It has always been a curiosity that most Americans understand far less about America’s government, its society, and its flaws than most citizens of foreign nations. It is not that foreigners have better access to news coming out of America, they just pay attention to what is happening to a country they at one time thought of as exceptional and at least rational despite its history of war for entertainment and corporate profits. It is no secret that the world’s opinion of America changed drastically after the nation started invading and occupying Muslim countries, but the world’s opinion began shifting with the election of Barack Obama.
Obviously President Obama has elevated America’s status and reputation around the world as he attempted, and still continues, to clean up eight years of Bush Administration abominations that drove international disdain for America. But after the past two midterm elections, and the extremist field of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, people around the world are increasingly convinced that the greatest threat to America is the Republican Party. It is important to note at the start that although the rest of the world specifically cites Republican politicians by name, they certainly comprehend that those Republicans threatening America are as much the religious and racist base as the politicians serving their interests. This little fact eludes many, many Americans who focus on a personality and not who puts them in the spotlight and position of power and influence; the voters.
An opinion piece in a New Zealand newspaper a few months ago gave particular attention to the extremism being displayed by the GOP presidential candidates and actually cited the support they have from voters. The authors wrote that Republicans “are now essentially a party of religious fundamentalism” in citing Ted Cruz’s typically Republican mindset that America’s darkest day was not 9/11, Pearl Harbor, presidential assassinations, or the Civil War. No, according to Cruz and no small number of Republican voters “America’s darkest day was when the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage.”
A citizen of Uganda and regular commuter to the United States recently noted that,
“The U.S. Constitution says the government’s responsibility is to provide welfare, security and safety to its population allowing every person the opportunity to live in a dignified manner; Republicans believe otherwise and have created a system that has become a rich man’s plaything.”
A resident of an EU nation remarked that,
“I am completely flabbergasted by what has become of America. In the Republican Party stupidity is admired and encouraged, intelligence and education are viewed as ‘elitist’, money is their God and fear is their motivator. If more people outside the US continue to speak very loudly about this situation, it might help them turn things around. The hate and fear that Fox (NOT news) promotes helped the Republican Party create and fuel the atmosphere threatening America.
“The takeover of American conservatism by evangelical Christians, Fox News and a handful of shady billionaires transformed Republicans into the party of willful ignorance where doctrinal purity is more valued than intelligence, tolerance has been supplanted by persecutory moralizing, and paranoia has replaced realism.”
After living through the Bush years, and well over a decade of wars against Muslims, people around the world are astonished, and rightly alarmed, that Republicans and their bloodthirsty base are openly “signaling a frightening abandonment of diplomacy as a means of defusing tension, avoiding conflict and managing international affairs. Instead they remain disposed towards armed intervention despite it has accelerated, not suppressed, Islamic militancy. Something which shouldn’t come as a surprise since persisting with policies that achieve the exact opposite of what was intended is something of an American speciality.”
Citizens of communist China “compared the United States to lawless Somalia” and in Britain a leading newspaper cited the “racism the Republicans promote” as fueling the level and frequency of gun violence. Claire Taylor of Gun Free South Africa said, “The USA is completely out of step with the rest of the world” in promoting the proliferation of guns in an angry, racist, and religiously extreme population. Closer to home, a Mexico City newspaper wrote that “the U.S. has become a structurally violent state where force is frequently used domestically and internationally to resolve differences. Such a phenomenon reflects the feeling of extensive sectors about the supposed legitimacy of violent methods.”
Americans on the left tend to reserve all their outrage and criticism for whichever extremist Republican made the latest outrageous, racist, or offensive statement during an interview or stump speech. However, just the fact that Republican voters are comfortable with “monumentally unqualified extremists in the Oval Office” demonstrates the how twisted the party has become; that and that alone is the real existential threat to the nation. It is simple to single out any one, or all, of the GOP presidential candidates as who is most unqualified, most extreme, or most offensive, but that misses the point that it is the base that is inherently extreme, offensive, and unqualified to be regarded as anything other than a serious threat to other Americans and the nation’s well-being.
Any and everything a Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Carson, Fiorina, Huckabee, or Bush might say or support is precisely what the base demands they say and support. There are some Americans who understand that the Republican Party and its base are an existential threat to America and they are joined by a substantial number of people from around the world. An Australian opinion writer made an assumption a couple of weeks ago that was only partly correct in saying that “Donald Trump personifies everything the rest of the world despises about America; racism, crass materialism, relentless self-aggrandizement, vulgarity on an epic scale. He is the Ugly American.” Actually, the Republican base is the Ugly American and the Republican presidential candidates and politicians are simply acting, doing, and saying exactly what the base demands and they are, without question, the greatest threat to America.