Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Ugliness of the Republican Party Base

Not to sound like a broken record, I was a Republican activist for 8 years and held a City Committee seat for the Republican Party of Virginia Beach.  Back in those days the GOP wasn't pushing for special rights for Christian extremists and did not all but openly embrace white supremacists.  Sadly, those days are gone and today the party base looks like a mixture of a huge KKK rally and a gathering of snake handling Christian nutcases.   Worse yet, no Republican candidate has the will or ability to stand up to this mass insanity.  A piece in The Atlantic focused on Donald Trump's candidacy provides a snap shot of the mindset that is now widespread across the GOP base.  It is not a pretty picture and I again find myself wondering how these people can be so ignorant and blind.  The reality is that these are not nice and decent people even though I suspect most pat themselves on the back daily for being "god fearing Christians."  Here are article excerpts:
They seem so nice, your friends and neighbors. Your fellow Americans.

“In today’s time, if I’m a white person who’s proud to be white, I’m a racist,” says 44-year-old Kevin Stubbs, a land surveyor who shared his Marlboro Reds with an African American T-shirt vender on the way in. “Yet a minority can say that.”

“I do not feel safe,” says his fiancee, Loree Ballenberger, 42. “People are coming in across the border, and we have no idea where they are coming from.” She recently called her congressman to urge him to vote for a bill limiting Syrian refugees.

“I remember seeing Muslims around the world celebrating after 9/11,” says Chip Matthews, a 63-year-old retired carpentry teacher in glasses with tinted lenses. So what if it was the Mideast and not New Jersey? “The basic point, I think, is true,” he says.

“I look at the pictures of those refugees and they all look like able-bodied young men, 18 to 30 years old,” says his wife, Patrice Matthews, a 62-year-old retired school-district worker. Matthews doesn’t see why we have to be the ones to help these people. “It’s their country—they need to take it back,” she says.

I hear versions of the point about able-bodied young men from five different people. I hear, over and over again, that illegal immigration is the biggest problem we face. Almost everyone says their second-choice candidate is Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas; many express a wish that he and Trump would run on the same ticket.

“Just because he thinks illegal immigrants and terrorists should be deported doesn’t make him a racist,” he says. “He’s calling it as it is. You’ll never see CNN do that.”

“I’m against the anchor babies, and I’m against the Muslims,” says Kathy Parker, a tiny former elementary-school teacher with gold hoop earrings. “We can’t have churches in their countries—why should they have mosques in ours? He is the only one with the guts to speak out and say it.”

“We’re just tired of paying for people who don’t deserve to be here,” says Nina Lewis, a blue-eyed 33-year-old former sheriff’s deputy who is going back to school to be a veterinary technician.
They are, it is true, overwhelmingly white people. Do you have a problem with that?

The other night, at a Trump rally in Alabama, a black protester who shouted “Black lives matter!” was surrounded by white men who punched and kicked him. Far from apologizing for this, Trump is gloating about it: “What an obnoxious, terrible guy that was,” he tells the crowd in Myrtle Beach, who turn around and hiss at the press on his cue. In August, two Boston men said Trump inspired their vicious beating of a homeless Mexican immigrant. This week, a group of civil-rights protesters in Minneapolis was fired upon by four white men in masks and camouflage.

The people wave and make faces at the press as they go by. One gray-haired lady in a sweatshirt keeps pointing at her butt and sticking out her tongue at us as she ambles by. She has a savage look on her face.

Something tells me that these crowds are not what one would consider "gay friendly."   Their entire world view seems defined by those they hate: blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, non-Christians, I suspect gays, and a host of others.  Welcome to today's Republican party.

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