April 23, 2022

The Grand Old Party is Not!

The Republican Party is no more. It has become a radical insurgency (in Noam Chomsky’s words). From the advent of neoliberalism (free market trickle-down economic voodoo) during the Reagan years to Mitch McConnell’s oath to make sure the Democrats get nothing done, the Republican Party has done everything in its power to destroy democracy in this country.

It has one goal, to stay in power regardless of what the electorate wants. Trump’s continual false claim “the election was stolen” and the loyal following he has churned up is just the latest tactic of the same strategy. (Interesting factoid: Since the Reagan years, around 50 trillion dollars have been swept up from the working class to the top. Not to worry, it’s about to trickle down any minute now)

So, what about the Democrats? Why are they so ineffective in stopping this nonsense? Because they are almost as guilty. Both Republican and Democrat parties are divisions of the Business Party and serve the interests of large corporations and mega moneyed interests instead of the voters who elect them. Democrats are so wrapped around the “intersectionality of interests” axle they can’t agree on a coherent message to deliver to their infinitely differentiated, intersectionalized, sometimes loyal base.

This is news only to those who either refuse or can’t see the reality below the tragic comedy enacted by people like Marjorie Taylor Green, Madison Cawthorn, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar, etc. People who spend their time in feuds with late-night comedy show hosts instead of legislating in the interests of their constituents.

This trajectory has led us to a time when politics is being replaced by political theater appealing to the lowest common denominator in our society. Elections have turned into popularity contests. Together, our current political farce rivals the circuses at the end of the Roman empire.

Politicians aren’t stupid. Many people in both parties have been educated in the best universities. So how and why do the Trumpian spawn I mentioned above seem to be the face of the political system? In other words, how can they, the intelligent ones, allow these clowns to be the stars of the circus? This has been a puzzle to me until I read the following.

“Recent advances in cognitive science suggest that highly intelligent people are more susceptible to “identity-protective cognition,” an unconscious process in which they use their intellect to justify rejecting facts inconsistent with their partisan identity.

“The really upsetting finding is that the better you are at particular types of cognitive tests … the better you are at manipulating the facts to reflect your prior beliefs, the more able you are to cognitively shape the world, so it fits with your values,” says David Hoffman, a University of Pennsylvania law professor who studies cultural cognition. “You are able to take whatever unambiguous facts that exist in the world and run them through your sausage making mill to make them agree with what you believe.” (Source: From Dana Milbank – Washington Post.)

So, except for those most recent clowns I mentioned above, those who were at one time able to use their natural inborn intellect for the advantage of their constituents must be using it to twist that intellect into pretzel shapes to conform to the party line.

What party line? The destruction of a functioning government democratically elected by the governed. That party line has been on display for over forty years.

Why haven’t we thrown them all out and started over if it’s so bad? Because they’ve done an effective job of turning us against each other by convincing us that the “other party” (read, the other person)  is trying to destroy the country. If we don’t come together soon, democracy as we’ve known it will be over, and even the current faint imitation will disappear.


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