Tag Archives: platform

The GOP (Non) Platform

Speaking of “what’s next”…..(yesterday’s subject)…

What happens when a crazed minority controls important parts of a nation’s government? I worry that we are about to find out just how much worse it can get.

A few days ago, I woke up to news that the GOP is once again competing for office solely on the basis of its ongoing culture war–that the party will not produce a platform in advance of the 2022 midterm elections. According to Heather Cox Richardson,

Senate Republicans will not issue any sort of a platform before next year’s midterm elections. At a meeting of donors and lawmakers in mid-November, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the Republican Party’s 2024 nominee would be responsible for deciding on an agenda. The Republican senators in 2022 will simply attack the Democrats.

That should have been stunning, front-page news–one of America’s two major political parties is asking for our votes based only on what it is against. 

To be fair, it isn’t that Republicans aren’t for anything; they are simply unwilling to be explicit about their obvious, albeit policy-free goal, which is to return the U.S. to the social structures of the 1950s, when women, LGBTQ individuals and people of color were second-or-third class citizens, and White, purportedly Christian males dominated.

Granted, it would be awkward for the party to articulate its actual goal, but there’s another barrier to producing a document that sets forth what today’s GOP stands for–the inability of the crazies who are now at the center of the Republican cult to form any coherent narrative, let alone agree on any specific policy agenda.

True, some of the more obvious, albeit unwritten “planks” in that abandoned platform have been part of GOP dogma for quite some time: repealing women’s reproductive rights, ensuring that every nutcase who wants a weapon can access one, ensuring that industries can misbehave–collude, pollute, spy– without the interference of that pesky government…but others are relatively new, and difficult to explicitly defend.

For example, how do you frame an argument against government’s role in protecting public health? I continue to be gobsmacked by the “freedom warriors” who are literally laying down their lives for the right to refuse a lifesaving vaccine. (Let me be clear: if they weren’t also endangering rational folks, I’d be more than happy to see them thin the ranks of the terminally stupid.)

How do you justify attacks on accurate education without admitting that your motivation is protection of White Supremacy?

Thanks are due to the Williamson County, Tennessee, chapter of Moms for Liberty for once again clarifying what the “critical race theory” (CRT) uproar is really about. We can say until we’re blue in the face that critical race theory is a graduate-level school of thought not taught in K-12 schools, and along comes an anti-CRT group to show that what they really object to is any teaching that shows that racism is or has ever been a real thing.

The group, run by a woman whose children do not attend public school, filed a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Education claiming that some texts being taught to grade-school students violate the state’s new law against teaching about “privilege” or “guilt” or “discomfort” based on race or sex. The texts? Books for second-graders including Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington and Ruby Bridges Goes to School, along with Separate is Never Equal and The Story of Ruby Bridges.

Lest you think “Moms for Liberty” isn’t racist to the core, the book they recommend to replace “Ruby Bridges” was written by one W. Cleon Skousen, a conspiracy theorist and John Birch Society supporter. It characterizes ‘black children as ‘pickaninnies’ and American slave owners as the ‘worst victims’ of slavery, and claims the Founders wanted to free the slaves but that “[m]ost of [the slaves] were woefully unprepared for a life of competitive independence.”

I could go on, but I’ll spare you.

The good news should be the fact that  GOP craziness and conspiracy-mongering are most definitely a minority phenomenon. Survey research confirms that its delusions and positions are held by a distinct minority– a lot more people than we’d like to believe, but certainly not a majority of Americans.

The bad news is that, thanks to gerrymandering and the filibuster, a wacko minority has seized far more power than a properly operating democratic system would let them wield.

In fact, if Congress cannot pass voting rights legislation, and soon, the crazies and bigots will win.

 

Res Ipsa Loquitor

There is a legal term, “res ipsa loquitor,” meaning “the thing speaks for itself.” Today’s example? The Texas Republican Party Platform. 

Texas Republicans call for abolishing the 16th Amendment, which authorized the Income Tax. It calls for repeal of the tax on capital gains, and the abolition of the state’s property tax. It opposes the imposition of ANY tax other than a (regressive) sales tax. And it demands a return to the gold standard. (There was no call for abolition of public services, and the document appears silent on how, exactly, those services are to be paid for.) The platform also supports privatization of Social Security.

By far the most telling provisions of the GOP platform, however, are those addressing education.

The party goes on record opposing “multicultural” education, and supporting the use of corporal punishment by school officials. It demands that “both sides” be taught when “controversial” theories like evolution and climate change are addressed.

Given these positions, it should come as no surprise that the platform also opposes the teaching of critical thinking skills–since those “undermine parental authority.” Such skills probably DO undermine the parental authority of the authors of this platform–which speaks for itself.

I don’t know what happened, exactly, to turn the Republican Party I used to belong to into whatever it is today–but I am pretty  sure it wasn’t critical thinking.