CORE REPUBLICAN PARTY VALUES: RACISM, ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER, AND CORRUPTION

No one has asked the obvious question about the fraternity at U of Oklahoma. And that is: What are these fraternity boys’ parents’ political affiliation? I would bet that the overwhelming percentage are Republican, perhaps even all of them.

We have seen in the rise of extreme right-wing Republicanism a racism, a cultural insensitivity, a boorishness, an anti-intellectualism, a shameful dishonesty, and moral turpitude that I have not seen in my life-time. This fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, was displaying (proudly until caught) the same ignominious behavior they have always shown. What’s shocking is the fraternity’s feigned “ shock” as well as that of their parents. Ask how many blacks are in SAE.

The Republican Party is the reversal of the party’s Civil War heritage, when it was the Democratic Party that was racist. But given that change of party stance, the racism of 1861 hasn’t changed from that day to this. Even the selling of firearms has a racist element—to protect oneself from the black man, just like in the 1800’s.

47 Republican Senators wrote a letter blatantly interfering with US foreign policy, the Obama Administration’s sensitive nuclear negotiations with Iran—an unprecedented interference! These shameless morons are like the neighborhood bully, picking fights with whomever, and wherever, they want. Republicans are far-left radicals in that they are heedless of tradition, commonsense, reason, and protocol. Like SAE, these senators believe they have the right to do whatever they wish. It is what I call the 1% hubris factor. The richest 1% in the country think that they control Everything….And they just about do.

The same obtuseness, intellectual and moral, can be seen in the 1%ers denying climate change, or severe and lasting ecological damage through fracking et. al. oil/gas production methods and delivery systems. Is it just a coincidence that OK is a big oil producing state?

Just as in almost every other country historically, today we exhibit an “optimates” vs “Populares” division in society. Class divisions and antagonisms were some of the reasons Rome fell. The Republican Party, on all fronts, is leading America to outer ruin as well, through class divisions, the death of the middle class, through ceaseless wars that only enrich the 1% (Military-Industrial Complex) and through inner dissolution from corruption, graft, and favoritism, along with a shameless anti-intellectualism and a massive racism. As I have written many times before, this is our New Civil War. But this time there’s no Lincoln to rely upon to guide us through.

Len Sive Jr,

YAHOO’S SHAMELESS DISTORTION OF THE NEWS TO FAVOR THE NRA

We all know that most of the media is owned by a handful of people or corporations (e.g., General Electric owns NBC and Rupert Murdoch, FOX), and that nearly all media are run by ideological right-wing Republicans; and we all know further that the last thing right-wing Republicans offer the public is impartiality of news and commentary. (Fox News is its own best witness to this shameful fact.) But Google-owned Yahoo—solidly in the right-wing camp as any perusal of its on-line news reporting and commentary can verify—shamelessly left out 50% of the recent Santa Barbara shooting story.

A father of one of the students who was murdered spoke to the press about the pain and grief of his son’s death, and of his anger at the politicians who refused to pass gun restriction laws after the killings at Sandy Hook, CT.  Yahoo left out, conspicuously, the father’s loud and very emotional condemnation of the NRA for its role in facilitating gun violence .Because his “whole body and soul” anger at the NRA was so visceral, visibly shaking every fiber in his grief-torn body, it is all the more surprising that this was edited out of the story so that not one mention was made of the NRA! Yahoo’s reporter, Dana Feldman, is either completely incompetent as a journalist or else (more likely) was instructed by her superiors to edit the father’s speech so as not to blame the NRA.

Is there anywhere in the US where the NRA’s influence does NOT extend? The Right has complained about Big Government’s influence in our everyday life. But government’s influence is nothing compared to the NRA’s. Ironically, the Tea Party folk—NRA advocates one and all—support a movement that is profoundly un-democratic! It is their patrons—the wealthiest 1%–who now rule undemocratically. But they are too blind to see it—or they approve of it.

The anguish of Mr. Martinez, the dead boy’s father, could have turned even hearts of stone to wax—except of course those of the NRA, with its many psychopathological gun enthusiasts.          These people suffer from a combination of several severe psychological disorders. They evidence an utter lack of emotional maturity and self-confident masculinity; they possess a grossly underdeveloped intellect, and with no ability to reason logically; they have no capability to empathize with others; and, additionally, they suffer from paranoia and grandiose narcissism.

As Jesus knew only too well, it is all too easy to bring violence and hate into the world; but the kingdom of heaven is reserved for peacemakers.  It’s peopled only by  those who bring love and mercy,  goodness and truth,  to our harsh and broken world. Of that unimaginably beautiful world, God’s kingdom, where reason and love rule high and low, the NRA and its proselytes can have no part, for they fundamentally oppose His  message of a kingdom of Peace, Non-violence, and Love. Heaven is for those who have practiced God’s love in this life through endless trials: hell, for those who have rejected God’s love for lust of violence and hate.

The NRA, through its lobbying, exercises almost absolute power in Congress and across America. Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, just vetoed a modest gun proposal that would have limited the number of shells in a gun clip. Not even that (token) gun measure gets passed due to the power of the NRA. No doubt Gov. Christie heard the “clink, clink, clink” of campaign cash contributions as he signed his name, vetoing the bill. “You scratch my back, I scratch yours.” And if this further imperils our nation’s children—well, so much the worse for our children!

Len Sive Jr.

THE NEW CIVIL WAR

There are several new books out on Lincoln which purport to reveal the true man behind the mask. To adapt a line from Shakespeare: “They have come, however, not to praise Lincoln, but to bury him.” These right-wing authors have ascribed the worst possible motives to everything Lincoln said and did. It is a revision of our history that in the wildest imaginings of my youth I would never have thought possible. It is also one of the surest signs of our nation’s current, and dangerous, state of being, our new “civil war.”

Disparate groups like the Tea Party, the NRA, the Republican Party, corporations, the largely right-wing  media, fringe groups like those supporting Clive Bundy, the KKK (a virulent white supremacist group), and other anti-government  groups and individuals, have declared war on our historical way of life. It is a new civil war, funded by, among others, the far right-wing billionaire Koch brothers.  And like the first Civil War, it’s a fight for the future, and soul, of America.

Below is part of a letter I wrote last year in response to these calumnies. It unmasks the preposterous image of Lincoln put forth by the right, by revealing  through a single incident–Lincoln’s ministrations to  a dying Confederate soldier–how uniquely humane a president he really was, and how utterly fortunate we were as a country to have had him as our president.  It is literally inconceivable to imagine any Republican today—let alone a Rand Paul, John Boehner, Clive Bundy, or the Koch brothers—heart-feltly ministering to their sworn, deadly enemies, “With malice towards none, and with charity for all….”

“Lincoln had served in Congress with many later Confederate leaders; they had been on friendly terms before the war, and Lincoln never abandoned their friendship even during the war. Given his nature and sensibilities, Lincoln would have had a very different form of “Reconstruction” than that which was instituted after his death. You are quite right to quote from the Second Inaugural as pointing out the path of reconciliation he would surely have taken. To say “With malice towards none” with the deepest sincerity (as he did) can only be done if it has already been embraced in one’s soul.
“What makes Lincoln our greatest American (and not just our greatest president) is that he was also a deeply loving and profoundly reflective Christian, who wrestled openly and honestly with those aspects of his faith which he could not understand, but who sincerely and reverently lived out that which he could understand. His was a costly and prophetic faith, to be relied upon to inform one’s daily thoughts and actions in all the myriad trials, sufferings, temptations, and uncertainties which everyday Life presents. But it was especially during wartime, with the horrific suffering and innumerable deaths of so many soldiers, both Confederate and Union alike, along with the death of Lincoln’s much beloved youngest son, Tad,  that deepened Lincoln’s faith the most, as he took upon his shoulders  the inexpressible grief and anguish of both the North and the South.

“To say that Lincoln was crucified by the war is only to speak the truth.  His was no tepid, bland “Sunday morning faith” that superficially satisfies so many Christians.  His faith burned hotter, and purer, tempered as it was in the intense fires of a fratricidal civil war, of brother against brother. I cannot think of another world leader, alive or dead,  who endured what he endured—nor one his equal in intellect, faith, charity, and humility, which makes his demonization by the political right so profoundly disturbing.  Moreover, Lincoln, unlike his many current denouncers, was absolutely incorruptible. His Tea Party and Republican accusers, on the other hand, have a long and sordid history of accepting cash for votes, from the NRA, JP Morgan, GE, Exxon/Mobil, et. al. These corrupt politicians, like Faust, have struck a bargain with the devil, while Lincoln alone stuck to the high, costly road of sacrifice, faith, integrity, and charity.

“The following anecdote, which not surprisingly was left out of these books on Lincoln, unveils the authentic Lincoln, the deeply humane, caring, and giving human being that he really was. I read about this incident a decade ago in a library in graduate school and here retell it from memory–faithful to the facts, but told in my own words.

“Lincoln had spent a long day at an army hospital visiting and comforting the many Union wounded and dying. As day gradually turned into evening, an exhausted and emotionally depleted Lincoln departed the hospital, climbed wearily into the presidential carriage, and  began the slow return to the White House, where  a late evening’s work  still awaited him. A hospital orderly suddenly ran up to the presidential carriage and shouted out, “There’s a Confederate soldier who wants to speak with the president.”  Lincoln, although clearly exhausted, stepped down from the carriage and with weary steps re-entered the hospital.

“The Confederate soldier was a young man, who, upon seeing Lincoln in the flesh for the first time, remarked naïvely, ‘You don’t look at all like the ape pictures I saw in the South.’  The two of them talked for some time. Then the young man asked if Lincoln would deliver a letter and heirloom to his family. Lincoln promised him that he would. Lincoln then said that he had pressing business still awaiting him, and was there anything else he could do for him. The dying soldier pathetically replied, ‘I was hoping you’d see me through (death).’ So this impossibly busy wartime president shunted aside all official business, and forgetful even of his own exhausted state, stayed with this enemy soldier until the very end, ministering to him and comforting him, weeping as he clasped the dying soldier’s hands in his own. True to his word, Lincoln made sure that the family received the young man’s personal effects.

Need I remark that this is exactly how Lincoln would have treated the South after the war  –with dignity, charity, mercy, and reason. What might our country have developed into with a Reconstruction based not on hatred and retribution but on mercy and charity for all?”

This incident clearly and unambiguously reveals what kind of president he really was: a deep-souled, caring, forgiving Christian whose tenderness, charity, mercy, intellect, moral stature, and self-sacrificing nature on behalf of the nation he was elected to serve—and harboring no ill-will towards the forces bitterly arrayed against him in an epic Civil War—are, so far as I am aware, unmatched in the annals of history, ancient or modern.

The destructive fires of our new “civil war”, which these revisionist histories of Lincoln are meant to stoke, continue today unchecked: ideological gridlock in Congress; hateful, petty Republicans calling for Obama’s impeachment every other week; lies and half-truths  on important political issues that are a staple of Republican incendiary rhetoric; adversarial politics of the meanest and vilest kind; the inability of the Obama administration to get its many, and important, appointments passed; votes openly bought in Congress in exchange for campaign contributions; a Congress meanly subservient to the wealthiest 1% while caring not a whit for the middle or lower classes. Two well-respected and very-influential political scientists, in fact, one from Princeton University and the other from Northwestern, in an empirically-based 20-year-long study of how Congress actually works, have openly declared thatour democracy is dead. “We are now,” they pronounced, “an oligarchy, a nation governed solely by the few on behalf of the interests of the wealthiest 1%.” And they have the irrefutable evidence of over 20 years’ research data to back up their claim.

“Our democracy is dead.” In these disturbing times, what we need are the intellect, courage, faith, charity and moral stature of another Lincoln to guide us through these turbulent and treacherous waters. The future of our cherished way of life now hangs precariously in the balance.

Can we still reclaim the dreams of our forefathers and bring good, honest, intelligent, and caring government to every American citizen? Can we both as individuals and as a nation seek truth, goodness, and beauty with unflinching zeal and steadfast devotion, working daily for peace and concord among all citizens while disavowing diatribe, division, and discord? Can we once again prove to a skeptical world that our once-cherished and highly-regarded democratic way of life is not yet dead and buried. That our democracy can justly represent all economic classes; that it can honor and aid both our poorest and most vulnerable citizens as well as our richest and most successful; and that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can, like the immortal Phoenix, rise once again triumphantly from its own ashes!

Len Sive Jr.