Saturday, December 9, 2023

Republicans: On Being American (The good, the bad & the ugly).

September 19, 2023 by  
Filed under BM, News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( I watched the entire Republican Debate the other day and was later struck by an odd thought on what it means to be an American. The commonality between these candidates went beyond representation for the Republican Party, they all exemplified (to me) what I’m going to call American Dichotomy Syndrome (ADS)  I just made that up, so don’t google it. America has always had a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the next. In 1776, it became the “Land of the free”, where “all men were believed to be created equal” the angel on one shoulder might say. Followed by the devil smirking to add, “Yeah…If you’re a white male… It ’s gonna be hell for the rest of ya’ll for quite some time.”

Republicans Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Mike Pence, Tim Scott, and Nikki Haley: On Being American (The good, the bad & the ugly).Each of the candidates embodied a different archetype of the American personality. There were 8 archetypes on stage with the elephant out of the room but let’s look at the top 5.Ron DeSantis – The All American White ManGood: As Governor of Florida, he has pushed for lower taxes and less government regulation. He is seen as a champion of conservative values. He’s young and charismatic and a pretty good communicator. Heavily admired for handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida.  Bad: He has been criticized for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida. Some view his stances on issues like Critical Race Theory, immigration and LGBTQ rights as extreme. Lacks experience on the national stage but did pretty good at the debate. Heavily disliked for empowering racist rhetoric in FloridaUgly: DeSantis is a staunch Trump ally who has embraced Trump’s populist rhetoric and policies. Trump has hinted at supporting DeSantis if he runs in 2024. Possibly the younger, bolder version of Trump. A potential heir to Trump’s political legacy.DeSantis embodies the American dichotomy between freedom and order. He is a strong supporter of individual liberty, but he also believes in a strong role for government in maintaining law and order. He is a fiscal conservative, but he also supports government programs that benefit his constituents. He’s a slick oneMike Pence – The Good Ole’ GuyGood: As Vice President under Trump, he brought evangelical and mainstream conservative credentials. He is viewed as a steady, disciplined leader with solid experience and wisdom. Strong conservative Christian values. Heavily admired for refusing to overturn the 2020 electionBad: He is seen by some as too deferential to Trump. His conservative social views are out of step with mainstream public opinion and lacks charisma. Strong conservative Christian values.Ugly: Pence was unflinchingly loyal to Mr. Trump as VP. But Trump soured on Pence after he refused to overturn the 2020 election results. The jump off of the ship at the last moment still shows a question of loyalties.Pence embodies the American dichotomy between faith and reason. He is a devout Christian who believes in the importance of traditional values. However, he is also a lawyer and a former businessman who is capable of thinking critically and making rational decisions to cover his ass.Vivek Ramaswamy – The Cocky ForeignerPros: An entrepreneur and political outsider, he brings private sector experience. His critique of “woke” capitalism has appealed to conservatives. Seen as a fresh face, has a lot of energy and is a strong heir to Trump’s legacyCons: He lacks government experience and has thin policy proposals. As Pence quirked in the debate, he’s an “on the job” trainee. Some see his views on social issues as reactionary and outright racist or extreme. He may also be viewed as far too ambitiousUgly: Ramaswamy has constructively criticized Mr. Trump’s leadership style while relating to his appeal as an outsider shaking up the system. Of everyone at the debate, he vocalized the most love for Trump.Ramaswamy embodies the American dichotomy between individualism and collectivism. He is a strong believer in individual liberty and the free market. However, he also believes in the importance of community and shared values. He is a critic of woke culture and identity politics, which he sees as divisive and destructive. He may have the biggest disparity of American Dichotomy  being a person of color so strongly opposed to “woke” cultureNikki Haley – The Stern No B.S WomanGood: As governor of South Carolina, she balanced fiscal conservatism with a more moderate social agenda. Her Indian heritage highlights diversity. She’s an experienced politician. Had the”Margaret Thatcher’s” advantage during the debate in presenting valid views.Bad: She lacks federal government experience. Her shifts rightward on social issues have opened her to charges of political opportunism. She may be seen as too ambitiousUgly: Haley served as Mr. Trump’s UN ambassador but occasionally criticized his rhetoric. She has delicately balanced praise and critiques of Trump. Another potential candidate as an heir to Trump but also actively distancing herself from him during the debate.Haley embodies the American dichotomy between tradition and change. She is a traditional conservative in many ways, but she is also a woman of color who is trying to break the mold. She is a strong supporter of the military and law enforcement, but she is also open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.Tim Scott – The Token Black GuyGood: As the sole black Republican senator, he provides racial diversity. He supports traditional GOP policies but has more moderate views on racial issues. Very experienced politician and skilled orator with strong Christian valuesBad: His policy proposals are light on specifics. Some conservatives view him as too willing to compromise with Democrats. Lacks a solid base. Strong Christian values makes him too nice for RepublicansUgly: Scott has gently criticized Mr. Trump’s racially divisive rhetoric while supporting Trump’s agenda as President. He keeps some distance from Trump.Scott embodies the American dichotomy between opportunity and inequality. He is a self-made man who has overcome poverty and discrimination to become a successful politician. However, he is also aware of the challenges that many Americans face, such as racism and economic inequality. He is a strong supporter of free markets and individual liberty, but he also believes in the importance of government programs that help those in need.

Chris Christie was the Bully, Asa Hutchinson was that creepy old guy that no one talks to and Doug Burman kinda came off as the Hippy guy who still smokes reefer. He made a lot of valid points in the debate but… he’s from North Dakota so… yeah. That’s part of a composite view of a corporate America workplace including the young and charming on-the-rise, all American white guy, the Good Ole Guy who’s forgotten more about politics than most people will know, the cocky young Foreigner who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else, that one lady no one bullshits or cracks jokes or flirts with and that one brother who keeps bringing up bible verses. All of which are waiting to see what happens next with their Boss.. the Big Man… Mr. Trump.

Staff Writer; Janga Bussaja

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