For a someone who would like to entertain the idea that I understand political issues enough to blog about them, understanding the other side is beyond essential. Sadly in attempting to comprehend their actions and ethos, I concluded that they are in fact not a reasonable group of people who happen to hold different political views than mine. Instead this exercise in understanding just reinforced what I had always feared about modern “conservatism”. The Republican Party is little more than the fraternity full of hostile children that you avoided at all costs in college. Their increasingly vicious policy platforms and campaign strategies derive from and represent the worst elements of the American Greek System , and they and the entire country has suffered as a result of their embrace of masculine fascism.
The effect of post 1960’s college experience is at least mostly responsible for this dominate dynamic inside of the party. Ever since Animal House became part of the cannon of silly comedies for adolescent males, we have celebrated juvenile sociopathy as a legitimate part of life for those privileged enough to go to college (and are white males). This celebration of those who are willing to inflict massive amounts of pain while ignoring the rights of other people also coincided with reactionary conservatism. The leaders of the GOP seized this opportunity to recruit the new generation of elite conservative activists, and have never regretted the decision since.
One could see the evolution starting with Barry Goldwater’s appeal to the disaffected young white men of the country in 1964. This was followed by Nixon’s recruitment of legitimate asshole like Roger Stone or G.Gordon Liddy who headed his famed “plumbers”, who adopted campus pranks into the sort of political malfeasance that would ensure Republican control of Washington. However it was Reagan’s embrace of the new generation of demogmuogic rouges like Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, and Ralph Reed that truly solidified the “fraternization” of the GOP . Once these men were provided with the resources and access of a truly weak-minded President like Reagan, they were free to do whatever they desired under the facade of a legitimate political institution. Whereas the Democrats consciously knee-capped liberal movements like the Yippies or SDS, the GOP was more than willing to entrust their political futures to the rampaging psychopaths who once headed the College Republican clubs across the country.
Once these energetic (yet intrinsically evil) dudes started to assume titles like “chief campaign strategist” or “senior policy advisor” the ideology of the most privileged group of juvenile delinquents that have ever existed in this country started to become the official platform of the Republican party. The decisions for the party of the patricians and aristocracy were now being dictated by the political equivalent of the soulless pledgemaster and the date-rapist chapter president. To make things even worse, the elite members of the media refused to chastise these men for their willingness to abuse the democratic process and instead praised their “tough” politicking and “disciplined” campaigning. We were being lead by a group of people who openly mocked the idea of a social contract, and the media was so blinded by their charisma that their deeds were reported as “hijinks” instead of “political terrorism”.
The parallels between the endemic sadism and horrendous classism within the “Greek” system and the current Republican platform are pretty striking. An individual who would think that a “team building” exercise should take the form of forced binge drinking or would subject their fellow “brothers” to a hell week of sleeping in a confined space would probably think nothing of water boarding a suspected terrorist or forcing them into a “stress position”. A person whose parents not only paid for their admission into the most exclusive institutions of higher education in the country, but who also ponied-up for their child’s private drinking club cum-fraternity cannot be expected to understand the complexities involved in being a member of the working poor. An individual who is trained to think of women on a scale of disposable hook-ups on one end and trophy wives on the other will never see women as anything more than “sluts” seeking a payout.
The current vitriol against powerful liberals also makes sense when viewing the GOP as a Frat instead of a political party. The ascendency of someone as accomplished as Barack Obama, as effortlessly charming as Bill Clinton, or as demonstrably tough as Sandra Fluke drives members of the Republican fraternity insane. Democracy is after all, simply a popularity consequence with tangible consequences. For a group of people that see utilizing resentment as a the single greatest tool for maintaining power, and are defined by their cynicism, someone who becomes popular by professing a more accepting and inclusive message (while personifying a more hopeful existence) must be destroyed. Now that the Republican Frat has wielded the reigns of power for a generation, they have no intent of ceding that level of influence to those who are not intrinsically “worthy” or did not “earn” this privilege in a manner that is less horrendous than their path. The rhetoric and tactics that are used to continually defame liberalism are not unique to politics, rather they are endemic within a certain class of people who are used to receiving a particular level of respect from the “lesser” people within the institutions that they expect to control.
The narrative of the modern Republican party usually ignores the important role that its young professional instigators played in promoting the now dominant political philosophies regarding social spending, international policy, and civil rights. Those individuals who are more or less responsible for the current party trajectory usually prefer to remain hidden from the wider public (with some notable exceptions), but their work must be recognized if we have any hope of undoing the damage that they have caused. Deconstructing the “great man” myth behind Nixon, Reagan, and Bush will aid liberals in realizing that the current Republican “elites” are little more than juvenile pranksters with entitlement complexes. We are not dealing with a political party, we are dealing with spoiled rich kids working to keep their daddy’s friends in power.