The two things that bother me most about the title of this post are that first,I don’t see the ignorance of self-identified Republicans to be entirely their fault- not for certain segments of their rank anyway; second, there is a certain place where insanity meets genius and the results are great ideas, music, and art (think Nietzsche, Keith Moon, and Hunter S. Thompson for instance) that expand the world for all and for the better- this is not the manner of insanity I wish to insinuate keeps company with the Democrats. Nonetheless, this is the first and best title for this post that I came up with and now it’s set in stone.
The first notion isn’t one I haven’t spoken to before but is merely a thought that came up in relation to the one before it (that Democrats are insane). Democrats are guilty by and large of repeating the same action (being a Democrat) over and over but expecting different results. That, as the popular parlance goes, is the definition of insane. Republicans- the working class, blue collar, of meager means persuasion, are quite often people that I relate and find solace with; often, they work hard, battle personal and emotional stresses without the proper tools or necessary support, they believe in real freedom and liberty and don’t think it right for anyone, let alone the State, to mettle in their personal affairs (including on the job). They are as “regular people” as regular people come and I’d say to be somehow against or derogatory of people, in the general sense, is to be anti-human. Let me reply to the protests pro-actively: I know this is not the case for all or perhaps even most Republicans; I know some people are downright mean-spirited, racist, homophobic, sexist; I know there’s plenty of millions with a penchant for screwing the little guy and interpreting the Bible in the most bizarre and grotesque ways. That’s not really who I’m referring to here, though in truth I’d argue that he same sort of affliction is besieging both. I’m thinking of my family members, of the older folks who I find in the local bar after work hours, of the guy who comes to fix my phone or install my cable- I’m thinking of Steve, Ken and Judy, Rick and Lisa, and Scotty down at Charlie-O’s. People who may or may not be religious, but whose faith is their work, who may not like you, your lifestyle, or your beliefs but nonetheless don’t care too much so long as you’re leaving them alone. My own mom or grandpa, who may hide their politic behind ugly thoughts but who likewise see the government and all bureaucracy as inherently intrusive, dumb, and infuriating.
To all of these people I am referring, and my simple observation is that they chose to consider- or at least favor- themselves as Republicans because their ignorance (and the capitalist system itself) teaches them that the Republican Party speaks for their beliefs and values. The GOP appeals to the lower economic classes as the Party which holds the values of individual liberty and personal freedom and a rejection of intrusion and bureaucracy and mindless abdication. Some through their church (I am not referring to fundamentalism but just religion in it’s common form) believe in the “rights” of a fetus and are equally brainwashed- led to a certain form of ignorance- that this is the thing that matters and that for it they should vote a certain way. Some live in a world where guns are fetishized to the degree that this is their thing. Regardless, all these groups are educated in a neglectful manner which leads them to identifying as Republicans. Thus my hyperbolic conclusion: Republicans are ignorant.
Democrats, on the other hand, are even more curious to me. A good number of them- who I am not referring to at the moment- are more like Republicans (either in their social or economic beliefs). Of those that reject the GOP for economic or political rather than social reasons find themselves often fitting into my complaint above. But if I may speak specifically to the liberal, the so-called progressive element of the Democratic Party: you are merely insane, in a clinical, pathological sort of way, for your insistence on continuing to consider yourself a Democrat. You are shocked that the electoral system is a ponzi scheme though it always has been and always will be under not only capitalism, but every previous form of government in the history of mankind; you are shocked to see your party’s leadership “move” and pander towards the political right even though that is what it always does and will predictably continue to do; and you cynically concede the Party’s leadership will not act in favor of justice because of political expediency and “insider” games even though you think to pursue justice is the most noble of courses.
This “progressive”, socially-oriented wing of the Democratic Party insists on supporting and identifying as Democrat despite the fact that the only reason to do so is that they lack the required ignorance of those who identify as Republicans. They know, they have seen time and time again, that the Democratic Party does not act in accord with their values and wishes, but they “support” it nonetheless, thinking that to do so will somehow- perhaps eventually- change what the Democratic Party is and has always been. They continue to vote and argue for and throw money at Democratic Party candidates yet they detest the vast majority of what the Democrats do (or even more so, what they don’t do). Thus my second hyperbolic conclusion: the Democrats are literally insane. It’s as if I put a piece of bread in the coffee maker in hopes of toasting it: sure, in a certain sense the bread is warmer than before, (and sure, it’s better than the Republican’s choice of flushing the bread down the toilet, but seriously): the fucking bread still isn’t toasted.
Still though, it’s easy enough to deconstruct; it takes a bit of gumption to draw-up blueprints let alone begin re-building. Rightly, Wilber would describe that the Republicans offer us a healthy version of a lower (ie, more basic but less meaningful, more breadth but less depth) consciousness while the Democrats offer us an un-healthy version of a higher (deeper, narrower) consciousness. Both don’t serve well. In fact, neither serves but rather rules and dictates, and perhaps that gets further at the problem to be overcome here; the political life would be better off as one that teaches the ignorant while demonstrating the errors of the insane. In the meantime, we have no meaningful jobs, affordable health care, quality education, or assurances for the elderly and disabled. No rights for homosexuals, no equality in practice, and no freedom in the streets. And to all of this, both sides continue to support their team.