A big difference between the Republicans and the Democrats is that Republicans have to lie about what they’re about and Democrats don’t.
I’m not talking about the usual sort of lies individual politicians tell to get themselves elected---making promises they know they won’t be able to keep, pretending to be concerned about issues they know don’t matter, exaggerating their achievements, minimizing their mistakes, fudging their records, fudging their opponents’ records, faking feelings they don’t have---I’m talking about what their respective parties stand for and intend to do for the country. In the case of Republicans that’s really “intend to do to the country” which is the basis for the lie.
It works like this.
The main accusations Republicans make against Democrats and liberals are that we want to redistribute the wealth and tell people how they should live their lives. And both are true. We admit it. We boast of it. And we’ll gladly tell you how we plan to do it---redistribute the wealth and tell people how to live their lives---and why we’re going to do it and why you should vote to let us do it. We can show how doing both will increase opportunity and prosperity for all. There are questions about the degree to which we should do any of it, unintended consequences, and whether or not we have the resources or competency to pull it off, but on the whole the Democratic mission is to continue forming a more perfect union of the nation---no states’ rights fragmentizing of interests for us---establish justice---not merely enforce law and order---insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense---as opposed to defending the property and financial interests of the rich and the corporations they run---promote the general welfare---directly, not by hoping those whose welfare is already established will deign to share---and secure the blessings of liberty to our children and our posterity---with our meaning all of ours, not just me and mine. We have no problem saying any of this.
But our main accusation against them is also true. They are the party of the rich and the rich want all the money. They think they own the rights to everything and the rest of us get and deserve nothing but what they think will help make them more money. That’s what the rest of us are here for, to work to make them richer. And that’s it. That’s all the Republicans stand for and all they want to do, help the rich make more money. The rich get richer while everybody else works themselves to exhaustion and death, keeps their heads down, does what they’re told, does without, goes broke, gets sick, grows old, and, when their no longer of use, dies as quickly and anonymously as possible.
Of course Republicans don’t dare admit this, let alone boast about it. They know how it would sound, like what it is. Selfish, greedy, unfair, un-American in that it places the interests of a few families and the corporations they own over the interests of the nation as a whole, un-Christian---as if Jesus advocated storing up treasures on earth and doing unto others whatever you damn well please to make yourself money and said nothing about what how whatever we do to the least of other brothers and sisters we do to him---and anti-capitalistic, which of course it is, because it’s a return to feudalism.
They know that if they admit and boast about it a lot of decent middle class and rich people who think of themselves as conservative and Republican will be repelled. Their consciences will wake up. Their senses of justice and fairness will take over. The real Christians among them will remember what it means to be Christian. They might even realize that they are, if not Democrats, democrats.
There’s also the possibility that the members of the rank and file who have no problem with the ideas that’s it’s all us versus them and we’re here to get rich and everybody else can go suff because they think their interests are aligned with the rich, and have even deluded themselves that if they aren’t rich they soon will be, might have it dawn on them be that they belong to the THEM and count as everybody else and not only aren’t they rich the Republican plan is that they, because they belong with everybody else, never will get rich because that would take money out of the wallets of the already rich.
So they try mightily not sound like they’re saying what they’re saying. They talk around it, they euphuize, they torture the language, they speak in code, they use words as if they mean their opposites. They rewrite history. They invent history. They fudge the math. They don’t bother with the math at all when they think they can get away with it, which thanks to the innumeracy and short attention spans of the political press corps, is almost always. They argue from personal anecdote---Joni Ernst’s “When I was a little girl,” every Obamacare hater’s “I’ve talked to a lot of doctors,”---instead of from facts. They ignore facts, make up facts, deny facts are facts.
They hire the likes of Paul Ryan to go about looking and sounding reasonable while selling plans that amount to “We’re going to take all the money but don’t worry, a miracle will happen and you won’t lose anything yourselves or if you do you’ll gain more by losing!”
But mainly they do their best to keep the rubes distracted and the suckers focused on hitting the jackpot. They rile up passions, stir up trouble, encourage resentments, anger, fear. They invoke their vindictive God, wrap themselves in the flag, and wave the bloody shirt. They promise unlimited wealth. They promote greed. They identify Others, Thems to be despised and put down and put back in their place, infuriating the faithful and misdirecting their rage at those Others, at Them, making them to mad to think about just who gets included among Us.
They flat out lie. About what they just said. About what they mean. About what they intend. About what they’re doing. About what Democrats say, mean, intend, and do.
Except the parts about our wanting to redistribute the wealth and tell people how to live their lives. Like I said, it’s true and we’re proud of it.
This doesn’t mean all Democrats are moral paragons, speakers of truth and standers-up for principle. And too often the Democrats in general don’t pursue their goals with the courage, boldness, determination, and honesty that they should.
But it does mean that all Republicans are liars.
Every single one of them.
The best that can be said of some is that they lie to themselves. But they’re still lying.
All the time.
If you’re inclined to object to my accepting the Republican characterization of us liberals as wanting to tell people how to run their lives, try this. Make a list of all the things you think would make the country a better place to live and work but put every item in the form of a commandment, that is, as a Do This or Don’t Do That statement. It’s easy, isn’t it?_________________________________
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