Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), one of the Tea Party’s leaders and one of the, if not the, most conservative member of the Senate, gave a little speech at FRC’s “Watchmen on the Wall” pastor’s conference the other day. He followed that up with an interview with Bryan Fischer on his radio program.
During this interview, DeMint gave vent to his delusions about conservatism’s divine right to rule the United States. This is by no means a delusion held only by DeMint, of course. Sarah Palin makes a lucrative living selling this drivel and Michele Bachmann has propelled herself to leadership of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress with more of the same. It’s almost as though none of them have read a single thing about the foundation of this country.
DeMint seems to think that the 2012 election is conservatism’s “last chance” to save America. And they cannot save America if they compromise with Democrats, who do “not have your values, does not share your vision, and does not have your goals.”
That’s a rather absurd statement when you think about it. After all, the only way to have a government where there is complete agreement on all issues is to have a totalitarian form of government, whether a dictatorship or a monarchy or a theocracy where all opposing voices are silenced. But isn’t the United States a government of the people, by the people, and for the people? Does Jim DeMint no longer acknowledge this basic fact of American government? It’s not a government of holy writ, but a government of choice.
I think it’s out last chance. I really think it’s now or never. Just looking at the financial situation of our country and just the polarization of views between the two parties. I mean, we have one that is really pushing toward centralization, collectivization, secularism – and we have some good people in that party; some of them are my best friends – but frankly they do not believe in individualism, they do not believe in the type of moral values that we do and we cannot compromise with them. You cannot cooperate with someone who does not have your values, does not share your vision, and does not have your goals.
There are some obvious issues here that need to be discussed. First of all, the last sentence. Really, Jim, this is the only way you can compromise with somebody. You don’t have to compromise with somebody who shares your values and your vision and your goals; you simply agree with them, end of story.The opposite of compromise is extremism, but that’s something you certainly do seem to understand.
Second is the ” financial situation” of our country, a problem Republicans like to lay at the feed of the Democrats but which is largely the responsibility of the Republicans. This is simple fact; it is beyond dispute. Clinton erased the federal deficit, Bush spent money he didn’t have, fought two un-financed wars, and cut taxes. This has been the pattern since the Second World War, with Democrats the fiscal conservatives and Republicans the profligates.
The charge of centralization and collectivization is pure nonsense. Secularism is at the heart of the Constitution. The First Amendment assures us that the government will not take sides. Palin says our government was originally Biblical and DeMint apparently agrees, despite a complete lack of evidence to support this. There is no war on Christianity and no war on any other religion (save against Islam, being waged by DeMint’s fundamentalist Christianity i.e. Christofascism). The only “secular” war is the war to keep Christianity from dominating the United States government in contravention of the Constitution.
Though the early Republican lacked political parties, and the Founding Fathers looked down upon the very idea of such organizations, there was division of opinion enough to go around. From the very first day of the United States there was disagreement as to the proper course of action concerning just about everything. This is, though DeMint seems unaware of it, the means by which a democracy governs itself: the free exchange of ideas, debate of issues, and, ultimately, compromise. Nobody got what they wanted at the Constitutional convention. There was compromise all around. If nobody had compromised, we would have no Constitution today, and likely, no United States of America, but a federation of independent states. Likely, we would have destroyed ourselves by now and be under foreign domination.
It’s difficult to know what exactly the Republicans want. Glimpses of a Republican America, when we can discern them, are bone chillingly frightful, a dreary, dark, Taliban-like place where no one smiles because they have nothing to smile about. Everyone…obeys. Maybe in the Republican ideal of a democracy that’s what people do, but that’s not democracy. Democracies don’t have thought police, or morality police, and they don’t snoop about in peoples’ bedrooms, or tell them what they can watch, what they can say, what they can read, or how they can pray.
Michael Moore is right that the Republicans are acting crazy. We’ve tried to compromise with them. President Obama gave it a try. But they don’t think they have to compromise. If you have been given rulership of the Earth by God, compromising with the forces of Satan just to move things along is impossible. And that seems to be DeMint’s angle here. You won’t find this attitude in the writings of Madison or Jefferson or Adams, or any of their opponents, that only one of them or their allies have a divine right to rule the United States. It was understood that we would have elections and that elections would decide, not God, and that compromise was an essential ingredient in the smooth operation of the government they had established.
Jim DeMint has turned his back on the U.S. Constitution, on the idea of America he claims we liberals “don’t get” and on democracy itself. He has betrayed the ideals of the Founding Fathers and now he would betray America itself. Whatever happens next, no American can say the Republicans have not given us fair warning that they are the enemies of everything the Founding Fathers understood America to stand for. Jim DeMint, had he been alive in 1787, would have ensured there was no Constitution for him to tear into pieces today.