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The American Republican Party as a Militant Minority

Following the second election of George W. Bush in 2004, liberal Democrats experienced a deep despair. Many voiced an inclination to move to Canada. Bush's policies continued to fail miserably leading to an economic depression and an endless war. In the 2006 election, the Democrats came to dominate Congress. Then, in 2008, it was the Republican's turn to feel the shock and despair of rejection as they became a minority party in a nation led by Democratic President Barack Obama.

Being a Republican is not so much a conscious decision as a mental mind set.
Far from becoming a loyal opposition, the Republican Party, as it has in the past, became an obstructionist party aiming to force failure on the Obama presidency by holding up his legislative agenda any way they could. Compromise on critical issues was not on their minds. They were angry.

Being a Republican is not so much a conscious decision as a mental mind set. At this point, the Republican Party is left with no coherent political platform or organizing principles other than opposition for Obama. Who, then, are these Republicans and what to they want?

Well, it is not clear exactly what they want. They don't seem to know what they want themselves. They have no clear leadership and no specific platform other than to hinder the efforts of Obama to bring the country out of its economic depression.

Who, then, are these Republicans and what to they want?
The Republican Party seems to have two layers. The top layer is a powerful and well-educated social stratum of wealthy capitalists and high-income earners. Cheap labor, out-sourcing, and foreign workers lubricate their capitalistic world. These upper class Republicans fear and resent any limits or regulations the government might place on them. Actually, the graded income tax under which wealthy people pay a higher percentage of tax on income is a limit on uncontrolled greed.

Underneath the upper capitalist layer of Republicans is a huge body of low and middle-income earners that make up the second stratum of the Republican Party. These are, for the most part, white voters in southern and midwestern states. They are poorly educated, resentful of anyone who is different, devoted to their fundamentalist religions, and basically self-centered and isolationist. Both layers of the Republican Party hate taxes, government regulations of any sort, and the use of tax money for social causes.

In spite of repeated and clearly false Republican claims that The United States is a Christian nation, there is no clear statement of ethics or morality coming from the Republicans. The constant themes of Republicans revolve around fear and greed. Their fears lead them to believe there are impending attacks from within and without. They constantly remind Americans of the possibilities of terrorist harm, and they fear any kind of regulation of their guns, their stock market gambles, or business practices.

They do seem to want to limit personal freedom in areas such as abortion rights, contraceptives, gay marriage, and the right to privacy.

Republicans like to label or reframe people and policies using words like socialist, radical, extreme, or far left wing. The automatic reaction to Democratic efforts is hate, fear, and loathing.
The Republican Party is not an intellectual party.

The Republican Party is not an intellectual party. They operate pretty much on authoritarian principles. In so many ways, Republican efforts in the past seem to echo an older Skinnerian behaviorist theory. In international affairs, they pretended that just noticing another nation could act as a reward while embargoing a recalcitrant nation was punishment enough to force it to accept our views. This never worked very well. At an individual level, they believe punishment with torture is a good way of controlling others. They believe firmly in American exceptionalism: The United States is superior in terms of morality, power, and world status.

Far from being ready to settle down to help govern as a loyal minority, Republicans will settle for noting less than an eventual return to power. Their willingness to compromise is minimal, and they strongly oppose any social welfare programs. So, we can add selfishness to the fear and greed qualities of conservative Republicans.

The Republican governor of the State of Texas has hinted that Texas might want to leave the Union. One Republican member of Congress has spoken of open rebellion and claimed that there are radical socialists in Congress. Will militant Republicans resort to more than active opposition to everything Democratic? A second American Civil War, a war not between states, but between states of mind, is not beyond the imagination.

If two ongoing wars and an historical economic collapse will not force Democrats and Republicans to work together in the nation's interests, what will?

(Julian I. Taber, Ph.D. is author of Addictions Anonymous: Outgrowing Addiction with a Universal, Secular Program of Self-Development. ISBN 978-1-60145-647-2.
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