“The Republican Party, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln, has done NOT ONE good thing for America in its entire existence.”
I heard that statement, made by a history professor at the University of Central Oklahoma back in 1982, when I was 18 years old. It has stuck with me all these years.
On the surface, it seemed like typical academia liberal rhetoric. But like a good wine, it has gained a subtle complexity as I have aged with it. The day that professor uttered his words, he was looking for a fight.
He had cast out an absolute statement easily refuted and notably inaccurate. But on that day, our class did nothing but sit there in silence, trying to soak up knowledge like a sponge. The professor had just engaged us … we were supposed to be interactive; we were supposed to at least ask the question. Why do you say that? Or why should we believe you?
The room was eerily silent for what seemed like an eternity. Nobody spoke up to contradict or fight back. I wanted to … but I was a liberal. Okay, at 18 I didn’t know that fully yet, but granddad was a retired economics professor. Growing up around his political views and hearing his old lecture notes a million times, I was bound to become a liberal.
It wasn’t me the professor was calling out to spar with him in the battle of political intellectualism. This was Edmond, Oklahoma circa 1982; it’s a good bet that 75-80% of the classroom was Republican and Reagan fans. THEY were being called out.
I have found that many folks who profess to have Republican leanings and political savvy are silent, unless of course they are busy calling liberals “socialists” or whatever name-du-jour is promoted at Fox News.
Growing up with an academian as a mentor taught me that political extremism is dangerous. America – at its best – is the compromise between liberal and conservative ideas. Most people are liberal on some issues and conservative on others. Moderation was the sign of a thinking man, who didn’t just buy the party line hook, line and sinker.
I’m afraid for my generation in the growing absence of moderates, especially on the right.
The demagogues at Fox News are no better at dispensing accurate political “news” than their liberally-biased mainstream media counterparts of the 60’s and 70’s. In the aftermath of the destruction of the Fairness Doctrine, all we have now is “news personality” and “opinion,” to which each side has their favorite icons.
We are being led by whatever voice agrees with our own views. Yet those voices are becoming more and more intolerant of other viewpoints. We are losing the critical thinking skills needed to ask the right questions. And we rely on those same “news personalities” to ask the questions for us and worse, format our thinking for us.
Too often I see Republicans refusing to learn to be problem solvers. Instead I see fearful and ignorant malcontents wreaking more havoc. They wave their signs, yet can’t even spell. How do you debate these people? I can’t. They don’t have the rudimentary education they need to understand the debate enough to add something of value.
We have always had a dual-reality in America based on whether you saw the world through a liberal perspective or a conservative one, and at times these two sides have been known to hurl some mud at each other.
But the recent dialogue is at fever pitch, with traitorous vitriol that is nowhere near the level needed for a healthy debate. The debate needs to focus on issues. That means we need to eliminate all the racist idiot rhetoric and fear mongering. We need to step back and let conservative “think-tank” folks with ideas – and not rhetoric – face-off on the issues, like the Obama healthcare plan.
Where are those voices?
I’ve heard some of these conservative think-tankers on NPR, so I know they exist. Unfortunately, Fox News caters to a different level of Republicanism. And more and more that’s the only kind of Republicans I see.
I’m beginning to think maybe my professor was right after all, when it comes to a healthy debate of ideas Republicans are no-shows. What have they done, that is good for my country lately? Absolutely nothing!
About the author: Archer is a Tulsa Blue-Neck with a day job in the healthcare industry, doesn’t need help tying his shoes or own a copy of Karl Marx’s Manifesto. He likes to eat real food, drink adult beverages and argue with real people, and at the end of the day enjoy his part of being in a happy, healthy and diverse community. Full belly laughs on demand.