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Saturday, August 18, 2012

The H.A.R.D. Philosophy of the G.O.P.

Note: Today's blog is a guest post by a woman named Marthe who wrote to me offline about my recent post about Paul Ryan. 

I was born into the Democratic Party. She was born into the Republican Party. We know stuff. 

Marthe offers important insights into the current Republican philosophy - she calls it a "mutant strain of the GOP" - which has absolutely nothing to do with the Republican Party either of us remembers from our youth. It's certainly not the Republican Party this country needs in order for a healthy two-party system to lead this country into the future.


The easy to remember formula: the current version of the GOP believes in being HARD ...
H -- Help only your own, by whatever definition you freely choose to identify that "own", emphasis on the property.
    These are the descendants of Manifest Destiny who absolutely believe that possession is 9/10ths of the law, and that "majority" is what rules. Those who also identify as "Christian" (quotes to indicate that their definition rarely matches that of anyone whose self-description ends in an -ist) see giving alms as a duty from which they are entitled to accrue bonus points in their version of heaven - the "good" you see, is not the help offered to the needy, but the feeling good about themselves and the compliance with commandments that will guarantee their version of safety.
A -- Accumulate, more of everything than is actually needed by any means necessary, because it is good to be thrifty, never to need any other human for anything, and if the "means" are ever questionable, well, that's what forgiveness is for and if you aren't cheating, you aren't really trying.
R --Repress any emotion you can't label righteous anger lest you appear weak ... of course, the adrenaline rush of competition or war is acceptable and not at all like those girly hormones that make women unreliable (yes, yes, I know, brain chemistry is science and unavoidable, but facts are not relevant here - the spin of the facts is all that matters).
This part of the myth and theology of the far right venerates the "rugged individualist" and casts anyone not fitting that very narrow description as faulty, unworthy of consideration, chaff to be ignored and discarded, or some form of lazy slacker out to steal their stuff.
D-- Demand, deny and demean ... three d's, but hey, it's a free country, pick the one you like best: demand that others agree or get out of the way (and when discussing issues, be sure to raise your voice if instant compliance seems unlikely); deny any pesky facts that undermine your stated opinion; demean anyone not worshiping at the same altar of patriarchal command and control that works so well for the white/male/ever so manly few (but if you're a SEAL or special ops guy of a darker shade, you're in by virtue of your capability with weapons).
The whole thing relies on a myth that "hard men making hard choices" have earned all the freedoms and value of the American system and therefor are entitled to "call the shots" for everyone forever and ever, amen. 
Hard work, after all, everyone agrees, pays, must be rewarded, must be venerated, is the way, the truth and the life of the most exceptional nation on earth. 
It's a form of meritocracy, but the definition of merit is exceedingly narrow, and that merit while rhetorically available to all in the land of the free, is really just an opportunity to exclude anyone not conforming to their ideas and behaviors.
Never mind, that most of the practitioners of HARD haven't earned much of anything, have not served in the much vaunted temple of manly hierarchy/meritocracy known as the military, or overcome much of anything in their "struggle to maintain our sacred freedoms" ... they are a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do crowd, and they relish the push-comes-to-shove moments of life as an opportunity to validate their fragile egos ... but only by proxy ... after all, they don't stoop to getting their hands dirty with actual war or street fights or cleaning up the messes they've made - that would deny the young, the poor, the striving their chance to achieve and earn their own place in society ... the help must have their opportunity, after all.
Any activity that doesn't include some version of hardness simply doesn't count to these folks, particularly in the "rule" that once one has made up their mind on a subject, that position must be kept, defended, stubbornly enforced on the misguided, wishy washy others at all cost ... a favorite phrase: "man up,  stick to your guns" ... any deviation from this rule is weakness, a forfeiture of one's place among the chosen few of the GOP.
So, sadly, talking individually to GOP voters is unlikely to convince them, at least they'll never admit to agreeing with your points ... but despair not! What these masters of hypocrisy do in private varies widely. If they privately see the Romney/Ryan ticket as scary, they will vote against their party, because avoiding fear is the point of all that hardiness.
So, if any of that is of use to your readers, please share.
A mostly reconstructed Republican, (we can overcome our genes, really)


Paul (A.) said...

As another one born into the Republican party, I have to ask this question: Given that the Republican party's consistent practice over at least the past two decades is to continually lie about themselves, their opponents, and anything else that arises, why on earth would you want to elect them into any position of authority over you where they control the police, the spies, and the military?

Marthe said...

Hey Paul A. - I'm past wanting to elect them to anything, but also know that an all Democratic government would be one without checks or balances or any reason whatsoever NOT to abuse the trust or money of the electorate ... must keep just enough of a second party to keep the whole lot on their toes ... and the gainfully employed news media gainfully employed (call it a jobs program).

Jeffrey Wells, RN said...

Sure seems, at times, that there is so little difference between the parties - both are filled with the permanent political class intent on more personal power and self-aggrandizement, moving from panel discussion to cocktail party, repeat...

Americans - Dems, Repubs and Inds - are the most generous in times of need throughout the world - leaping to the aid of the Japanese and Indonesians after the tsunamis, food and humanitarian aid to the Sudan refugees, even aid to the bomb-throwing Palestinians. ABC has a story today that conservatives and people of faith give the most - 3 times the amount of humanitarian aid than liberals in MA. And ABC is a lib/leftist mouthpiece.

Can we do more for those in-need - you bet! Lets do it NOW!

Oh, congratulations on the lead forum on this blog! While I disagree with your premise and points, it is a great honor. Kudos!