Friday, December 30, 2016

A Lament of a Former Republican

As I have often recounted on this blog, I am a former Republican.  Indeed, my entire extended family was Republican and I served as a City Committee Member for the Republican Party of the City of Virginia Beach for 8 years.  But then the GOP began to change.  Church (i.e., right wing Christian) and state became intertwined; learning, science and objective fact became irrelevant, if not an outright enemy of America; and racism increased, thanks in large part to the Christofascists, most of whom are closet white supremacists.  I left the GOP as a result.  Other family members such as my late mother fled when John McCain tapped the idiot from Wasilla as his VP pick. With the nomination of Donald Trump, a/k/a Der Fuhrer, the descent of the GOP into bigotry and insanity became complete. Expect the exodus to continue despite Trump's electoral vote victory.   A column in The Hill contains the lament of a former Republican.  Here are highlights:
For sixteen years now, I have identified as a classic conservative. I enthusiastically supported Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in his primary fight back in 2000, and was glad to see him make it to the final round eight years later, although I couldn’t ultimately support him in the wake of his running mate selection.
I’m a proud gun owner and concealed carry permit holder. I drive a big, ridiculous V8 Mustang because ‘Murica. I believe in fiscal responsibility, a government that doesn’t intrude into the private lives of its citizens, and largely believe in the power of properly regulated markets and private enterprise to innovate towards solutions to the big problems.
Know what I want? I want to get back to arguing against my liberal friends. I want to return to really rubbing their noses in it. I want to go back and have a real knock-down, drag-out argument over the best way to tackle healthcare in this country, whether we should go to single-payer, or keep the ACA and tweak it to make our private, for-profit healthcare system work for everyone. 
I want to get back to arguing over how to approach global warming, either with top heavy government regulation, or a free-market, cap-and- trade type system. I want to get back to shooting down dumbass arguments against “assault weapons” (which is redundant) or supporting reasonable alternatives like universal background checks.
But I’m not doing that.  Do you know why I’m not doing that?  Because the party that is supposed to represent my values as a conservative has lost its ever-loving mind.
Instead of arguing over the most cost-effective to deliver affordable healthcare to all Americans, Republicans continue to argue that the plan they spent thirty years fighting for is suddenly socialist because it was signed into law by a black dude, and that twenty million people need to lose their health care without any plan in place to help them. 
I know some of these people personally. They are old clients of mine from back when I was selling health insurance. They are friends and colleagues I’ve met as an author and comic, self-employed people who were finally able to start their own businesses because they didn’t need their old employer’s group insurance anymore.
Instead of looking for market-based solutions to the undeniably real crisis of global warming, the President elect claimed that it’s all a lie invented by the Chinese and that 97 percent of the world’s climatologists are in on the conspiracy for, I don’t know, all that sweet Greenpeace money? 
The economies and infrastructure systems of the future will be green, not because of tree-huggers, but because of bedrock market forces. We can either embrace that reality and start running ahead of the curve in preparation, or we can continue to fall further behind, wasting untold billions propping up an outdated system that only benefits the wealth of extractors at the cost of the health of everyone else.
[H]is campaign rhetoric, coupled with his victory, has given a semblance of credibility to xenophobia, racism, sexism and religious bigotry. 
Since the election, hate crimes have spiked, with over a thousand incidents reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center since Nov. 8.  One of which I witnessed personally not a week later.
Instead of fighting for conservative solutions to our shared problems, I find myself arguing with “conservatives” who, despite all the objective, verifiable evidence, can’t even admit that our shared problems even exist in the first place.
I am a conservative. I have always been a conservative. And I really, really want to go back to arguing for conservative causes. But until the people who have stolen that word from me return it, and return to the evidence-based ideology demanded of them by people like Edmund Burke, and Michael Oakeshott, I have to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my liberal friends.
Because I have tell you, as it sits, they are far closer to where I have always stood on the political spectrum than anyone who wears an (R) after their name in Congress or pulled the lever for that precancerous orange colon polyp who is about to enter the White House. 
 "Orange colon Polyp"  - I will have to remember that term since it fits perfectly.  I also have to confess that I generally view Charlie Sheen as an idiot, his tweets "Trump next . . . Trump next  . . " after all the recent celebrity deaths would seem to be brilliant.

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