Truth or Dare, GOP?
So. It is two days post-election, and while the hangover is gone, I must confess to a certain amount of residual giddy elation over the fact that things still seem to work the way they are designed to work. A living proof that the American idea still works—the idea that we will govern ourselves and we will elect people to represent us as we are—not as a privileged few would like us to be.
In a renewed spirit of bipartisanship, I’m even willing to share my observations of how things went so terribly wrong for Republicans (I won’t even gloat much about the fact that since 2009, I’ve predicted that the GOP was about to “conservative” itself right out of existence).
The clearest failure was that Mitt Romney didn’t run to represent the American people, as they are, he didn’t even seem to have a very good grip on who they are, today, or what they want and need from their union. To be sure, he didn’t even seem very clear on what he, himself wants and needs from that union.
The Republican Party will continue to ignore hard realities at their peril. The further they divorce themselves from real daily life in America and embrace outdated, irrelevant idealogies from the distant past, the closer they lumber toward extinction.
From my perspective, here are some of your mistaken beliefs that will prevent you from ever effectively connecting with the American people of today and the foreseeable future:
Most Americans are strong-willed, level-headed, adaptable people who have worked together, very effectively, to overcome all sorts of adversity, obstacles and plain old bad luck in the past. As such, fear-mongering is not a terribly effective method of persuasion.
Most Americans love facts, technology, education and competing with the world’s great thinkers to further advance intellectual progress. They are put off by denial, magical thinking and deliberate ignorance. They are dismayed by the notion that future generations might, in part, be schooled by idealogues who find proven facts inconvenient or offensive to their personal beliefs using educational materials that are substandard, to satisfy some notion of ideological-correctness.
Most Americans perceive themselves to be inquisitive, independent thinkers capable of deciding for themselves which elected representatives will serve their interests best. They are not mindless zombies being jerked in one direction or another by biased media, requiring a “pundit class” to parse their own political environment and process for them. Most Americans are quite adept at sniffing out bullshit wherever it lurks . . .
Most Americans are proud to be diverse and, at the same time, unified, “to live and let live.” Most Americans are not only rooting for but assisting their fellow Americans’ pursuit of happiness. Most Americans do not feel threatened by differences of race, creed, color or sexual orientation and no amount of baiting will change their minds. Every new immigrant that is assimilated into the American society reaffirms and renews American values—we don’t need politicians to do that for us. We do that ourselves by making room, embracing and helping newcomers succeed. That growth is organic and systemic in American society—politicians’ only job is to stay out of the way and let it happen.
Most Americans love fairness and they perceive Super Pacs, and “dark money” and political “non-profits” and billionaires trying to buy elections as egregiously unfair, distasteful and un-American . . . no matter what the Supreme Court says.
Most Americans love peace and hate sending their children off to war but will do it if the cause is just and the truth is told. Most Americans are proud of their military and happy to support them but don’t necessarily long to have a military whose global footprint is ponderously overbuilt and epicly wasteful.
Most Americans believe in group effort, cooperation and compromise to achieve the common good. As recent polls will attest, they are disgusted by obstructionism, intransigence, bullying and hostage-taking.
Most Americans voted for Barack Obama. Most Americans did not vote for the Republican agenda. Most Americans will not support Republican candidates in the next mid-term elections if Republicans don’t change radically and quickly.
Your choice, GOP.