I read Sean Patrick Brennan’s piece on bullies growing up to vote Republican and was disturbed on many levels.
My first response was, “tell me something I don’t already know.” But, the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it really matters in any real way. I’m not saying this to undermine in any way the real differences between ideologies and political parties. They are very real. Most everyone I know understands that, whether they have differing beliefs in one household, the office, or wherever.
It is the extremism and the hatred that’s out there today that really frightens me and that the Republicans have let those factions take set the tone for so many debates. What’s so frightening about today’s Republican party to me — and what makes bullies growing up to join them especially frightening — is that is driven so much by dividing the country, by making a binary opposition out of everything. An opposition that, regardless of the topic or the people involved, boils down to Us vs. Them or Right vs. Wrong. Anyone that does not meet their standards, often in even one small way, is ‘them’ and is therefore ‘wrong.’ The Tea Party and other extremists that have co-opted the Republican party (which was no welcoming, diversity embracing party to begin with, to be sure) have managed to gain enough strength, carry enough weight, to steer the arguments toward trying to ensure that everyone who is not of them is wrong, inferior, or just plain bad, and that these ‘others’ will somehow dimish society as they (the extreme factions) see it or take something away from them.
So, yes, the fact that bullies will grow up to become part of the Republican party in its current incarnation is a really scary thought. The best– and I use that term very loosely — case scenario if this happens is that the cycle of no for no’s sake (a la Boehner) or spinning webs of crazy lies (like Palin or Bachmann). The worst case scenario is that eventually it will become a moot point … because all dissenting voices will have been bullied into submission.
If anyone needs another reason why IT HAS TO GET BETTER, if just helping bullied kids is not enough, then think about Brennan’s article and my comments. Then, picture the future.