As many of my loyal readers know, Shut Up Already has been ignoring politics since that ill-fated weekend in November when I lost my job and Bush was inexplicably, disastrously elected to do his for four more years. I had planned to use this hiatus from political obsession and gainful employment to re-evaluate my life, turn over a new leaf, become a better person, etc. Instead, I've been wiping up baby puke and shamelessly begging for an iPod. But that's not the point here.
I have been using a little of the brain power available to me to try to move away from the reactionary brand of politics I'd embraced last fall, and to re-examine my own core beliefs. Basically, I'm frightened of Republicans, and I thought I could assuage my fear a little bit of I tried to understand them on a less combative level. What drives them? What issues are truly at the core of their movement, and what is so much political posturing?
The recent flap over the Terry Schiavo case has gone a long way toward answering these questions and illuminating what I jokingly call the "heart of darkness". I think I'm finally getting a handle on this, and I wanted to share my findings with you.
The most important tenets of the GOP platform are freedom from government intervention and responsible fiscal policy. They believe that Americans should be left in peace to lead their peaceful, free, law-abiding lives, and that it's not the government's place to spend the money of freedom-loving Americans (they're big on freedom.) These tenets are held dear across all other divisions within the party, and upheld rigorously, except for a few special circumstances.
1. The GOP fiercely supports the idea of marriage between a man and a woman as the bedrock of family, and family in turn as the bedrock of democracy. The relationship between a husband and a wife is sacrosanct and holy and should be supported by all of society, UNLESS one spouse is in a persistent vegetative state and the other spouse is trying to obey the sick spouse's wishes by having her removed from life support. In this circumstance, marriage is a quaint and annoying custom which Congress has the right--nay, the responsibility--to trample all over. Pass laws! Subvert the judicial process! Fuck checks and balances!
2. This leads us nicely to our next example. The GOP is the pro-life party. They believe that all life is sacred, especially when it's politically expedient (see example 1). To prove how committed they are to this principle, they have slashed funding to any group that provides abortion information (This is the infamous Global Gag Rule, or Mexico City Rule; The United Nations Population Funds estimates that the money withheld by the Bush administration would have helped prevent as many as 2 million unwanted pregnancies and nearly 800,000 abortions; 4,700 maternal deaths and over 77,000 infant and child deaths in many countries. ) This is a good example pf how committed to its principles the GOP is; they don't let little things like facts get in the way. As a wishy-washy liberal, I hope to learn from them.
3. Speaking of marriage and families and abortions and stuff, queers can't have any. The "hands-off" government rule does not apply to godless fornicating sodomites, obviously. Think of it: what if gays had been allowed to marry, threatening the traditional heterosexual marriage? The Schiavo's marriage might have ended before Terri's accident, and Congress would have had to pass new laws and work on Saturday to decide....oh right, that did happen.
4. Life is sacred, but especially the lives of middle-class Christian American white people. Sorry, Iraqis, unfairly detained Muslims, and those of you in the armed forces. The sanctity of your lives is not politically convenient at this time, and will be disregarded until further notice. In the mean time, please be quiet.
5. And while we are completely abandoning the original conceit of this article and just talking about things that horrify me, can we talk about the lack of outrage over the U.S. rendition program? What the fuck? Masked U.S. agents are capturing suspected--suspected--terrorists and extraditing them to countries that are known to encourage torture to be "interrogated". Many are released without ever being charged, and no one is told of their whereabouts during their incarceration. This has been widely reported and not refuted. The reaction of the U.S. public? "Huh. Pass the remote."