Ohmygawd…What a fright. I work up this morning thinking I had become a REPUBLICAN! Jesus! That had to be wrong. Still, there seemed no denying it. It must have snuck up on me! I mean there it was, the proof;
- I always objected when government stuck its nose in my personal business.
- I always believed my faith is my personal business, that no one has a right to hassle me about it and that I have no right to hassle them about theirs.
- I have always believed that deficits are the fiscal equivalent of cancer and should be treated accordingly.
See, no getting around it I must be a Republican.
Well, okay, maybe an OLD Republican – the pre-Reagan kind. If you are young you can be excused if you have no memory of this creature. It’s a species of Republican (you might call it your father’s Republican Party) that began to go extinct in the 1980s. Before that a good Republican was someone who believed all three things on my list above.
Old Republicans were born with a healthy suspicion of government. They knew that once we put a handful of mortals in charge of the affairs of other mortals bad things happen in their heads and their hearts and that from that day forward they need to be watched like foxes hanging around a chicken coup.
Consequently they worked to keep government only as large as necessary and as small as possible, reminding themselves regularly that “a government big enough to give you everything you want, is also big enough to take away everything you have.”
While most of them were church going folk, they also believed that matters of the soul were best left to ordained ministers not politicians. They believed government had no business meddling in the personal affairs of citizens. (Many of them even balked at many of the questions on National Census forms. Imagine how they would feel about the Patriot Act.)
Somewhere along the way the offspring of those Republicans underwent a radical metamorphous – a political genetic mutation of some sort. This prodigal progeny of old-school Republicans believe just the opposite of what their parents believed. Unlike Old Republicans, these folks are nosey. They believe that almost everything people do in private may be of interest to government. Say, for example, a fella in Fresno who wants to marry another fella in Fresno. Such a matter fixes the interest of Neo-Republicans. They worry about it. While most of them have never been within smelling distance of a farmyard, they like point to farmyards as their authority in such matters noting that guy animals don’t marry other guy animals. Therefore, this gay marriage thing requires a farmyard-type amendment to the nation’s founding document.
Neo-Republicans are also consumed with concerns over overt acts of democracy breaking out among the 50 states. Some state voters have been passing laws neo-conservatives believe could, if not stopped, lead to dancing. Some states have fallen for the sob stories of people with cancer, for example, allowing them to smoke pot to ease their pain and mediate the effects of chemotherapy -- when there are government approved drugs like Vioxx, that alive pain -- sometimes permanently.
In Oregon voters decided a person with terminal illness --- get this! -- can decide for himself or herself when they want to die and have their doctor help them out - literally. Neo-Republicans, like Ashcroft, were outraged by that and are insisting that such patients die like everyone else with such diseases has throughout history – in lingering misery -- unless of course, you are a sick or injured horse, in which case you can be shot.
Then there’s the burning issue of liquor through the mail – specifically mail order wine. Jesus, you would think that, if Republicans would be in favor of anything it would be commerce! But, Neo-Conservatives say, mail order wine is not commerce, it’s… well, it’s just plain wrong. (Ever wonder what happened to the temperance movement? Well, now you know.)
Today's neo-Republican believes in a level of government involvement in our lives that would give an Old Republican a stroke. (Check a book out of your town library... the FBI wants to know about it. "Explain to us again Farmer Jones exactly why you are so interested in reading up on nitrate fertilizer... huh?" )
I suspect that my attraction to venerable Old Republican dogma is not unique among Blue State voters. Over the past twenty years or so Democrats have gone through an almost mirror image conversion. It took Democrat Bill Clinton to pay off the Reagan deficit and create the nation’s first budget surpluses since Eisenhower. Today it’s mostly Democrats we find defending the First Amendment’s separation of church and state. Democrats stand as the last line of defense for a woman’s right to control her own reproductive processes. Neo-Republicans, on the other hand, believe (or profess to believe) that government must stand guard over every fertile citizen’s vagina. Imagine that! (No, wait! Imagining vaginas violates something else, I’m pretty sure. If not, it will soon,)
Then there’s the Neo-Republican’s concern over fetal stem cell research. They already have some laws against it and want more. Seems they are more concerned about the welfare of fertilized egg than the 12 million full-term American children who reportedly live in households that did not have enough food this year.
Just in: Swiss Reject Neo-Cons: Associated Press: Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved a law allowing stem cell research Sunday, rejecting a hard-line campaign that compared researchers to the Nazis' "angel of death," Dr. Josef Mengele.
So, you can see why I’m a bit confused. All this intrusion into our personal lives, a steady chipping away of the wall between secular government and religious beliefs. And, remember those imfamous “Tax and Spend Liberals?” They have been replaced at the public trough by Borrow and Spend Neo-Republicans. The GOP, which had once embodied a Scottish-level obsession with balancing budgets has become a party that preaches, “deficits don’t matter,” (Dick Cheney 2003.)
In less than four years these mutant Republicans have been borrowing money like college kids with their first credit card. So far they have added over $2 trillion to the national credit card and there’s no end in sight. Today we learn that President Bush intends to pay for his idea to privatize a portion of Social Security by borrowing another $2 trillion, or so. That would boost the total national debt to something just over $10 trillion dollars. (Oh, and let’s not forget our credit card war in Iraq. That little puppy is running up the card by about $5 billion a month.)
If there are any Old Republicans still alive and in hiding, I have news for you.. the Neo-cons have hijacked your party the same way the Taliban hijacked Islam. Maybe you should think about getting it back… if you dare.
On the other hand, I hate the old Democratic Party -- that pack of poverty pimps who got and held power by pandering to every loser they could register to vote, fostering and enforcing the philosophy of victimology rather than independence. They also pretended to be advocates for workers while snuggling up to corrupt union bosses who routinely sold their members down the river. And, they really were tax and spenders too. Still there is a lot about post-Clinton Democrats that I like; balanced budgets, a less arrogant foreign policy, separation of religion and government.
Okay, I think I have figured it out.. I am a Republicrat – a mix of Old Republican and New Democrat.
Whew! Glad to settle that. Now I just have to figure out how to vote Republicrat?