editorial

*The following article was contributed to us by Mr. Ron Sebestik of Mahomet, IL.

Back a few years I spent my days sweating with 140 eighth graders on a daily basis in a classroom with no air conditioning and teaching U.S. History and the Constitution.  Twenty-two years and the best I could do to explain the two party system was to use a rubber band- stretching it to show the growth of government under Democrats and relaxing it to show the shrinking of government under Republicans.  I thought I was brilliant.  I told my eager pupils that with this scenario we always end up in the middle- with a stable ever-growing economy and peaceful transitions of government from one party to the other.  Things seemed so simple then.  Both parties proposed ideas and directions for the country and the voters expressed their acceptance or rejection at the polls.

Nine years ago, however, something happened.  My world was rocked.  The Founding Fathers with their intelligence and largeness of character rolled over in their collective graves.  One of our parties decided that intelligence, education, communication skills, common sense, and true compassion (not just the word) were no longer necessary to run for high political office.  Now the question of qualification became “Who would you rather have a beer with at a backyard barbecue?”  This was, of course, a trick question since they left out the fact that GW’s alcoholic past only lasted until his early forties meaning that he couldn’t have that beer with you at the BBQ anyway so the point was moot.

The Republicans simply stopped having ideas after eight years of Bush and stopped playing the game by the rules.  They found out why athletes break rules- it’s easier and you can still win.  Their brilliant moment of clarity told them to just shout, say no to everything, use the most inflammatory language you can muster, stay away from the ‘N’ word, only infer it and don’t waste your time developing ideas- if you do a good enough job of tearing down the Democrat you won’t have to work that hard.  The country will turn back to your party because they either want a change or else they’re simply tired of hearing the whining of the children in the small mind party. We’ve all done it- giving in to a screaming, unreasonable child by giving them whatever will shut them up.  They have become the party of Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame personalities- The Cult of Superficial Personality.

How enthralled we have all been watching the parade of those hoping to become the next “It Girl” for conservatives.  It’s only been 10 months but the list is long:

1. Mitt Romney- Good looks, mildly acceptable personality, some government experience, and then there’s the Mormon problem- it’s a bitch when a portion of your conservative base doesn’t even believe you are a Christian the only way he gets the nomination is if the Repubs realize they have no chance and he becomes the sacrificial lamb so as to not waste another candidate who can actually be elected.  Sort of a la McCain. (46% possibility)

2. Eric Cantor- OMG, he was pushed out front early on and waved like a flag and there were interviews with him and his wife and we were led to believe he might be the Moses (literally) who would lead the conservatives out of the Wilderness- unfortunately we quickly realized that he was a straw man who had little substance and actually sounded as if he were slightly retarded. (42%)

3. Lindsey Graham- Oh please, don’t even get me started. (45% possibility)

4. Mike Huckabee- see above. (40% possibility)

5. The whole “C Street Gang”- Give me a break. We just all love the sweet bunch who wrap themselves in their religious cocoon and continue to break a good portion of the biblical commandments and simply have a house meeting and forgive themselves because they have been told by their leader that they are hand-picked by God for their Congressional seats. Future presidents all of them. (0% possibility)

6. Tim Pawlenty- Yeah, he’s a real possibility.  Young, attractive, governor, not an original idea uttered yet and terrified of taking a stand on anything unless it involves slamming the Democrats.  (45% possibility)

7. Michelle Bachmann- Yeah crazy will get you elected. (10% Possibility)

8. Sarah Palin- Okay, here goes: the thing that tells me she is unelectable is her inability to recognize the fact that she is not capable of being President, a major character flaw.  I’m sure we will find out she is only in it for the money but she’s still thinking about the brass ring and hoping for a ground swell.  (35% Possibility)

9. Bob McDonnell- at least he’s won an election and they are already talking about the Vice-President slot.  They’re not interested in quality and ideas, just winnability.  Unfortunately for Bob his 34 year-old thesis will hurt him with millions of women.

Even though crazy the old familiar faces have been pushed to the rear, people like Gingrich, Buchanan, McConnell, and McCain they continue to bleat unintelligible syllables in an effort to recapture the old heartbeat of the tax-cutting Reaganism.  No one is listening. They’re too bust tuning in to Beck, Limbaugh, Coulter, Ingraham, Savage and others who have no material that doesn’t inflame thehatred of the southern-based evangelical heart of the party.

Again there is something they have overlooked- the ugly head of demographics in an ever-changing face of the electorate.  You didn’t really think they are racially insensitive because of their extreme patriotism did you?  It all has to do with how those new citizens will vote. Sure there may be some defections in the mid-term elections but as long as the Republicans have no new ideas and Democrats vote the result is certain.

Meanwhile, back at the eighth grade history class I always told my students that the strength of the two-party system was that two strong parties offer a choice for the American people, a choice between this and that.  Not a choice between this and WTF !

One obvious clue showing the superficiality of the Conservatives is an examination of the argument always involves money and patriotism.  Never what’s best for the American people, never what’s good for the environment, never what the polls show the American people actually want.  Simply take care of the corporations, the banks, Wall Street and hope that a few crumbs will wander down thru the ranks and help those that were of so much interest to Jesus Christ, the embodiment of the Conservative dogma and ideology.

You gotta hand it to them though.  You have to respect the power and ability of a political party that can convince people throughout the country and heavily in the South that getting them covered by a public health option is a bad thing because they run the risk of being a little too Socialist.  Never mind that complete financial ruin that comes with severe family illness, the break-up of families, kids that can’t go to college, suicides, and general mental trauma experienced by those dealing with family members struck by cancer, alzheimer’s, heart disease and having no obvious way to pay for expensive treatment.

Keep it up Republicans, the country is going nowhere with your lack of ideas and obstructionism, but at least at the age of 58 I seem safe in the belief that there will be a Democrat majority for the rest of my life.  Perhaps we can actually get something done, or, maybe we’ll just elect Dick Cheney in 2012 and just hope it all works out. WTF  !!

By Ron Sebestik