Today’s Republicans are stuck in time.
Republicans in the year 2014 yearn for a past that fits their idyllic view of what life should be like. They clamor for a time and place that they believe best represents their view of an ideal society. For many Republicans today, it can be argued that their utopian society occurred during the 1950s, a time where America prospered both domestically as well as internationally and was seen as the envy of the world. It was this time and place that many Republicans reference when they describe how far America has come since its “glory age” of the 1950s.
However, upon closer examination, the rosy retrospection that Republicans give this era does not hold up under scrutiny. For example, the 1950s was a time period of extreme civil unrest and a period consisting of rampant discrimination of minorities, especially in the south. Sure, American universities were the envy of the world, but it also helped that during that time period, the top marginal tax rate was 90% on the wealthiest Americans. And, despite being the preeminent world power, the United States was not involved in any prolonged internationally conflict, thus leaving our military industrial complex starving as we as a nation were temporarily unable to quench our hunger for some kind of international conflict.
It is with this realization in mind that today’s Republican Party has been forced to find an alternate time period that best exemplifies their views. For them, it has to be a time period that is both well-chronicled as well as historically significant. It has to be a time period viewed favorably by a large percentage of Americans and it has to be one where most Americans have an appreciation of the people and what they were going through at that time. Lastly, it has to be a time period where the actions of the people could be understood as necessarily for a way to continue to live their life the way they most saw fit.
For today’s Republicans the answer is simple: They yearn for life in modern-day America to be exactly like it was 2,000 years ago in the Middle East.
Time and time again, Republicans publicly express views in which the vast majority of Americans do not agree. Whether it’s Mike Huckabee claiming women are sex-crazed nymphomaniacs or Republicans ignoring scientific evidence of global warming, it seems that today’s GOP refuses to acknowledge the rapidly changing demographics of 21st century America. Time and time again they seem to be on the wrong side of every major issue facing this country: Gay marriage, legalized marijuana, immigration reform, a raised minimum wage, the rights of unions, environmental regulations, and the list goes on and on. Why is it that a modern-day political party in a two-system state would literally be on the wrong side of every major important political issue of the day and would, in turn, be unwilling to compromise its views even if it meant certain electoral defeat in national elections?
The answer lies in the ultimate aspirations of the GOP: To have a 21st century American theocracy.
The signs have always been there, albeit in small patches. States like Texas beginning to teach creationism in schools. The GOP’s self-delusionsal annual War On Christmas during the holiday season. A state keeping a brain-dead woman alive so that her child may be born because that state values the sanctity of life of the unborn child. It is cases that these that show the modern GOP is slowly trying to create a modern nation-state that adheres to the values and principals of the Middle East just over 2,000 years ago.
As absurd as it sounds, one can’t help but notice the similarities. During the time of Christ, there was an extreme discrepancy between the wealthy and the poor. Those in the lower classes did not have the same rights as those wealthy property owners. Women were expected to be subservient to their husbands. War and conflict were common and those that were successful in war often reached the highest rung of society. Homosexuality was not common and was seen as deviant behavior. Religion was at the center of daily life and it offered the only way to atone for a person’s sins.
Today’s Republican Party consists of an unholy alliance between the business wing of the party and the religious right. What better way to meld the two seemingly unrelated groups than through a religious lens? What today’s GOP has done has been to essentially use the views of the religious right to convince Americans that the current path we’re on is not a desirable one. Today’s GOP believes that the time of Jesus Christ was one that should be emulated today. Never mind the fact that the Middle East of 2,000 years ago was a time of extreme strife and violence. No, what matters to today’s Republicans is that they can easily manipulate their base’s perceptions of a time period that happened so long ago. By convincing their religious core that the United States is moving further and further away from what it was like in Jesus’ time, the GOP is attempting to convince Americans today that the country is heading down a path that will ultimately lead to death and destruction unless the country comes around and stands up to this terrible onslaught.
Unfortunately for the GOP, Americans today realize that no matter how much they want it to be, America is not a Christian theocracy.