For all my Republican friends

One of the things I find the most enraging, frustrating, and demoralizing about the political climate today is the state of the two major parties. Until recently, Democrats were might as well have had "doormat" imprinted on their collective foreheads for all the abuse they took, and though they've finally begun growing a spine of late, it might be too late for this election season. My gut tells me that this newly emerging vertebrae will be enough -- barely -- to push Kerry into office and in some of my more optimistic moments, possibly take control of the Senate. (Though I admit than when I dream about actually taking the House, too, I'm downright delusional.)

But playing the role of aggressive to our passive, the Republicans make me, literally, ill. Most of the time, I can't even advocate open-minded discussion of dissenting views -- me of the constant moderation and willingness to see more than one side of an issue -- because we're the only ones playing by those rules.

On any level, any issue, any measure you want to name, Democrats are constantly challenged by the GOP to prove not only that they're not liberal, but that they're true citizens, true patriots, true parents, true heroes, true whatever. The score never starts at zero points for both sides, it's zero points (or more often, positive points) for the Republicans, and negative points for the Democrats, the degree of the negative depending on how useful they are at any given moment on a particular issue. We're running constantly not to win, but to break even.

Don't believe me? Look at Kerry. To run a political candidate that's got any chance at all, the Dems have to run a military superhero to counterbalance all the unpatriotic stereotype crap the Republicans have been spewing about them since the 60s. Nevermind that it's all bullshit, that the GOP has never and will never have a lock on what and how to to be a patriotic American. Just to be viable, our guy had to be so incredibly, amazingly heroic that not even G.I. Joe himself could accuse him of being unpatriotic. And yet even when the Democrats manage to find just such a candidate, the Republicans do exactly that: accuse him of being unpatriotic. In the vilest, most dishonest, calculated way possible, no less.

It's that level of intellectual dishonesty -- no, intellectual delusion -- that makes me so indescribably angry. Until the Republicans, whether from within or without, turn away from this destructive game plan, until they start pushing the extremists in their party back under the rocks they crawled out from instead of putting them in charge and singing their praises, I have to wonder about those who choose to vote with them, who proudly proclaim to side with them, who say with a smile that "yes, these people represent me".

To my Republican friends out there: read this article. Just read it. Put aside whatever Rush, Hannity, Coulter and the rest have filled your head with these days. Suppress the instinct the right wing has instilled in you to chant "oh, that liberal media". Read it. Think about it. Think about what I'm saying, too. Formulate your own thoughts, your own ideas about it. Then come talk to me, and we can have that honest discussion of dissenting opinions we used to enjoy so much.

"Perverse Polarity" by Paul Glastris

No comments: