I watched a video clip this afternoon. It gave me a type of hope I have not felt in a very long time.
I have watched the Republican Party for decades. I’ve seen it descend further and further into viciousness and selfishness.
Once before in my lifetime the Republican Party marched head long in that direction. It was during the era of the communist witch hunt, the era that sported the name of its visible symbol – McCarthyism. It was an era that birthed the resurgence of American plutocracy.
One Republican had the insight, the foresight, the decency to say NO. That man was a Republican President. He turned on Joseph McCarthy and his House Un-American Activities Committee. He warned of the coming power of the military-industrial complex. His name was Dwight Eisenhower.
Despite the evil harbored in the man of Richard Nixon, despite his personality disorders, despite the foundation he laid for the current conservative party, the march off the conservative cliff was slowed. Even Nixon signed into law progressive policies. He signed the National Environmental Policy Act. He signed the Clean Air Act. He instituted OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Although he gave lip service to the Equal Rights Amendment for women, he was personally pro-choice. He signed the Supplemental Security Income Program into law, an anti-poverty program that still exists today.
The election of Ronald Reagan, and all the Republican Presidents that have followed, and the take-over of Congress in 1994 by the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, and so many others, committed the nation to a hideous transformation. Its Constitution slowly and steadily began to be redefined into something unrecognizable by decent, honest and compassionate people.
I have wondered if this descent into national hell had any hope of being stopped. But today I listened to a Republican in the Colorado Senate. The honest and heartfelt speech of Senator Jean White on civil unions made me think of the question asked of McCarthy. In that case it was an accusation. The question – Have you no decency? Today the answer was YES. This Republican went against the fierce inhumanity of her party.
Listen and watch this video. And when you are finished, I ask Republicans who are still capable of hearing to “come out of the shadows,” and to reject the party that shames our nation. Help the rest of us to reclaim a nation still worth reclaiming.