July 21, 2016 By Jack Jodell.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
– Old French Proverb –
Happy midsummer, all. Well, the Tea Party-infested, reactionary Republican Party is now meeting in Cleveland for its 2016 presidential nominating convention, and it appears to be making, and even adding to, many of the same old mistakes it made 64 or so years ago. Let me explain.
Back in 1952, just like now, the Republicans had not held the White House for many years. They were chomping at the bit to elect a Republican President, so they chose to nominate popular war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was in fact elected that fall. Then as now, much of the country (and especially Republicans) lived in fear about foreign menaces: back then, it was the threat of succumbing to world communism, whereas today it is the fear of radical Islamic terrorism. A look at the 1952 GOP party platform reveals not only how drastically far to the right that wretched party has drifted by comparison today, but also how extremists came to dominate and control it, eventually leading to its downfall and loss of Congress for many years thereafter.
Amazingly enough, the 1952 GOP platform advocated that working people
have…“The right to take part in legal union activities. The right to remain in his union so long as he pays his dues”, and “The right to protection against unfair practices by either employer or union officials..” They even pledged that unions have “The right to establish ‘union shop’ contracts by agreement with management” and “The right to strike.” Now, of course, the heavily corporatist and Koch brothers-influenced extremist GOP is hell-bent on eliminating labor unions altogether!.These extremist “Libertarians” have also directed the party they have now hijacked into declaring, unbelievably, that coal is a “clean” energy source! This far-right shift cost the GOP the presidency in 2012, and, while immediately following that election, they vowed to make the party more inclusive for both women and minorities, in reality, they have done just the opposite.
With the ascendancy of the misogynistic and sociopathic Donald Trump and his arch-conservative, handpicked vice presidential running mate Mike Pence at the helm, there is little hope for the GOP in this year’s election either. How could ANYparty with such despicable standard bearers hope to prevail in a national election? Trump has alienated just about all major classes of voters, from women to Hispanics to African-Americans to veterans to even many in his own party with anti-women, anti-Mexican, anti-Muslim, anti-refugee, anti-POW pronouncements, while Pence, having signed (and later having backtracked upon) a ridiculous law passed last year in Indiana that would have allowed businesses to refuse services to particular groups based on religious and/or cultural grounds, as well as his anti-women’s reproductive health rights stances, leave little doubt as to how narrow-minded, authoritarian, and exclusive this horrid party has now become.
The differences in the GOP of yesteryear and the extremist variety we now have are remarkable in other ways, too. In 1952, they chose a genuine,popular war hero with proven leadership credentials – one who knew the horrors of war and understood the value of diplomacy, plus had thorough knowledge of our military from top to bottom. Today, however, they have settled for a blowhard chickenhawk who knows nothing about diplomacy nor our military, and has “led” his businesses through FOUR bankruptcies! This is hardly the type of “leadership” our country needs today! Eisenhower was prudent, cautious, and deliberate: Trump is rash, reckless, and impulsive. ‘Nuff said!
The Republicans of 1952 were waylaid most destructively by an opportunistic and irresponsible red-baiter named Sen. Joseph McCarthy. This self-centered drunken fool ruined the lives of many innocent Americans by alleging they either had been, or still were, communists or communist-sympathizers, His paranoia dominated Washington and the media of his day. A large number of Americans were needlessly blacklisted all because McCarthy had exploited the very real fear of communism which existed back then. His show trials of suspected communists or, as he put it, “fellow travelers”, led to the forced unemployment and even suicides of many innocent Americans and unjustifiably victimized a huge amount of them. However, once he had been exposed as an insensitive and reckless fraud, both his cause andhis party deservedly suffered losses at the polls for well over thenext couple of decades. Today’s Republicans must realize they will suffer the same fate unless they stop their heartless persecution of immigrants, minorities, and especially Muslims.Their hatred of so many will hurt them. While Hillary Clinton may be disliked and mistrusted by some, she is nonetheless a proven public servant who actually earned her paycheck while in office. The same cannot be said of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has drawn an annual salary of more than $200,000 and done NOTHING! The hateful “lock her up” anti-Hillary sentiments expressed by the far-right GOP base at their convention will fall on deaf ears with the overwhelming, sensiblemajority of people. Voters are fed up with stagnant wages and the lack of upward mobility that has occurred due to the after effects of Reaganomics, and so Republicans will no longer be allowed to continue with their obstructionist tactics and self-serving bullshit. Despite their cynical and manipulative use of fear, racism, gerrymandering, and voter disenfranchisement, unless they very quickly shed their government-hating jargon and actually begin to produce needed beneficial results for us, the 99% MAJORITY of the electorate, they will very soon deservedly disappear as a major political party! According to Steven Rosenfeld, who wrote a brilliant piece in the July 20 AlterNet Headlines, “The GOP 2016 platform would make Christianity the official American religion, English the official American language, replace sex education with abstinence-only advice for teenagers, privatize almost all areas of federal services, cut taxes and regulations for the rich and titans of industry ,and impose a belligerent foreign policy and military build-up.” Richard Eskow adds, in another fabulous article from the same issue, “Their free-market voodoo and corporate pandering is promoted by wild-eyed believers and cutthroat cynics who know that their ideas are unpopular and their theories disproven. That’s why they rely on deception and disenfranchisement. This is the Republican Party establishment. Its goods are peddled by the likes of Paul Ryan, a human smiley-face sticker with an extremist’s heart…“
This is NOT where America is at today, and we voters will no longer allow these backward-looking Republicans to make the same mistakes they have been making for the past 64 years!
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