“We all worked to get the majority. And I had a lot of friends that were really supportive that said, ‘Why do you want to do it during this time? This time will be the worst time. They’re going to eat you and chew you up.’” ~Kevin McCarthy
Two frightening realities of the modern “conservative” movement in the United States
- Every problem requires an enemy to blame for said problem. The “solution” is to attack the appointed enemy and not the problem.
- To continue to belong to the group one must never question the current direction or chosen scapegoat. Failure to follow places a target on anyone with an independent thought.
Critics will counter that on the national level the Democrats today operate under the same directives. Perhaps the critics are correct although I have yet to see it to the same extreme level recently as I have within the GOP and supporters labeling of RINOs and “true” conservatives. I believe that enough evidence exists to state that in previous Congresses the Democratic Party has been just as, if not harsher with its members than the current GOP. In history the Congresses during the administrations of IKE, JFK, and LBJ contain a number of examples of intraparty battles.
A few differences, however, need consideration for context. In the past, the political parties in Congress were more diverse ideologically. Both Democrats and Republicans had conservative and liberal factions with tangible and not merely perceived differences. Regional alliances which crossed the party aisle also existed. Today bipartisanship is an anomaly.
What we see within the GOP today is division. The process to select a Speaker is an obvious illustration. Historically within the Party, differing factions have ultimately forged some type of compromise. One easy to research example is the Reconstruction and post Reconstruction split of Stalwarts and Half-Breeds. With compromise being viewed as evil capitulation in today’s all or nothing quest, charting that route is too hazardous for most which lessens opportunity for an agreement.
For some frightening reality #1 might seem ironic because Barack Obama has been singled out as Divider in Chief for almost 7 years. With frightening reality #2, Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell have been primary targets in the GOP presidential debates.
The real problems are that Party allegiance has replaced allegiance to Country. Money from special interests has become represented instead of constituents. Somebody, anyone with an easily definable difference, is always the enemy. Once eliminated, a new enemy must be produced to maintain the status quo. Solutions take a back seat to finger pointing. We delegate responsibility to someone else. They are the one supposed to fix the problem even though we all continue to be dragged downward. Regardless of who is to blame, we are not isolated.
We cannot blame the person in the White House. We cannot blame the 535 voting Members of Congress. We cannot blame Black, White, Christian, Muslim, Atheists, any spiritual or non-spiritual belief, Heterosexual, Homosexual, Male, Female, or any group. We cannot because they were only different from us until they became one of us, and we became one of them.
It’s harsh. We often cannot help being stupid. We can, however, limit our own ignorance. We can find common ground; work from there and perhaps discover that our differences are irrelevant once solutions are in motion. Our hero needs to be that person staring back at us in a mirror, but have we already allowed that person to succumb as it’s easier to call for a hero than to be one?
To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln from 11 April 1865:
We all agree that the seceded States, so called, We the People are out of their our proper relation with the Union one another; and that the sole object of the government, civil and military and humanity, in regard to those States We the People is to again get them us into that proper practical relation. I believe it is not only possible, but in fact, easier to do this, without deciding, or even considering, whether these States We the People have ever been out of the Union our personally preferred group, than with it. Finding themselves ourselves safely at home, it would be utterly immaterial whether they We the People had ever been abroad associated with another. Let us all join in doing the acts necessary to restoring the proper practical relations between these States We the People and the Union United States of America; and each forever after, innocently indulge his own opinion whether, in doing the acts, he brought the States any or all from without, into the Union, or only gave them proper assistance, they never having been out of it.