I now know how brother Al felt. I was trying desperately not to write about the incredulous ineptitude of the Republican Party, its propaganda outlet a.k.a. Fox News, and its standard bearer, Mitt Romney. In the span of one week, Romney has injected himself clumsily and without benefit of any facts, into a serious, sensitive international crisis, then turned around and insulted half of all Americans. This is from the rich guy whose answer to struggling college students is to get a loan from their parents, who won’t release his tax forms, and who wants deep tax cuts for himself, while cutting services and benefits for average working people. Astonishing.
I have now seen two things I never thought I would see in my lifetime: a Black president; and a presidential candidate who, if elected, would be worse- dare I say it? – than George W. Bush. What I find most intriguing is not Romney’s incompetence-although it really is a wonder to behold- but the process by which we are faced with watching a man so spectacularly flawed carry the mantle of his party. What has happened to the party of Lincoln that
Ever since the Republicans became the party of conservatism, it has consisted of two distinct elements. There was the conservative intellectual elite as represented by the late William F, Buckley Jr., George Will, and William Krystol, who provided the theoretical structure of the party. Then there were the followers who voted their emotions, rather than their interests, and who follow people like the aforementioned Sarah Palin, Triple R (Rabid, Racist, Rush) Limbaugh, and Michelle Bachman. It is from this latter group that the Tea Party and born and the inmates took over the asylum. Thus began the empowerment of the COD (Culture Of Dumb).
The Republican primary race was the most astonishing display of the politics of COD that I have ever witnessed. Former Governor, John Huntsman, was run out of the race almost immediately for the unpardonable sin of making sense and speaking rationally. The remaining candidates almost fell over themselves trying to make the most outrageous, nonsensical statements. Any candidate who had, at any time in the past, said anything that made sense was forced to retract the offending statement. Newt Gingrich, who became a master of the nonsensical, was forced to denounce a joint public service announcement he had made with Nancy Pelosi about global warming. He actually said that acknowledging global warming was the dumbest thing he had ever done, and couldn’t explain why he did it. Rick Santorum came out against education and declared that smart people would not vote for him! And who could forget that on the issue of a hypothetical uninsured young man with a fatal condition, and the audience’s responseas to what to do for him was to let him die! The major media maintained a straight face while treating Republican mythology as if it were reality.
The Republicans are faced with an apparently unsolvable conundrum. On the one hand, so much of their success has been derived from the smoke and mirror tactics employed by the diabolical Karl Rove, that truly enlightened people will rarely vote for many of them. Tax breaks for the wealthiest and deregulation of the banking industry-not to mention oil companies and the incalculable environmental damage they do when not watched closely- are positions that clearly do not favor most Americans. So, to a certain extent, it is in their best interest for their constituents to remain uninformed by getting their “information” from Fox News.
On the other hand, the COD is unmanageable, uncontainable and uncontrollable. Hence we were provided the spectacle of Congressman Todd Akin explaining that in cases of “legitimate” rape (Don’t you just hate it when the parents of rape aren’t married?) a woman’s body will terminate the pregnancy on its own.
Given their hostility toward the African American community (their greatest hero, Ronald Reagan, categorized Black folks as a “special interest”) it would be tempting for the Black community to become downright giddy at this onslaught of COD. Yet COD has strong roots in our community as well. We see it when our best and brightest are castigated for “tying to talk white” merely because they used proper English. There is, however, one salient distinction in the COD of the Black community and that of the rabid right. Much of the African American COD has been imposed from without, by those who have defined us negatively. We can’t say that about the working class right.
Staff Writer; William Griggs