During Bush’s presidency people like me were called traitors on a fairly regular basis because we didn’t show Bush the proper deference when he’d do some goofy shit like choke on a pretzel. Now we have guys on the teevee [my note: he’s talking about Glenn Beck specifically here; video available at link] that are openly talking about armed insurrection against a democratically elected government and it’s considered the most patriotic and pro-American thing a feller could do with hisself.
This sort of thing doesn’t really offend me because I think most of Beck’s viewers would back down from starting a new civil war once they learned that it would likely lead to Cheeto rationing. But I am amazed at the sheer cognitive dissonance involved in simultaneously believing that it’s treasonous to peacefully oppose an unjustified war but that it’s patriotic to lead an armed insurrection against the government because they want to pay you unemployment benefits. If there’s a weirder political movement than American conservatism, I’ve yet to see it.
Yeah. Me, either.
It’s sort of weird being 42 years old and thinking – on one timeline – that I’m probably coming up on the half-my-life mark (or already passed it, perhaps), but that for literally all of my conscious life (not counting young childhood, but only since I’ve been old enough and mature enough to care about current events), the people running the Republican party have become increasingly bizarre and alienated from not just me, but even from what they used to be. Guys like Lincoln Chaffee and even John McCain are regularly vilified as “RINOs” (Republicans In Name Only) by the Limbaugh-worshipping leaders of today’s GOP, despite the fact that the sort of rock-ribbed, economic-conservative Republican of yesteryear would likely not even recognize most of what’s considered “mainstream Republicanism” today. Richard Nixon was – in many ways – as progressive as (or in some cases even more than) Bill Clinton.
Today? If you were to strip away the Nixon name and fame (infamy?) and just outfit an up-and-coming young politician with Nixon’s policy positions (but not necessarily his political kneecapping and paranoia)….well, he wouldn’t BE “up-and-coming.” Not in today’s GOP. He’d be ridiculed from within, called a RINO and worse, and relegated to doing field-office work without much of a shot at ever hoping to actually participate in guiding the party – at least not as long as the authoritarian fetishists who currently control it, and have done increasingly since the age of Reagan, are in control of not just the party apparatus, but the very definition of what it means to be a Republican.