The Decline of the G.O.P., Part 3...

Go Bama

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Good op-ed in the WaPo.


For those behind a paywall. The emboldened paragraphs are by me.

America is in a contest of contending nightmares.

The dreams of conservatives are currently troubled by “wokeness” and critical race theory. As with most nightmares, there is a grain of truth within such terrors.

For most people, wokeness involves being mindful of the cruel and oppressive portions of American history, being alert to persistent structural racism, and being determined to right past and present wrongs. This is the theory that attracted many people to street protests last summer. By this standard, count me as woke.

But there is an academic version of critical race theory that goes a great deal further. In this variety of postmodernism, all power structures are rotted to the core by white supremacy. The ideals of democracy — pluralism, freedom, the rule of law, even reasoned debate itself — are myths or narratives serving the privileged. In this view, politics is no longer a contest of ideas. It is a fight for power, a zero-sum struggle between oppressor and oppressed. This type of wokeness involves seeing through the pretensions of a free society and favoring the oppressed in every instance.

The distinctions here are not minor. There is a difference between using critical race theory as a tool to understand unjust power structures and believing that every outworking of Western democratic theory is inherently unjust. There is a difference between examining the disturbing truths of American history and denying the existence of objective truth and the possibility of persuasion.

In contrast, the nightmares of progressives are currently dominated by the growth of right-wing authoritarianism and fascism. In these fears, there is more than a grain of truth.

Large elements of the American populist right mythologize the nation’s past rather than face its failures. They dismiss real news as fake and embrace obvious propaganda. They are anti-intellectual to the point of denying lifesaving scientific truths. They fear diversity and target racial, ethnic and religious minorities for resentment. They cultivate a sense of victimhood by warning of arrogant elites and vast conspiracies. These are not isolated ailments; they are the textbook symptoms of a fascist political infection.

Some on the left want to use these trends to discredit the entirety of modern conservatism. They contend that authoritarianism and fascism are the logical, necessary outgrowth of the political approach that emerged with the presidential nomination of Barry Goldwater. In this view, Goldwater is Richard M. Nixon, who is Ronald Reagan, who is Jack Kemp, who is George W. Bush, who is John McCain, who is Mitt Romney, who is Donald Trump. This is a raving, slanderous absurdity. The existence of a principled, tolerant, constructive party of the right in American politics is not only a possibility; it is a crying need.

In comparing the right’s fear of extreme critical race theory and the left’s fear of fascism, it is not really useful to ask which horror would be worse if implemented. Both ideologies are ultimately at war with liberal democracy — the pursuit of a common good, the practice of incremental reform, the cultivation of social trust and the acceptance of democratic outcomes.

But it is crucial to ask which nightmare is currently most likely to be implemented. And here there is no question.

Extreme wokeness — the enforcement of ideological sameness through intimidation, the illiberal silencing of competing voices, the canceling of human beings for relatively minor infractions, the forced, ritual renunciations of previous views — is a problem on some college campuses, in some newsrooms and within some corporate cultures.

And I don’t want to minimize such excesses.

But seriously now. Only one of these nightmares has taken over a major political party, which is in the process of purging all dissent. Only one of these delusions is the governing vision of a former president who just might be president again. Only one of these developments has turned the backbones of the minority leader of the House, the minority leader of the Senate and almost every other Republican leader into gelatinous goo. Only one of these ideologies produced a crowd that sacked the U.S. Capitol and threatened violence against political leaders. Only one of these movements is working in state legislatures across the country to make electoral systems more vulnerable to manipulation and mob rule.

It is important to confront every source of illiberalism in American life. Social justice leaders such as Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis shared a common belief. They saw solutions to America’s worst sins in the more radical application of America’s highest ideals, not in their abandonment.

But this does not mean that all such challenges to democracy are equal. Right-wing authoritarianism is the force that could undo the American system. In a contest of nightmares, it is not even a contest.
 

92tide

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sort of sums it up nicely

More significant than any individual act, however, the legacy of Braveheart can be glimpsed in a generation of evangelicals who have chosen fear over hope and militancy over kindness, and who have transformed the Jesus of the Gospels into a ruthless warrior king who leads them into the battles of their own choosing.
 

Crimson1967

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People from both parties should be in the room when they are counting votes. It said some Republicans were removed. I read that as they got rid of the never Trumpers.
 
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92tide

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uafanataum

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this should go well

This legislation passing in Florida surprised me. I was under the impression that they were a moderate state that was slowly drifting left. Instead they are trying to outdo the Texas GOP.
So I looked it up. There are 78 republicans in the Florida legislator versus 42 democrats. Its hard to believe that is the same state that Obama won twice.
 

Crimson1967

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This legislation passing in Florida surprised me. I was under the impression that they were a moderate state that was slowly drifting left. Instead they are trying to outdo the Texas GOP.
So I looked it up. There are 78 republicans in the Florida legislator versus 42 democrats. Its hard to believe that is the same state that Obama won twice.
Could be a result of gerrymandering. The statewide elections have been close.

I think DeSantis is gearing up for a White House bid in 2024 or VP if Trump runs. Or he could primary Rubio for the Senate in 2026.
 
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92tide

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This legislation passing in Florida surprised me. I was under the impression that they were a moderate state that was slowly drifting left. Instead they are trying to outdo the Texas GOP.
So I looked it up. There are 78 republicans in the Florida legislator versus 42 democrats. Its hard to believe that is the same state that Obama won twice.
there was something in 2015-16 that brought some of the folks who had been abandoned by the gop back into the fold. not quite sure what it was
 

Go Bama

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this should go well

I would never attend any Florida state school under these conditions. Big Brother big time.
 

jthomas666

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this should go well

"It's Florida" is the new "It's Chinatown".
 
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JDCrimson

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So does this mean they will study critical race theory to promote intellectual diversity? According to the goal of this legislation, the school can't restrict speech that is offensive or uncomfortable...

this should go well

 
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jthomas666

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Note the last paragraph:

DeSantis also signed a law prohibiting university and college officials from limiting campus speech that "may be uncomfortable, disagreeable or offensive," and will allow students to record lectures without consent that may be used as evidence in a civil or criminal case against educational institutions. [emphasis added]
No, that couldn't POSSIBLY have a suppressive effect on teaching...
 
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92tide

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So does this mean they will study critical race theory to promote intellectual diversity? According to the goal of this legislation, the school can't restrict speech that is offensive or uncomfortable...
my guess is they haven't spent a lot of time thinking their ideas through.
 

92tide

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always remember who foisted this sadistic freak on our nation. and those same folks are still down with that.

Titled "Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost," the book reveals new details about how Trump's language became increasingly violent during Oval Office meetings as protests in Seattle and Portland began to receive attention from cable new outlets. The President would highlight videos that showed law enforcement getting physical with protesters and tell his administration he wanted to see more of that behavior, the excerpts show.
Top US general hits back against 'offensive' Republican criticism and defends Pentagon diversity efforts
Top US general hits back against 'offensive' Republican criticism and defends Pentagon diversity efforts

"That's how you're supposed to handle these people," Trump told his top law enforcement and military officials, according to Bender. "Crack their skulls!"
Trump also told his team that he wanted the military to go in and "beat the f--k out" of the civil rights protesters, Bender writes.

"Just shoot them," Trump said on multiple occasions inside the Oval Office, according to the excerpts.
 

92tide

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jawjuh's been waiting for the next herschel walker. my bet is him being out of the race before thanksgiving