Most credible philosophies posit a struggle between Good and Evil, and urge Mankind to choose the Good side. But as I observe the reshaping of the Republican Party following its shellacking in two successive American elections, I am shocked to find that the party’s leaders are lining up – issue after issue – on the side that I consider Evil.
I’m sure you are aware of such examples as their vehement defense of torture, their incitement to sedition and racism, their opposition to helping the poor and sick, their resistance to President Obama’s attempts to avoid war through international diplomacy, and, in general, their appeal to the seething blood lust and tribalism that simmer below the surface in society.
But you might not have identified a more subtle, and equally destructive trend: contempt for programs that protect the health and safety of the public.
The looming threat of a swine flu pandemic illustrates this point. You will remember that when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Republican administration dragged its feet responding to the emergency, and awarded relief contracts to cronies who collected the cash but never delivered the services. Now, Republicans in the Senate are deliberately delaying the confirmation of Kathleen Sebelius as Health Secretary. And you will remember that it was Republican opposition in the Senate that killed pandemic funding in the Stimulus Package.
Why did the Republican leaders deliberately block the Obama Administration’s efforts to address a pandemic threat? For the same reason that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal mocked the Stimulus Package for including funding for “something called volcano monitoring” and other natural disaster prevention programs. Republican leaders think this approach appeals to the lowest common denominator in society, the level at which anything remotely intellectual or abstract becomes a legitimate target of ridicule.
The Republican Party is becoming the sanctuary of the stupid, as its leaders pander to ignoramuses who fear science, suspect intellect and reject logic in favor of prejudice and superstition. I don’t for a minute believe the party’s leaders share these moronic views, but if it means more votes they’ll profess to believe anything. How evil is that? And how dangerous?
UPDATE: Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania has just abandoned the “new” Republican Party, clearly – in my view – choosing Good over Evil. It won’t be long before other Republican leaders of conscience recoil in horror from the direction the party is taking.