Okay, I have been known to take an occasional rant against what I see as abuses by the Far Right and their puppets (like Donald Trump). Those who know me also know that I tend to be very “conservative” in my personal politics. So how can a “conservative leaning” person be so opposed to the current Republican Party. Well, in a nutshell, they FAIL to be CONSERVATIVE and like so many other aspects of the current manifestation of the Republican Party, they have just coopted the words and symbols of patriotism and national identity. They are not the party of Reagan, McCain, and other true conservative politicians, they are really fascist. This posting (another rant if you will) is not about them; its about US, the United States and what we should continue to be regardless of who governs us. As I said, I am somewhat conservative in my politics but lately I have been voting Democrat because the so-called Republicans just don’t understand several fundamentals about what our country is and its role in the world.
First off, the United States is, without question, an EMPIRE. With empire comes great advantages but also great responsibilities. The biggest of these is that the major empires of the modern world (the United States, China, and the European Union) keep the world at peace. Yes, there are small wars all the time. The United States is in Afghanistan and has thousands of troops in various other parts of the Middle East but the world is largely peaceful. We maintain a certain détente where conflicts can only get so big before we must quash them and the empires (who hold most of the real military might) don’t fight each other. Conflicts are limited to the fringes. In fact, had the Soviet Union not disintegrated, there would likely not be a war in Afghanistan.
People have issues with empire. It is often portrayed in the negative like the “excesses of the British Empire in India” or “Belgians in the Congo” but there are also great positives that occur when Superpowers (AKA Empires) exist such as:
- Free trade
- Uplifting impoverished parts of the world
- Intellectual advancement
- Spread of democracy
Its hard for most Americans to wrap their minds around the idea that we are and Imperial power. Our national psyche is based on our ousting of the British Empire from her colonies in North America. But make no mistake, we have subjugated and annexed lands by force, chiefly from Native Americans but also from the former Spanish, French, Japanese empires; we have absorbed other nations (eg Texas and Hawaii) deposed out their governments a fully annexed their lands and populaces; we extend our military might around the globe and force other nations (esp Germany, Japan, and Yemen) to pay tributes for their upkeep. Its naive to think that the United States is any less an imperial power than Britain or France were in the 18th Century.
So, what does this have to do with the politics of the Republican Party? Historically, mature empires aren’t destroyed from the outside, they decline. Sometimes the final event that removes an imperial power is an invasion but by that point the social and political machinery that supported that empire has imploded. The Republican Party, through their attack on our Bill of Rights and fundamental tenants of the US Constitution; through their inward focus on their select oligarchy of political cronies and their business interests, through their complete disregard for our friends and allies in the world; and through their staunch nationalism that literally pits the United States and its interest against the interest of other nations and the world community; are accelerating the decline of US power in the world. The most dangerous time to be an imperial power is when that empire is in decline. Military power is the last domino to fall in the decline and this creates an expectation, not to maintain détente but to commit aggressions and wars of conflict that eventually destroy every fiber of a nation’s identity. Rather than conserving the union and maintaining the status quo, the Republicans are burning down all the institutions, conventions, and soft power that is needed to keep the peace.
They claim to be “making America great again” but in reality, they are destroying through RADICAL POLITICS those things that made America great and respected throughout the world. They are doing this through fear, intimidation, hatred, and flagrant disregard for the power of law. Its an overused trope but current Republican party literally enlists armies of “Brown Shirts” who intimidate and harass if we don’t stop them, we will find ourselves at war with the world. A war we will not win. If Americans don’t stop this trend, we will become as insignificant and impoverished as the Ottomans are today.
Please take a moment and issue the most cordial invitation to the theological place of eternal damnation for all those who in the interest of religious intolerance, xenophobia, sexism, racism, greed, and elitism are working so tirelessly to burn down our most sacred institutions and beliefs. Get them out of our statehouses, our Congress, and judiciary.
Yeah, I’m and imperialist. I want a strong country that is respected in the world not just feared.
We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn’t get these things from your family, you got them from the neighborhood… Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture.–Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address, 1989
We need to be doing a better job of getting across that America is freedom-freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs protection. We have to teach this to our children. We’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important.