Friday, December 28, 2007

The Overreactive World of a Republican

It’s nice to be a Leftist.

I just typed that with an inner superiority gained through serenity. My serenity is rooted in the fact that I calmly state my case in waves of rationality. When a situation presents itself, I can come to a decision free of knee-jerk reactions and invective. I’ll be the first to admit that from time to time, I pepper my language with four-letter colloquialisms common to the world of the Internet and the billiard hall, but I grew up in Philadelphia, and that kind of language is almost expected in that particular environment.

From what I’ve read in the history books, the same can’t be said of Republicans. In fact, a cursory review of Republican behavior over the past 60 years reveals a rather obvious tendency towards overreaction.

The McCarthy Era can be logically viewed as a grandstanding overreaction to the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss. From the path of this event lay the senseless destruction of lives that up until that time had been dedicated to making America a better place in the Post-Depression Era. While this televised witch-hunt was playing out, the people who actually were responsible for the transfer of atomic secrets to the Soviets went undetected. McCarthy himself became a victim of his own devices, ending his life and career twisting in the winds of shame and alcoholism. In 1954, as a parting shot to the era, an overreacting Republican forced the words "Under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance to show how much better we were than the Communists in the East Bloc. The Soviets yawned and continued unabated for 35 more years. Communists in China now prop up our crumbling economy as modern day Russia drifts back to the Soviet mindset. Which God was that anyway?

We learned some years after the actual events of May 4, 1970 that Nixon had his hand in the overreaction that was the shootings at Kent State University. The rational approach would have been to track down those who had burned down the ROTC center on the campus and deal with it appropriately via legal means. Instead, in the heat of the times, and in that special way that Nixon liked to overreact, four students were shot and killed and many more wounded.

The entire fiasco that was Watergate was something of a Rosetta Stone for all Republican overreactions to follow. Remember that the original break-in at the Watergate Hotel was meant to gain information to assure Nixon’s reelection in 1972. 22 months after that landslide reelection, Nixon caved in on himself and resigned in disgrace. The subsequent overreaction of Ford pardoning Nixon for crimes for which he had yet to be charged ended up costing Gerald Ford the 1976 election.

No cataloguing of Republican overreactions would be complete without talk of the present day. We as a country now find ourselves firmly ensconced in the mother of all Republican overreactions, that being the "War on Terror" in general and the Iraq War in particular. As the Bush Administration begins their 7th year of killing and torturing people worldwide who had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks on New York and Washington, we must finally acknowledge that to be a Republican is to soil one’s pants on a daily basis to the lightest of stimuli. Since the tragic events of that day, Republicans have now placed all of the citizens of the United States under illegal surveillance via the Patriot Act. They have given billions of dollars to a dictator in Pakistan with no results, save for a junta now being on the brink of collapse thanks to the murder of Benazir Bhutto. They have browbeaten the United States into invading a sovereign country that had no connection to 9/11, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens in the process.

Logical perspective tells us that a bunch of Islamic rednecks got lucky one day a few Septembers back. The logical reaction would have been to eradicate Osama bin Laden and his followers from the face of the Earth by having them eat the pointy end of the nearest missile. Instead we started a "War on Drugs" for terrorists, a bottomless pit of wasted resources and pending economic collapse that accomplishes very little. As an afterthought, Bush as Commander-in-Chief let bin Laden get away.

Fast forward to the latest Republican overreaction, that being the sudden ascendancy of Mike Huckabee to the seat of Republican frontrunner for the 2008 Presidential nomination. The bill for over forty years of the Republican Party kowtowing to Christianist bigots has come due in the form of the formerly fat man from Arkansas (the one named Huckabee). The Republicans finally have the zombie they have appeared to crave for four decades. Huckabee sports a history of a personal agenda that is anti-science, anti-woman, anti-minority and highly partisan while simultaneously spouting nonsense from the Old Testament. He should be a 25-percenter’s wet dream. Instead, if current right-wing Republican opinion is to be believed, he’s the harbinger of the Apocalypse.

While past Republican overreactions have had a tendency to indiscriminately swallow everything around it in a vortex of stupidity, the reaction to Huckabee is rather compartmentalized. As a rational human being, it’s no skin off of my nose if the Republicans tear each other apart overreacting to this perfect beast of their own creation. We all laugh when monkeys throw their own feces at each other. It’s funnier to me to watch people who don’t believe in evolution overreact and do the exact same thing. The primary difference in this case is that the rational world is walled off from this particular overreaction. Unlike past knee-jerk Republican hysteria, this one is fun to watch from a distance.

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