Ideologies have a funny way of proving or disproving themselves. Why then, do voters in this country appear ready to resurrect such a failed one? Until Democrats find a way to answer that question forcefully, the undead of Republicanism will continue to haunt us.
My career has taken me deep into the politics of a lot of places, among a lot of different ideologies manifesting themselves in many different cultures. From western European social democracies, to central European new democracies, to stunted dictatorships of Central Asia, to UN governed post conflict countries, and the strange stalemate of the West Bank and Gaza. I haven’t seen it all, but plenty of it.
Aside from the Marxist Leninism of the former USSR, conservative Republicanism in the United States is the most thoroughly, factually disproven and discredited ideology I’ve ever witnessed in all my time in politics. The USSR collapsed under the long dead weight of its failed ideology, and in the last few years, America has been experiencing much the same catastrophic result – the only difference is one of degree. Every day, average Americans plow through the debris. It’s all around us.
This spectacularly destructive ideology, built by the granting to Republicans of every policy wish list they’ve ever dreamed to force on us, now governs every decision we make, economic or otherwise. We see it in every resume we send out that gets no response, every 1099 the lucky of us fill out in order to make sure our employer isn’t inconvenienced by the dignity of a health care plan, every time we bend over at the gas pump, every stitch of clothing slave labor sends us from China, every dead soldier who comes home from one of the Republican wars we stupidly fight, every kilowatt hour of coal we burn or oil we spew into the sea, instead of finding the renewable energy we’ve known we’ve needed for 40 solid years.
We pay for it with every gay teenager who takes their own life rather than exist in a sea of hate, every woman who must wait for an abortion because some putrid preacher banged his bible just loud enough to force her to wait, every black kid who spends half his life in jail for some stupid mistake and the other half begging to be forgiven sufficiently to get a job, every student buried in debt for decades, every union member who is vilified as a goon for daring to protect his family’s future and dignity from the bottomless greed of his employer.
No aspect of American life is safe from the ravages of Republicanism’s epic, total failure. None.
Which is why it is so frustrating to watch America sleepwalk toward a Republican majority in at least one house of Congress in 2010. Republicans are still who we know they are, they still advocate precisely the same ideology. Unrepentant for the damage they have visited on our country, somehow, they manage to live on like graveyard zombies.
And this particular Republicanism, the Republicanism of 2010, boiled to its thickest, stickiest resin, would be a sick joke in any other country. They cling to a series of myths so bizarre, creating ever more layers of fiction to justify themselves, one half expects a panel of psychologists to diagnose a mass paranoid psychosis and advocate for immediate emergency delivery of anti-anxiety pharmaceuticals to 10% of the population.
In any other country, any other country, Republicans would be reduced for eternity to a rump of a few seats in a proportional parliamentary system. They’d be laughed at and ridiculed, permitted barely a whisper in their national debate, then summarily ignored except on the occasion to bury them further with their own stupidity.
But in America, this undead zombie political party is managing to return to a level of power from which they will continue their ideological crusade of complete failure with impunity. Incredible. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that in America, we tend to let ideologies play themselves out longer than they should, on the off chance that it either has some merit, or will burn itself out. I’m betting this particular burnout will happen in 2012.
It has to. While Americans may give the benefit of every doubt to such stupidity, that generosity comes with a rope from which the foolish tend to fashion a noose with which to hang themselves rather convincingly. Maybe that’s why this undead philosophy of non-governing still walks among us – for the purpose of blowing itself to smithereens at a more appropriate time.
Perhaps that’ll be the lesson of the 2010 mid-terms.