Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Irrelevance of the Republican Party

I was once again at the Y the other day, exercising while the Awesome Trio (Green Bottle Boy, Swimmer Girl and Ballerina Princess) was at swim practice , and came across a most interesting editorial piece on the relevancy of the Republican Party. I found it interesting because I used to be a Republican. I can no longer call myself that because I decided to start my own party. For now I'm calling it the "Disgruntled Republicans". Once organized, though, I think it will be much larger than the current Republican Party. That's not saying much, though, because the current Republican Party is shrinking at a rate faster than the dead zone is growing at the mouth of the Mississippi River. And, they're shrinking because they have made the party irrelevant, with a lot of help from the likes of Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney and Joe the Plumber, to name just a few.

However, just before watching that nice little vignette on the Republican party, I saw an interview with a Republican Senator discussing the torture techniques used by the US government in both Guantanamo and AbuGhraib. I can't remember which senator it was now, and I have to start to wonder if it's not because they're all starting to look and sound the same to me. I watched as he proceeded to explain how what happened at Guantanamo was not torture and was done to enact protection for the US. The moral implications of that ideology are astounding as he quite clearly was stating that the ends justify the means!

He continued to defend his position, despite other experts on the show explaining how waterboarding and the other torture techniques used don't even persuade the victim to relinquish the truth but to say what they think the torturer wants to hear!

What jumped out clearly to me with this interview, though, was not that the apparent immorality of torture was not utterly offending this Senator, but that this was exactly what was making the Republican Party irrelevant. It was striking me as irrelevant even before I saw the op-ed on CNN. This man was so caught up in defending one of the actions of the Bush administration that he was not willing to see the moral implications of what he was saying, or the practical implications (ie misinformation that comes through torture) of what he was defending. That is irrelevancy.

Even as I write this, Time Magazine arrived at my door. The cover story? A large elephant picture with the title "Endangered Species". Now, if Time says it, it must be true.

I sure hope people pick up on my sarcasm here.

So, before we've even finished the wake for the Republican Party as we know it, here is the plan for new political party. My "Disgruntled Republican Party" would be a party that believes:

1) Less federal government is better. The federal government should only be involved in things such as national infrastructure, national security, national resource management, possibly health care if it proves that a better structure than the misshapen mess the state-based medicaid provides can be created, and as a backup to the times when state governments are not able handle their jobs. As Republicans whine about national health care, Disgruntled Republicans realize that our current health care system locks people into jobs because they are dependent upon maintaining their current health insurance. That does not stimulate the economy, nor does it enhance people's quality of life or really provide the opportunity for people to "rise up" out of poverty.

2) State and local governments would maintain their communities through their own taxes and programs. States which are too poor to do so (based upon the incomes earned) would be eligible for help from the federal government because my party would recognize that there are states and communities in this country which do not have the resources to provide for their citizens what they need. It is essential to the health and well being of the entire nation that all Americans have the opportunity to live in a healthy and sustainable way.
As you go further down the line, the government would get bigger -- so county and local governments would have the most involvement in people's lives. They would be handling social programs, providing accountability to people needing the social programs, over seeing the schools, creating solutions to health care coverage, making decisions about roads and local infrastructure, etc. The people of the communities could then oversee those governments which would truly represent them (as it would be made up of them!) and have a vested interest in their tax dollars being spent wisely.

3) That it is not the role of government to legislate morality, but to maintain order. Therefore, beyond crimes that harm another person or person's property or opportunity, the government shouldn't be involved. The government, therefore, would not dictate that every school have to teach creationism or not be allowed to teach creationism nor would the government be involved in defining the sacred relationship of marriage (something the church never should have allowed the government to do in the first place). The government's job should be to establish order and stability, so that people can live their lives without other people telling them how to do it. Local governments could issue Civil Unions that would create structure and stability to base families on and various churches could continue to administer the sacred rite of marriage as their faiths and scriptural understandings dictate. Disgruntled Republicans are not afraid of that concept because we understand that America's families are already a moral mess and that the political definition of family is already far from the scriptural one.

4) There would be a clear separation of church and state (gasp! Yes, I believe that our Constitution calls for that, and I believe that if God is big enough to give us a choice we should be gracious enough not whap people on the head with theocratic ideas), but it wouldn't really matter because the government wouldn't be sticking their noses into our business anyway. Those of us in the party who are followers of Christ realize that Christians are much more effective as salt and light than as powerful political icons that dictate the constraints of religious freedom.

5) In part with creating order and stability the Disgruntled Republicans would advocate for a wholly pro-life stance. That means rather than just lobbying for laws to limit abortion (as laws will never stop abortion -- a fact proven by the number of illegal abortions that continue to happen around the world), Disgruntled Republicans seek to address the issues that bring about abortions. Of course, this would mean doing so at a local level, and not through programs but through families opening their homes to unwed mothers, providing solid sex education, slowing down enough to actually spend time with children and teens so that they aren't alone and in the position to make an error in judgment to start. In addition to that, Disgruntled Republicans also believe that all torture is wrong, capital punishment is wrong and that war should be avoided unless absolutely necessary (like they are attacking us!).

6) The Disgruntled Republicans are in full agreement that our society must protect and support our most vulnerable -- not only unborn babies, but children, the elderly, the severely disabled and the mentally ill. We do not advocate stupid solutions to problems such as homelessness like taxing the homeless with squatters tax, nor do we advocate ignoring those problems. We recognize that those problems will be most likely to be solved on a local level. Unlike today's Republicans, we recognize that this will mean there is a need to tax more on the state and local level, but that's okay because those local governments would, indeed, be US and less federal government would mean we should need to pay less federal tax, This also leads us to believe that fair and just incarceration laws are necessary, and that capital punishment makes us as evil as those who kill. We also believe that sustainable living is part of being wholly pro-life.

7) Disgruntled Republicans realize that our economy is in the state that it currently is because of the greed that underlies all human nature. Therefore, we recognize that some stimulus is going to be necessary to stop the economy of our nation from collapsing and causing the economies of other nations to topple as well. We also realize that because of the greed of our banks, our government is going to have to establish a stake in them or else we will see our entire economy crumble. However, because we are balanced we realize that people need to learn from their mistakes. Therefore, our stimulus would be tied to work (rather than tax cuts which is ridiculous because big businesses are taking tax cuts anyway -- everyone knows they don't pay their fair share of taxes!), as would things like student loans.

8) There are some people that would be banned from joining the Disgruntled Republicans. Because we see the inherent value of every human life, after some heavy penance they might be allowed to join. That list would include, but not be limited to: Sylvester Stallone, Dick Cheney, Glen Beck, Michael Savage, Hillary Clinton, Rush Limbaugh, Caroline Kennedy (because I don't think you can trust someone who doesn't vote consistently yet thinks she's qualified for office), Arianna Huffington, and any of the Power Rangers.

Also, anyone naive enough to think that I'm really trying to start a new political party is also banned from joining.


ellen read said...

But seriously, you should! I'll join!
I'm on board!

Deb said...

That's great! If we could find one more member, we'd probably dwarf the current Republican party! I bet I could get Rob to join too.

David said...

I'm a liberal libertarian (yes, i have conflicts), lifelong independent who likes to vote for candidates who don't have a chance of winning (Ralph Nader 12 years ago comes to mind). I think your platform is solid, and I may have finally found a party I would actually be willing to join.

Deb said...


I think we're all a lot more complex than the two party system tries to make it look like we are. I read a brief article in either Time or Newsweek about Charleton Heston. It was at the time of his death, and the article referred to him as "contradictory" because he didn't tote a party line on every issue -- conservative on some and liberal on others. It was like they couldn't understand someone who was free-thinking or able to judge each issue on its own merit.

Well, if you joined my party then we would be, probably, bigger than the actual Republican party. Maybe I could convince my husband to join too!