2011

10 August 2011: Time to stand up to the crazies

Time to stand up to the crazies

These are times that try liberals’ souls. Being a Broncos fan, I know what a butt-whipping looks and feels like, and the bill passed under duress to prevent the U.S. from being pushed over a cliff is a butt-whipping of the first magnitude.

A bitter pill to swallow, but so was Florida in 2000, the Invasion of Iraq in 2003, Ohio in 2004, and the rise of the Republican Tea Party in 2010.

One reason this minority seemingly gets its way is that it’s willing to play dirty. For them, politics is more than a contact sport; it’s cockfighting in its most brutal form. Kicks to the groin merely serve to soften opponents up.

Water-boarding is considered a more effective method and indicative of their willingness to exercise “the nuclear option.” It worked for then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) when he threatened to blow up Senate rules if Democrats had filibustered President Bush’s highly unqualified Supreme Court nominees.

Senate Democrats caved.

That strategy worked in December 2010 with the extension of the Bush tax cuts.

President Obama and congressional Democrats again caved, although from it came the abolition of the hideous Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law.

Was it worth it? For the cause of liberty and justice for all, yes, but for the economy and fiscal health of our country, no.

2011 affirms the wisdom of the old maxim: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. We’re past shame and into humiliation, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell promises to pile it on, calling the RTP’s strategy a template for future “negotiations.”

How many groin kicks are Democrats willing to take? The snide answer is countless in that Democrats lack the parts that make a groin kick quite uncomfortable.

What’s at work, though, is a dynamic that shows those who tend to register Republican/Tea-can have a different mindset than those who tend to register Democratic and install leaders who promise a no-holds-barred approach.

Democrats, on the other hand, tend to be inclusive problem-solvers, allowing a wide-range of ideas on the table.

However, not all ideas are equally intellectually or ethically valid. For example, Creationism, under the name of Intelligent Design, is not science, but superstitious bunk unfit for consideration in a public school curriculum.

Global warming/climate change is real. Measurable data confirm it. The First Amendment gives any crazy the right to deny it, but not elected and appointed public officials charged with creating and implementing policies to address crises.

A political party that not only provides safe haven to such crackpot ideas but also adopts and gives voice to them loses its credibility and moral stature.

Consequently, this protracted struggle is not between partisans, as the mainstream media portrays it, but between diametrically opposing forces and their approaches to policy creation and implementation: pragmatism vs. fundamentalism.

After a century of dormancy, post-Civil War Radical Republicanism is reborn and gone with the wind is the GOP. Grand has become Brand; Old has become New but only in the fashionable sense; and Party in its loosest form.

If what can be considered the American Right in 1787 took the same approach as their modern-day progeny, there would’ve been no Three-fifths Clause that counted slaves as three-fifths of a person as a basis for representation, a bitter pill progressives of that day swallowed to insure a Constitution.

In 1820, there would’ve been no Missouri Compromise. Nor would’ve there been the Compromise of 1850. But there would’ve been a Civil War as there was when South Carolina threatened to secede if Abraham Lincoln were elected President.

The history of this anti-government strain dates not from the 1773 Tea Party but the early 1790s Whiskey Rebellion when western Pennsylvania farmers refused to pay the Distilled Spirits Tax to the nascent federal government. They too likely believed they were carrying on the tradition of Samuel Adams and Friends, but when reason failed and his proclamations were ignored, President George Washington led the troops to restore legitimate authority, the only sitting President to do such.

Fifty years later, that strain took political form in the Know-Nothing Party with its anti-“un-American” stance towards immigrants and anyone else deemed insufficiently “American.”

Their progeny now sits in Congress.

Over the past 235 years, common-sense Americans stood up to crazies time and time again. That call is before us anew. It’s time to strap on a hardened athletic cup and stiffen the backbone.

Consider what Washington would do. My bet is he wouldn’t cave.

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