Some, though clearly not all, fly the Confederate Flag. Far more have adopted an aggressive approach driven by four attributes which most Americans find offensive when they are flaunted. These attributes are Hypocrisy, Acrimony, Treason, and Extortion. The 21st century Republican Party has become a political enterprise driven by HATE directed at the government of the United States.
The values that animate the 21st century Neo-Confederate Republican Party are not those most Americans hold near and dear. Despite the efforts to obscure their fundamental attitudes and beliefs, there are four core values driving this insurrectionist party: Hypocrisy, Acrimony, Treason, and Extortion = HATE. These values, if one can call them that, are not the basis for building one nation, indivisible, with liberty, equality, justice, and prosperity for all.
Hypocrisy is in the lead off position. Republicans claim to be speaking for or doing the will of the American people. They studiously ignore facts that give the lie to this claim. In 2008 and 2012, the Republican Presidential candidates lost by nearly 9 million and 5 million votes, respectively. In 2012, Republicans lost the House by 500,000 votes, but still claimed a majority of seats. What saved their majority wasn’t the will of the people but the power of redistricting. This is a neat trick if one goes for that sort of thing, but it does not express “the will of the people” or anything close to it. Therefore, even where they had recent success, the Republicans are hypocritical when they talk of doing the people’s will or speaking for the American people. Furthermore, in their districts, Republicans are elected by majorities that are not themselves representative of the American populace. Their districts amount to biased, not random and representative samples of the citizenry. Because hypocrisy is the practice of professing beliefs, attainments, or standards contrary to one real character, the Republicans reek of it whenever they claim to be speaking or acting on behalf of the will of “we the people.” For example, Republicans rigorously portray themselves as the party of “fiscal responsibility,” but they shut the government down and cost the economy $24 billion without blinking an eye. As a direct result of their temper tantrum, huge economic loss was imposed for no discernible reason.
The hypocrisy is deeply ingrained in the Republican Party of the last 30 years or so. They have routinely proclaimed themselves the champions of economic progress, but their policies have actually provoked and aggravated economic decline. Ronald Reagan issued the clarion call that “Government is the problem,” and presided over the deindustrialization of America. His breaking of the PATCO union presaged further problems for unions and the expanding impoverishment of formerly middle class Americans. While they are enacting these devastating policies, Republicans deflect blame for their adverse effects by clever rhetoric and carefully chosen wedge issues.
Acrimony is the second characteristic expressed by the words and deeds of contemporary Republicans. Bitterness, sharpness, incivility are routine features of Republican rhetoric. Usually this is directed at President Obama, the First Lady, or poor people. The animosity shown toward POTUS and FLOTUS runs the gamut from blatant racism to thinly veiled attempts to portray the President as alien or other. One aspect of this acrimony is the casual use of the impeachment threat. For example, Senator Coburn stated. “I don’t have the legal background to know if that rises to high crimes and misdemeanor, but I think they’re getting perilously close.” As former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele declared regarding such comments, they are “beyond the pale” and they “have no basis in fact and no grounding in reality.” In a piece on ODS, Obama Derangement Syndrome, the acrimony is summed up as follows: “Obama is too stupid to know that the Republicans are not on his side, too dumb to know he’s in over his head, and way too idiotic to govern a nation. The fact that, under his guidance, the economy has improved, job numbers are up, and the deficit is being reduced at an amazing pace is just – you guessed it – “dumb luck!” Makes one wonder how such a dumbass was somehow smart enough to get elected – twice.” A Public Policy Poll revealed the 29% of Louisiana Republicans blamed President Obama for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina. This seemed mostly to stem from their willingness to believe anything negative about the president. On October 8, 2013, an Arizona State Representative, Brenda Barton said, “Someone is paying the National Park Service thugs overtime for their efforts to carry out the order of Der Fuhrer.” As almost anyone who has the lightest grip on sanity knows, once one plays the NAZI card, one has abandoned all pretenses of rationality and civility. That an obscure Arizona politician would harbor such a perspective is consistent with former Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann’s claims that “What this is about is whether or not we will hold on to a constitutional republic.” She says, “I want the Tea Party to know they made a profound difference and what they’re fighting for is to see if we’re actually going to be a constitutional republic or if we’re going to be totally devolved into a dictatorship under somebody like Barack Obama.” These remarks are of course nonsense. Nothing in President Obama’s conduct of his office is dictatorial. The Affordable Care Act which is often cited as some major oppressive measure was passed into law entirely through normal constitutional means. It was no more or less dictatorial than Social Security or Medicare.
Treason or treachery is exemplified by the fact that 18 Republican senators and 144 Republican representatives voted to default on the nation’s debts and continue a 16 day government shutdown their party had caused. Republicans in various state legislatures and state houses regularly propose nullification measures regarding gun regulations and the Affordable Care Act. Such actions seem consistent with the definition of sedition – “saying, writing, or doing something that encourages people to disobey their government.” Furthermore, the Republican House leadership not only allowed their caucus to provoke a government shutdown, but they change the House rules to ensure that it persisted. In short, the leaders of one chamber of congress rendered the United States government inoperable and kept it that way far longer than necessary. Lest there be any doubt about their feelings, Senator Marco Rubio declared: “There is going to be an all-out revolt in this country … And that is, I think, the moment to absolutely act and say we are going to get rid of this law and then look for opportunities in the future to replace it. … It is just a matter of time. We will prevail…” This was not said as a warning, but as a promise.
Extortion is exemplified in recent tactics originating in the House and urged by Senators Cruz and Lee. This involves people elected to positions of authority in the national government who have sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States demanding ransom for responsibly carrying out the duties of their office. It is important in this context to recall that extortion often entails the abuse of office. This is precisely what the House Republicans did in the recent debacle they precipitated. First they demanded the defunding of the Affordable Care Act; then, they demanded a one-year delay of its implementation. They put teeth in their demands by refusing to pass a continuing resolution that funded the operation of the United States government. Once they had initiated a government shutdown they moved onto imperil the full faith and credit of the United States. Considering that the first two enumerated powers of Congress pertain to paying the bills of the government and borrowing money it is reasonable to expect members of Congress to do their duty in these regards as a matter of course.
The extremism exhibited with increasing brazenness by some so-called conservatives is a “chickens come home to roost” phenomenon. There have been three decades of diatribe against government by people styling themselves as conservative. They actually are not, but that is the niche they filled. Unfortunately for the country people listened to this ongoing slander and bought into it. Now people are being elected to national offices that see the government as the enemy. It is not surprising when the enemies get inside the gates they do as much damage as they can. These neo-confederates are still in their positions of authority. Their hostile actions toward the United States government are unlikely to cease any time soon. The elected officials who personify the reactionary outlook are beholden to constituents who believe “establishment Republicans can only be counted on to preserve their position and power in congress but not fight to preserve the foundations of our nation. It is cowardice and self-interest at best. At worst, it is a complicit betrayal of our Founders and our freedom.” Such voters further believe “Only true conservatives like Cruz and Lee have the vision, passion, fearlessness and discernment to expose this fatal double shuffle of Boehner et al and reverse the tide of their betrayal of our Founding premises of government.” So the problem is more extensive than a few deplorable demagogues. Across the nation protected by the very Republic they loathe are millions of deranged citizens who profess devotion to a constitution they routinely debase to a talismanic object, rather than a charter of governance. These misguided and self-deluding millions are the true ongoing threat to Constitutional governance in 21st century America.
It is incumbent on those of us who genuinely revere the Constitution and the Republic it ordained and established, to resist, renounce, refute, and repel these champions of intolerance and divisiveness. They are wrong in every way it is possible to be wrong. They are historically incorrect; they are morally repugnant; they are socially corrosive. These are again times that try our souls. As before, Summer soldiers and the sunshine patriots will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but they that stand by it now, deserve the love and thanks of man and woman. Fury like Hell will not be easily conquered, but the harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph. Arise citizens and stand for the Republic one nation, indivisible, with liberty, equality, justice and prosperity for all.
About the Author: Larry Conley
I live in Allegheny County, PA. I am married and a father of twins. I served in the U S Army and saw hostile fire in Vietnam. When I was in the Army I took and oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. I have never rescinded that oath. br> For whatever time remains for me, I will do all in my power to answer the question, "What can I do for my country?" br > View My Profile