Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lack of Familiarity Breeds Contempt


It's been said, "Familiarity breeds contempt." That's true of voters across the political spectrum this year. The more they get to know the increasingly unhinged Republican Party, the more we hate them. But the opposite is also true: Lack of familiarity can also breed contempt. And that is because we fear what we do not know and what we do not know we tend to loathe.

And the Republican Party this year seems to be in some scavenger hunt to dredge up the most hateful, spiteful and outrageous things to say and they're turning off droves of reliable Republican voters. Perhaps in no clearer case than the Republican Party turning off centrist and even conservative female voters.

Let's face it, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin aside, the Republican Party is still run by the same exact kind of stereotypical old white men in overstuffed leather chairs at the lodge, puffing on cigars the size of Rhode Island, sipping century-old brandy and swapping stories that usually end in some half-forgotten conquest or another. "...and there I was, liberals to the left of me, liberals to the right of me, and I raised my trusty keyboard and smote the demons..."

Indeed, the Republican Party, which seems eager to accelerate our inevitable slide into a real-life Idiocracy, has been especially hostile toward women in general and not just liberal women. In Texas, Pennsylvania and other states, we've seen the party of small government essentially raping women in the most impersonal and dispassionate way imaginable by insisting on transvaginal ultrasounds. PA Gov. Tom Corbett was even emboldened to say, "Just close your eyes" in response to the outrage from women in light of Corbett's advocacy of mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds before a woman can have an abortion.

(Note to Gov. Corbett: I guess closing your eyes automatically numbing genitalia works both ways so here's some free medical advice: During your next prostate exam, just close your eyes, cough and think of Reagan.)

In what's perhaps the most notorious instance of Republican misogyny, Rush Limbaugh called birth control advocate and Georgetown student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" simply because she testified before House Democrats after the Republican majority, in yet another instance of misogyny, refused to hear her testimony. That three day-long, XXX, sex-obsessed tirade, in which Limbaugh ignorantly equated frequency of sex with the amount of birth control needed, cost Limbaugh and his Premier employers over 150 sponsors, many of them the nation's largest corporations.

Not content with resting on his laurels, Limbaugh then went on a tirade against another woman, Tracie McMillan, for saying in her book that nutritious, quality food simply isn't available to low income people. To Republican rodeo clowns like Limbaugh, whose actual job it is to distract the sleeping bull of public opinion from the real issues, this smacks of class warfare, which is always a touchy point with Republicans who insist that everything is hunk-dory except for lazy liberals who don't want to be pill-popping, multimillionaire child molesters like Rush.

We saw more outrage from not just the left but from much of the 99% during the Occupy Wall Street that officially kicked off on September 17th last year. Virtually every right wing pundit anxious to use #OWS as a billy club with which to beat over the heads of liberals jumped on the rickety bandwagon to spread every outrageous lie: The protesters shit on police cars, they're on drugs, they're lazy, they're unemployed and unemployable and, in the most notorious instance, the late Andrew Breitbart, the P.T. Barnum of the internet, hoarsely screamed about rape being covered up to protect the integrity of the Occupy movement.

The war on the LGBT community rages on, with Prop 8 being struck down by a federal court and being, against all reason, appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court. Gay people are still being driven to suicide, beaten and shot and otherwise being attacked and killed off at a frenzied clip across all age groups. In response, the Republican-controlled Michigan legislature almost subverted Matt's Safe Schools Law, which would prohibit bullying of all kinds in Michigan schools, to the degree that a bully could've gotten off scot-free after any attack simply by pulling out the "moral and religion" card.

All these acts of Republican loathing of what doesn't resemble itself have two things in common: A complete and sociopathic lack of empathy and being driven to the absolute extreme as a means of answering even tepid opposition. And the message the Republican Party is imparting from a municipal to a state to the national level, is simple and impossible to miss: If you oppose our bigotry, we will crush you. And if we can't do that, we will subvert any attempt to protect the victim.

From the days of the Founding Fathers down to Mark Twain down to Will Rogers to our present day, we've long suspected that the people we elect to public office are some of the stupidest, greediest, most viciously bigoted and ignorant, corrupt, sociopathic vermin ever to crawl across the face of the earth and this is no truer than the latter day Republican Party. In fact, the only thing the Capitol Building needs to qualify as a lunatic asylum is bars on the windows, a looser dress code and more second-hand board games.

After two plus centuries, one would see that who we elect to public office is a direct reflection of how bigoted and ignorant we are as a democracy. And in the last few years, the Republican Party has become a mere synecdoche and refinement of the misogyny, racism, homophobia and general, all-around ignorance of We the People. And the hot air we feel from Republican campaign speeches is just the harbinger of the whirlwind we're about to reap.

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