Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Could it Happen?

From the days of my youth, I've heard the message of the American political Right. "We'll give you small government, which will never interfere with your lives as long as you keep the law, which we guarantee won't be anything complicated or oppressive. We promise not to be like Democrats, who want to take over your whole life."
The message was there even through the Bush years, which should have revealed to anyone with half a brain that the days of simple, unobtrusive, easygoing government were gone forever.
How do I know they're gone? You get little glimpses into the thinking of the Right just by observing. Last week, for instance, the conservative members of the Texas State Board of Education noted that they had the power to dictate school text contents over a wide range of social science issues.They proceeded, using a straight party line majority, to ignore even the idea of small government, except as applied to, as Texans say, "bidness." Future students from Texas (and plenty of other states, too) will get special material on hundreds of subjects ranging from "American Exceptionalism", the proper workings of the free enterprise system, the great Conservative resurgence of the 1980's and 90's, proper Second Amendment interpretation, Phyllis Schlafly, the Moral Majority and the NRA. Not everything is changed - the largely discontinued terms "B.C." and "A.D." are retained. All this from the "small government" guys. Why go to such lengths to slant the message in public schools? The short answer - because they can.
Here's the real message from the Right, though it's not the one they want you to hear. "Small or no government for whatever I'm doing, but maximum government for whatever you have in mind." In fact, I've wondered how things would change if a virus that only killed liberals were to infect the land, leaving only the "small government" faithful of the GOP to remake all the government policies we've come to know.
Assuming no effective death bed repentance, the population would immediately become more masculine, white and "Christian" (a term which I realize is subject to interpretation). Some things would disappear pretty quickly. Abortions could only be obtained in a far corner of Montana, sports for women would be retained strictly on a "pay your own way" basis, and Congress would try to pound rap music into extinction by pointing at its "anti-American" image. Trade unions would disappear, and the term "Democratic" would become as rare as "Whig".
Foreign policy would be based on a simple list of five "Principles of Freedom", the breaking of any one of which by another nation would invite nuclear destruction. Other nations would be invited to join our "New Awakening", but only as junior partners. At least one of the five Principles would involve making threats, overt or covert, as judged by POTUS alone, against Israel. GITMO would triple in size and the CIA director's name would become secret, though he would be a member of the Cabinet. Torture would receive yet another name - "Christian Re-education". Anyone who died from it would be assumed to have converted after successful deathbed repentance.
Eventually, the Republican Party would face factions. The dope-using, tattoo-sporting, Sabbath-ignoring, leave-me-alone types would be known as Freedom Republicans or "Freppies", and would be the smaller branch of the Party, while corporate interests and their followers would make up the National Republicans or "Nats", who would constantly lobby for more defense spending and less for the environment. Corporations would pay no taxes, and the difference would be made up by surcharges on movie tickets and alcoholic drinks. Smoking would be more popular, while the ensuing spike in the death rate would be blamed on "poor parenting". A possible final split between these two GOP groups could revolve around the question "Should concealed handguns be merely legal or, to save on local law enforcement and discourage crime, should they be made compulsory for those over 15 years old who could pass a simple eye exam?"
Of course, you know I'm only speculating here based on what I've observed. But could it happen? Oh, sure.


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