Is today’s disintegration of the Republican Party just an update of The Emperor’s New Clothes?
In the Hans Christian Andersen folktale, weavers dupe a vain monarch into believing they’ve created a fabric so splendid that it will further enhance anyone wearing garments cut and sewn from it.
One caveat: this material is invisible to observers too dumb to appreciate such exquisiteness. They won’t see it. So naturally the king, chorused by his flunkies, regard the empty bolts then ooh and aah like there’s no tomorrow.
The royal, already deathly vain, must have a wardrobe from this material!
The weavers tailor an ensemble for him. Finished, they declare the monarch’s attire ready to be worn in public. Delighted, the royal appears from the clothier. To say the adult public greets him with astonishment is an understatement.
Everywhere the monarch goes he is surely the focus.
However, the ruse bursts when a child unaware yet of how grown-ups deceive themselves and accommodate deception, announces the plainly obvious. The king is naked.
Once the indisputable is revealed, his majesty loses his subjects’ esteem. He rightly becomes an object of their ridicule. Most relevant of this story to today? The king remains oblivious to how big a fool he is.
Here’s where reality and fiction diverge: the Republican Party is in dire need of a clear-sighted child to state the obvious. None has yet piped up. The GOP has veered into an organization which now shares no American virtues.
A gradual process of decline that’s developed across four decades has in the last year accelerated into the GOP’s utter decay. Previously a principled conservative association, today’s Republican Party only lacks brown and black shirts. So far, somehow, its howling for scapegoats has been muted.
But stay tuned. It’s only a matter of time before that vileness vaults to the party’s forefront. And here in diverse America there will be no shortage of targets.
One must be an empty-headed Anglo male or female from less dynamic America to support and ignore this GOP’s deviation away from our nation’s basis. If the mindless adherence to gun mania, the baseless disparagement of any thought that doesn’t hew to smothering right-wing ideology, the insistence of inserting the State into the private spheres of our citizens who “fail” contorting themselves into traditional and conventional roles and expectations, the outright acceptance of figures whose stark falsehoods undermine every claim of rectitude didn’t wake up real Republicans, then the gullible party members who continue believing the 2020 Election results false and their more unhinged cadres’ attempt at insurrection on January 6th at the Capitol ought have well sufficed to pop the most epoxied scales off the tightest squeezed eyes shut.
Of course, during these Covid times there are patients in hospital ICUs who deny that virus is the cause behind their utmost distress. Yes, there are. So why should a less life and death matter as imperiled democracy arouse Republicans to the menace they nurture?
About the sentence concluding the above paragraph, as if the GOP’s heedless lurch into extremism couldn’t be any balder, the last weekend of February’s CPAC convocation in Orlando, Florida, should dispel the final doubts of the most balanced fence-sitter. That Bund rally had the regalia well-known from 20th century precedents. All it lacked was enthralled, glassy-eyed followers swearing allegiance-unto-death oaths to its leader, a fraud they somehow find charismatic.
As the malevolent Austrian who serves as his template, though the final product made palpable to American sensibilities through twists that would’ve even repulsed Barnum, the short-fingered vulgarian deftly recognizes and exploits weaknesses. The United States is a young country. How young? I’ve lived through a quarter of this nation’s existence. In older societies standing atop lengthy pasts, what convulses the Republican Party is apparent.
For better and worse, the American experiment in democracy permits rampage in the perversion of liberty. Elsewhere quite aware of the communal and societal damage unfettered freedom of speech minus fear of consequences may deliver, authorities, civil and social, know they’re obliged to possibly curtail the very same. Change has its advantages, yes. But how do populations benefit if it leads to disorder that begets upheaval and leads into dysfunction?
Few Americans have sufficient enough background to ponder this question. Again, it’s not from lack of intelligence. We’re just immature still. The Old World from which our New World ascends has experienced in various forms and fashions our teething. We would be aghast at their remedies. Now. But in several centuries if the United States still exists in a manner we could identify, perhaps our successors will have learned from our present and resort to methods we’d detest today.
All for order, not control. Black Lives Matter seeks fairness and justice. QAnon is an umbrella for berserkers.
It’s not so much the self-declared leader of the Republican Party stirs latencies. Rather, the swine is quite adept at knowing which seeds will take root fastest deepest in what soil. He’s an opportunist, not an ideologue. If the vile pig could’ve swayed “woke” leftists instead of close-minded right-wingers, comparisons would be made to red standard-bearers rather than black.
That’s how malleable he is. That’s how susceptible to “strong man” politics the right has become; a completely antithetical American notion, by the way. It insults the Founders and every true American after them.
Watching and listening to the yowling at CPAC – if there was ever an apotheosis of American derangement, isn’t the 2021 version of CPAC it? – the rune appropriated, the gold-plated idol intended to displace valid belief, should alert Republicans still believing freedom and practicing true faith. I mean believe, not just mouthing phrases by rote. After all, don’t the two images contradict all they allege?
The first, the rune, was an alternate symbol used by units once hell-bent on exterminating – exterminating, not reeducating – contrarians. Oh, like any Republicans retaining some fealty to the GOP’s historic core values. Kind of tough to square a circle that insists membership depends on mindlessness. Rigid obeyance to toeing the line might in its most extreme mean elimination. At its very least possible expulsion.
“Expulsion” is an apt lead towards the second image, the graven image introduced at CPAC. An incredulous public can regard it as a purloined repurposed Bob’s Big Boy sculpture. I’m astounded its creator wasn’t inspired to direct his homage at Richie Rich instead. The Harvey Comics character, not the New York City 1990s era club kid.
I’m nowhere near religious but even a confirmed sinner like myself saw the statue as blasphemous. Where was the outrage of evangelicals? When have they ever been tongue-tied? Why should those jacklegs start now? Or have American Pharisees cast their lot so irrevocably with America’s Trickster No. 1 they’ve forsaken everything once professed ceaselessly, insistently, loudly, and crassly?
Isn’t there a Bible story about what the Almighty dispenses on such idolators? Okay. Forty years of wandering in the wilderness may be just the cure for the Republican Party.