Some people believe learning more about someone or something will lead to greater understanding and affection, but often, humans like other people less the more familiar they become with them unless they are close family members, and even then it is not always a guarantee there is genuine fondness between two individuals. One of the goals of the Republican convention in Tampa this week is to allow more Americans to “get acquainted” with Willard Romney and the Republican Party, but after the first day of the convention, it is safe to invoke the old idiom that “familiarity breeds contempt,” and the GOP gave the American people sufficient reasons to hold them in contempt. Obviously, they appeal to a certain segment of the population, but between their draconian platform, lies about President Obama, and apparent racism, most decent human beings find them angry, mean-spirited, and contrary to everything that made this country great.
It is difficult to find the exact words to accurately portray Republicans and their supporters, but one thing in particular stands out; they hate this country, gays, minorities and especially women. The Republican platform gives Libertarians reason to celebrate and it is not surprising since they have embraced the notion of privatizing the government for ages. The highlights of the “libertarian plank” are returning to the gold standard, privatizing Medicare and slashing Medicaid, and “protecting access to ammunition.” Despite the rash of mass shootings recently, Republicans said, “We oppose legislation intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the ill-considered Clinton gun ban” enacted in 1994 that included a ban on “large capacity ammunition feeding devices.” The ban expired in 2004.
The GOP platform’s assault on women is particularly contemptible, and to say Republicans are anti-choice is an understatement, and not just for the personhood amendment Americans have rejected time and time again. The language Republicans used to allegedly “affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life” includes a canard to cover their bible-based prohibitions on abortion. According to Republicans, “numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it,” even in the case of rape, incest, or the health of the mother according to the personhood amendment aspect of the plank. The Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security reforms Republicans are promoting will affect women who make up 70% of Medicaid beneficiaries that if enacted will drop 14-27 million people from its rolls by 2021, and raising the retirement age for Social Security will mean 20-million more elderly Americans will be in poverty and remove the only source of income for one-third of women over 65.
The past three years have been brutal for public sector workers with over 780,000 jobs lost in Republican-controlled states that has adversely affect the economy, but Republicans are calling for reducing more public sector jobs and “adjusting pay scales and benefits to reflect those of the private sector.” It is important to remember that Willard Romney considers $19,000 annual salary a good, solid middle-class income and many Republicans have pushed the idea of eliminating the minimum wage because it is not in the Constitution. Republicans want more Americans living in poverty and they are on pace to achieve their goal in they win big in November.
In a deliberate slap at homosexuals and single parent households, Republicans included a section that is stunning in its authoritarian imposition of religious fundamentalism. It says, “We believe that marriage, the union of one and one woman is a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage.” The document’s language appears, on first glance, to support single-parent families with “We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone, but children in intact married families are physically and emotionally healthier” so traditional families “must be upheld as the national standard.” The wording is straight out of the conservative Christian agenda and signals the beginning of American theocracy.
Despite the despicable turn-of-the-19th century platform, the conduct of the Republican delegates revealed the true sentiments of those who aspire to control the direction of this country. When Permanent Organization Chairwoman Zori Fonalledas began to speak, the attendees shouted “USA, USA” over her to express their outrage and there are conflicting reports if their hate was at a Puerto Rican, or new rules disallowing Ron Paul supporters. Whatever the commotion was about, their hate and anger superseded respect for a fellow Republican and it took RNC national chairman Reince Preibus to quiet the audience and beg them to show respect. As pathetic as shouting down a high-ranking Republican with an accent was, it paled in comparison to multiple confirmed reports of Republicans throwing nuts at an African American camerawoman working for CNN while saying “this is how we feed animals!” However, no-one should be surprised after Republican candidates for president have spent the past six months using racism as a campaign message to attract white voters and none are as guilty as Willard Romney.
If Republicans were attempting to make an impression on voters, they certainly revealed themselves as mean-spirited with no love for the American people or this country. One after another speaker took to the stage and spouted lie after lie about President Obama’s handling of the economy and purported that they have the answer to save America. Chris Christie gave a self-aggrandizing keynote speech that espoused the virtue of speaking honestly to the American people about the “tough choices” necessary to return America to its former glory despite that Republicans destroyed the economy and ran up the nation’s deficit, all the while chanting that “deficits don’t matter,” unless a Democrat is in the White House.
It is a sad commentary that half of the country supports the agenda and mindset of Republicans who have put in writing their intention to punish women, gays, seniors, the poor, and middle class on their way to transforming the country into a theocratic oligarchy. One of the Republicans bragged that their platform was the most conservative in modern history, and at 66 pages, it transcends draconian in its treatment of the people they expect to govern. One has to applaud any American with the stomach to watch convention coverage in its entirety, but for this author, it is too representative of the hate, xenophobia, and intolerance sweeping America since 2008 when Americans elected an African American as President. However, the level of deep-seated hate and anger seething in Republican, Christian conservative, and libertarian ranks did not begin with President Obama’s election and it will not end when his tenure is over because hate, bigotry, religious fervor, and heartlessness transcends politics and sadly, it is infused in a major portion of the population and is responsible for preventing America from ever being exceptional again, and it is so sad because we could be so much better.