It is time for the Republican Party to die. To disappear forever from the American political scene. To salvage one, minuscule shred of dignity for itself and willingly disband.
The reason the Republican Party needs to just go away is that it is the most un-American political party in this country’s history. It would be one thing if the list of complaints against the Republican Party were limited to its attempts since the 1950s to divide Americans among themselves, or its eagerness to dismantle the middle class in this country and distribute its wealth to a handful of oligarchs, or its disgusting appeals to racism as a way to get votes.
These are character flaws along the lines of the genetic propensity of all Republican officials to embrace hypocrisy ”“ to have not even a speck of awareness of when they are lying, or when they are proposing something the very opposite of their private behavior. These sort of sins can be addressed by the voters, who can banish the Republicans from public office, but these sins are not sufficient to demand that the party dissolve itself.
No. What is fundamentally wrong with the Republican Party is that it routinely, vigorously, and unapologetically undermines the U.S. Constitution, and as such it has shown itself inimical to the interests of the republican form of government that is the foundation of the U.S. political order.
What better place to start with a catalog of these Constitutional crimes than the Bush administration. The Republican Party has already begun the process of disassociating itself from the disastrous eight years of rule by George W. Bush, but Bush and everything he did or stood for represents the culmination of decades of Republican policies and practices. Moreover, for the first six years of Bush’s rule, the Republicans controlled Congress and were eagerly complicit in his attacks on the Constitution. It would be more than dangerous ”“it would be fatal for this country to allow the Republicans to get away with calling Bush an aberration or not a true conservative, when he is everything that conservatism ”“ that Republicanism ”“ has been leading up to.
In what ways, then, can the Republican Party be seen as an enemy of the Constitution and therefore an enemy of the United States?
”¢ The Republican Party no longer believes in the equality of the three branches of government under the Constitution. Instead, the Republicans have elevated the Executive branch as supreme and unchallengeable. Republicans in Congress have supinely bowed to this doctrine and have orchestrated along with the Bush White House a cult of the leader that lasted at least as long as George Bush was popular. Republicans in Congress never once investigated the Bush administration or challenged any of its actions, and Republican appointees on the Supreme Court have shown themselves amenable to the concept of a ”œunitary executive”.
”¢ The Republican Party no longer believes that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Instead, under a number of circumstances, George W. Bush has been viewed as the supreme law of the land, and he need only claim he is protecting us under his role as Commander-in-Chief in order to ignore and override the Constitution. What makes this doctrine acceptable to many Republicans is the assertion by George Bush that he is subject to an even higher power ”“ the Heavenly Father who guides his thoughts and actions. In essence, then, the supreme law of the land under this doctrine is the Bible, and power therefore rests in the hands of the self-anointed preachers who interpret the Bible and talk directly to God.
”¢ The Republican Party no longer believes in the rule of law. The Bush administration has written hundreds of ”œsigning statements” that state explicitly that it will not enforce sections of the law that it finds disagreeable. The Bush administration has then proceeded to ignore the law, or circumvent it with internal legal opinions that state the opposite of what the law says and intends. Congress, meantime, has once again sat back abjectly and watched its right to enact laws dissolved, because the administration has refused to see that they are ”œfaithfully executed”, as called for in the Constitution.
”¢ The Republican Party no longer believes in the transparency of government that is a hallmark of a functioning democratic process. Instead, government is entitled to operate in secret. The doctrine of ”œstate secrets” is invoked to justify abuses that are against the Constitution and the law. The concept of accountability for one’s actions has been abandoned by the Republicans, and what better way to avoid accountability than to keep the work of the Executive branch secret.
”¢ The Republican Party has trampled upon the basic human rights of the people. The Republicans have traduced the ancient right of habeas corpus, the right to privacy in one’s personal communications, the right to confront witnesses in a trial, the right to an attorney, the right to a fair trial, and the right to appeal. The Republicans have violated the universal moral and legal prohibitions against torture, and they have ignored Constitutional bans on detaining accused persons in prisons indefinitely without ever being charged with a crime. The fact that these abuses ”“ these Constitutional and moral crimes ”“ have been perpetrated against both citizens and non-citizens, or that they have been visited on only a few (that we know of), is irrelevant. A right that is lost to the least of us is lost to all.
”¢ The Republican Party has established a state religion. It is not simply that the Republicans have channeled billions of taxpayer dollars to fundamentalist and evangelical Protestant denominations, to the exclusion of most other religions, or that the Republicans coordinate policy and legislation with leading fundamentalist and evangelical preachers. The Republicans have allowed these denominations to infiltrate the military at all levels, to the point now that clergy attached to military units in combat zones are overwhelmingly fundamentalist/evangelical ministers who are given complete latitude to proselytize for converts to their particular religious sect. Moreover, an increasing number of military officers at high levels have declared their allegiance to Jesus, and have willingly invoked His name in the ”œwar against terror.” This is all in keeping with the doctrine that God and the Bible are the supreme law of the land.
There is ample documentary evidence to buttress these claims and charges against the Republican Party, but these are only the Constitutional crimes that are publicly known. Much more subversion of the Constitution may have taken place that has yet to be discovered. What is known, however, is damning. The Republican Party has brought this nation far away from republican government, towards a much more authoritarian, and in some cases, totalitarian form of government.
It is a government where The Leader has paramount power, where citizens are monitored at every turn, where they are expected to spy on each other and report offenses to the government, where the military is used increasingly to provide domestic security, and where the police are increasingly transformed into military-like forces. It is a government where laws are ignored and people’s basic rights circumscribed. It is a government closely allied with business, industry and finance, to the point where corporations are allowed to draft the laws dutifully passed by Congress, and where corporations in turn are allowed to corrupt the lawmakers and government officials with campaign ”œcontributions.” It is a government that governs by fear, which is one step removed from governance by oppression.
The Democratic Party is not at all blameless in these developments. It is a party at a crossroads, where it has the opportunity to right these wrongs and reestablish the Constitution at the center of a republican form of government. It may fail in this task, at which point America is in serious trouble. But even if it succeeds, it needs an opposition party that is devoted heart and soul to the Constitution as the ”œsupreme law of the land.”
The Republican Party is incapable of filling this role. It has abandoned democratic principles, republican government and the Constitution so completely that there is no reform movement that can save the party. There is no Republican politician (with the possible exception of Ron Paul, who is marginalized in the party) who even senses the danger, much less is doing anything to change the party.
These are the reasons the Republican Party needs to disappear. As this will never happen involuntary, the citizens of the United States must make it happen, especially those who have called themselves Republicans for years and voted accordingly. The leaders of the Republican Party may be bereft of any sense of the damage they have done to the United States, but there are millions of Republican voters who have the interests of this country at heart. It is up to them to abandon the Republican Party and form a new political union that will be devoted to the Constitution, and that will help elect presidents who will understand and fulfill their oath of office ”“ to ”œPreserve, Protect, and Defend the Constitution of the United States.”