Saturday, April 08, 2006


The cultivation of meanness has become the Republican Party's specialty. Time honored human rights organizations are loosely referred to as "enemies of America", by the President, at the moment when they criticize our treatment of captives taken in Iraq and Afghanistan. Republican politicians and tacticians are also working to demonize Mexicans who have no legal status in this country, but who nonetheless have been working here, paying taxes and contributing to local economies for years now. The coordination of mean-spirited messages, the incitement to despise immigrants, the proposed exclusion of some from our circle of humanity, lets Americans know just what it means to be a good Republican, by embracing the brutality. And bigotry is the glue which holds the new political coalition together.

Bigotry is key to Republican power. Republicans propose to deport Mexicans in their millions, which will necessitate the construction of temporary holding facilities, or concentration camps. House Republicans have passed legislation which makes illegal immigration a felony, and which would make it a felony for Americans to help immigrants who may not have legal status. Republicans snarl at the idea of amnesty for illegals whose American-born children are in high school now. Republicans believe that we shouldn't care that Mexicans stoop to pick our fruits and vegetables, clean our lavatories, wait our tables, build our houses, bathe our elderly and keep watch of our children. Republicans could care less. They are as callous with respect to tearing Mexican families apart, as Nineteenth Century American slaveholders were, separating families on the auction block.

And let's not overlook the fact that the Republican power elite has given the green light to the Capitol Police to harass a black Congresswoman, in the Capitol Building. This could not happen and would not happen, if the slavish Republican House wasn't emboldened to make an example of her "uppityness", especially after she made a point of citing President Bush's security lapses as being in part responsible for the 9/11 attack. The Republicans never neglect a vulnerable political target. Rep. McKinney has been repeatedly harassed; police at the Capitol are claiming again and again that they stopped her because they did not recognize her. The Capitol Police are competent enough to clear familiar Congressional aides, as well as Representatives, passing through without ID, but not McKinney.

The Republicans are increasingly injudicious and unkind. And there is nothing to represent any good they have done for the country. What have they really provided to "promote the general welfare" since Bush and his subservient Congress have held power? They have offered only divisiveness and bombast. Invading and occupying a country, and precipitating a civil war there, and then leaving the whole disgusting mess for future presidents to sort out; that is simply too much reality to bear. A nation simply has to become addicted to one form of bigotry or another, the nation needs periodic distraction. On seeing the huddled blacks in the abandoned, flooded city of New Orleans, Reverend Jesse Jackson said "It looks like a slave ship". The Republicans have left out the most prominent family value, which is kindness, because bigotry kills kindness.

"Kindness", Mark Twain said, "is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see".


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