels America to a brighter future. At this juncture, before the votes are counted, before we're able to rest assured none of these clowns are our president, feelings like that are best suppressed, for who knows how mad "Real America" really is.