Normally I try to avoid making judgments based upon broad and sweeping generalities like party affiliation, but this election has produced a surrealism unlike any I have witnessed in my lifetime. Like President Barack Obama, I embraced the last election as an opportunity for the nation to pull together to solve the looming insurmountable problems. Within a month of Obama assuming office, we began hearing from Republicans about how they wanted Obama to fail. Not long after that we began hearing vile and disgusting rhetoric from the right and assaults on the President's character. From there, things went downhill. It quickly became very clear that Republicans would not only fail to help solve the problems they created, they purposefully intended to impede, block, or curtail each and every initiative of this administration.
I began thinking about all of the things that the Bush administration had done to totally disrupt and disable the nation - the lingering wars, the broken economy, closed businesses, lost jobs, foreclosed homes and stolen pensions. The entire nation was transformed during the Bush Presidency - from that of a proud, vibrant, and hopeful society to one that is cynical, suspicious, and angry. We felt violated as a nation. We no longer trusted our government, our banks, our corporations or each other. We had lost faith in our institutions,our systems, and our leaders. But all too soon, this anger was turned upon President Obama and the Democrats. I could hardly believe the anger and hostility that was channeled their way, even though I had my own criticisms about the way Obama was leading. Still, the harsh and spiteful criticism leveled at this administration was unwarranted and misplaced. Although Obama had not been in office for six months, I realized that conservative politics had taken precedence over the needs of the nation, so there was virtually nothing Obama could do to lift us out of this recession. At no time during his administration did George Bush receive the kind of criticism , which Barack Obama had received, on the issues of budget, debt, and spending, even though Bush was worse on all accounts.
As an independent, I was well aware of the standard political differences between parties, but these differences would come to be more pronounced. The talking points from the right began to evolve and morph into something far more insidious and dangerous than anything we had seen in past elections. The language and protests became inflammatory. The Tea Party began talking about dismantling government. The poor and unemployed became targets of the wealthy and privileged. Several groups began advocating cessation, revolution, or second amendment remedies. Muslims, Gays, and Illegal Immigrants became the whipping posts of the right. It had gotten ugly and I had had enough. The way the Republican had behaved and the way it was being led was totally unacceptable. Based upon their actions, I failed to see how any reasonable or responsible person could still support this party. They had crossed the line and I wrote them off as a viable political option. This is why.
1. Republicans support and encourage war.
2. Republicans want to go to war with Iran.
3. Iraq and Afghanistan wars failed to achieve desired results.
4. Republicans supported the use of torture and rendition.
5. Republicans supported spying on Americans.
6. Republicans oppose cuts in the military budget.
7. Republican economic policies created the Great Recession
8. Republican economic policies caused record business failures, bankruptcies, home foreclosures, and unemployment.
9. When Republicans control both Houses of Congress for a sustained period, they pushed the country into a depression and major recession.
10. Republicans failed to regulate the banks and Wall Street.
11. Republicans bailed out the banks with $700 billion in TARP funds.
12. Republicans cater to people like Rupert Murdoch, The Koch Brothers, Ken Lay, and Bernie Madoff.
13. Republicans failed to balance the budget for eight consecutive years.
14. Republicans created record deficits and ballooned the national debt, despite claiming to be fiscal conservatives.
15. Tax cuts for the rich is a Republican priority, even though it increases the national debt.
16. Republicans favor a reduction of corporate taxes, even though as many as 25% of the largest corporations paid no income tax.
17. Republicans want to eliminate inheritance taxes and capital gains taxes, even though wealth has shifted disproportionately to the top 5% of income earners.
18. Republican lack of regulation and oversight created more concentrated wealth and greater corporate control.
19. Republican support of Wall Street hurt small businesses and produced monopolistic business conglomerates.
20. Republicans support off shore bank accounts, paper corporations, and creative accounting schemes which allow corporations and wealthy individuals to hide or shift income and assets.
21. Republicans support the relocation of American manufacturing for corporations which take advantage of foreign labor.
22. Republicans support outsourcing.
23. Republicans oppose labor unions and worker's rights.
24. Republicans oppose minimum wage increases.
25. Republicans favor the privatization of traditional government services like the post office, prisons, military support, and Social Security.
26. Republicans oppose social insurance programs like unemployment, welfare, Social Security, and public health insurance.
27 Republicans oppose human rights initiatives like universal health care, immigration reform, DADT, gay marriage, decriminalization, and prison reform.
28. Republicans oppose social reforms.
29. Republicans oppose environmental protections.
30. Republicans support deregulation of mining and extraction of fossil fuel industries even though: (a) BP just contaminated the Gulf of Mexico, (b) fracking for natural gas in many states has contaminated drinking water, (c) coal tar is polluting land and water resources near areas where it is mined.
31. Republicans are not keeping us safe because they oppose regulations and oversight of companies, which pollute the environment, which produce food and drugs, and who manufacture hazardous goods and products.
32. Republicans have practiced obstructionism and have failed to solve the nation's problems.
33. Republicans opposed health care reform, the extension of unemployment benefits, the jobs bill, and Paygo.
34. Republicans support the Citizen's United Decision, allowing corporations to make unlimited anonymous contributions to influence elections.
35. Republicans don't support the working man's interests; they support corporations and wealthy individuals.
36. Republicans have people like Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, Michele Bachmann, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell representing them.
Obviously, every Republican does not think the same, even though they move in lockstep much of the time. However, the language and behavior coming from GOP leaders has been so toxic and incendiary that it cannot be condoned.