RATIONAL AND POLITICAL … two kinds of thought

by Jim Cleveland

(from ON TOP OF IT: Rising Above the Common Mind, at Amazon. Free e-books and MP-3 tracks at www.jimclevelandauthor.com)

In the beginning, our political parties were people bound together by a common cause, such as the concern and fear that our new government might prove to be oppressive, inflicting unreasonable taxes, requiring unnecessary benefits for their workers, imposing costly regulations. These are all legitimate concerns and they could find a ready ally in the Chambers of Commerce, and a major contributor to their mutual cause.

As a party gathers its donor list, it shapes its beliefs and its positions to align with it. If there is an issue involving their constant benefactors, they side with their foundation of support and would be hard-pressed to stand against it for any reason. Party Whips keep the troops aligned with their special interest supporters, not always an easy job.

When a party captures the loyalty of the board rooms of the major banks and the pharmaceutical, insurance, armaments, and health care companies, the taxation and regulation of those power groups becomes decidedly lax and their profits soar. This has resulted in a massive wealth imbalance in the country today, which simply has to be reversed to some degree in the years ahead.

One can see rationality falls by the wayside and ultimately has little to do with this history; it has been a matter of self-service as with everything else in society. What is rational is what serves me best. It is political.

So people look to political parties to represent what’s good for them, whether they are wealthy or never destined to be. If you’re a working person, struggling to stay in the middle class bracket and not be bankrupted by job loss or health crisis, you tend to vote for the Democratic Party today, which unofficially represents the worker just as the Republican Party assuredly represents the rich.

Those in board rooms nationwide tend to vote for the business party, while the Democrats represent workers demanding a living wage, good working conditions, respect, some sharing of the wealth. The GOP generally respects the American Ethic to get rich; the Democrats see a stacked playing deck in which those who already have the most are those who get more and push every working family into deeper debt.

In this classic face-off between management and labor, the rich and the working poor, the “conservative” capitalist and the “progressive” liberal, there has been one issue that has driven a wedge right into the middle and caused much political conflict.

Race is the issue, of course. Over the generations from slavery to segregation, white supremacy to civil rights, the white citizens have struggled with it. Are we not better than these black people I see around here? Or are we not superior given equal opportunity? Do we not have a responsibility toward them? Do they not have souls? Why should they ruin our public school systems with their inferiority? Is it logical to have special benefits only for black people? Why are these savage rednecks committing racial atrocities and all of us in Mississippi getting a black eye for it? Why is my granddaddy still fighting the damned civil war?

As the Civil War wound down, the new and untested Republican Party included many of the abolitionists who stood up against slavery. With President Lincoln’s assassination , they were left with the dubious leadership of a tailor with an appetite for strong drink. The resulting Reconstruction era in the South was one in which yankee opportunists stripped much of the wealth that survived and enabled stooge black people into governmental offices. This era of degradation for the South spawned the counter-force Redemption period of history — during which white supremacists re-took the governments and imposed a wave of terror on black people who found themselves disenfranchised and beaten down once more.

With the Redemption era, the South became a bastion of strength for the Democratic Party — known as the Solid South and a major political force for the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Blacks would no longer be voting in the South. At that time, the so-called Grand Old Party Republicans had become a longtime haven of corruption and big money control, demonstrating their irrational and greed-driven thinking during the the terms of several inept presidents.

But the South’s white Democrat control finally cracked apart in 1948 when the rebellious “Dixiecrat” faction of the Democratic Party stormed off in the face of a civil rights platform provision against lynching to run a so-called “States Rights” campaign. Their battle cry of “sovereignty” of the various states to confront federal over-reach would ring down through the years to a final armed confrontation of America’s ongoing civil war — the battle of Oxford, MS in 1962 over the integration of the University of Mississippi.

The Democratic Party was built upon the needs and desires of working people, as a buffer from the kind of big business and political corruption that had long plagued the country. It was fitting and honorable in this era to represent the interests of the ultimate working class, and those most oppressed by capitalistic corruption — the Negro.

So the segregationists no longer had friendly confines in the Democratic Party. When the uneasy situation came to a head in the 1962 party convention, the party finally opted to seat the black-based ‘Freedom’ delegation of Mississippi and put aside the whites-only traditional party leaders. In the Civil Rights era, President Lyndon Johnson himself lamented that these steps to justice would cost his party a vast number of white backlash votes all across Dixie.

A split-level accommodation soon came in Southern politics — vote for your usual white friends and neighbors in the local ‘courthouse gang’ but switch to the GOP ballot for the presidential race. This flipped the South vote to whomever the Republicans would run, because they would stay far enough away from the race issue that they would be the obvious majority vote choice across the Old Confederacy.

This polarity shift in presidential politics was surely accelerated by the Republican ‘Southern Strategy’ to tap these voters with a natural outgrowth of their concerns. In this way, the party of the rich, the privileged and the profit-driven could be lap-welded with the social and moral concerns of a major part of the American electorate. This would require striking a moderate and mostly silent racial tone and to preach their mantra of state’s rights — preserving a ‘way of life’ in places like Alabama that meant white control, of power, jobs and money. The GOP’s shiny white candidates in the South would be molded by Chamber of Commerce concerns and mindset. The white backlash vote is strong and permanent and will only grow stronger as blacks migrate from the South, in disgust and in search of more opportunity.

The strategy means embracing the white Christian religion — to demonize abortion, abhor sexual deviancy, and characterize the other political side as less moral and more decadent. They take the word liberal and completely re-define it, then use it as a curse word of their invention.

For some years, we have seen this unholy alliance between the CEO and Fortune 500 party with several ludicrous and illogical political alliances. The Confederate States have been there since the Goldwater debacle. Then came the Libertarian Ron Paul, then the Tea Party and its recent champion, Ted Cruz. Herman Cain showed up to sell pizzas. Dr. Ben Carson became a brief mythical figure who floated away like so many waves of smoke.

The party’s image, after years of transparently illogical and political obstruction efforts came to be known in the faces of John Boehmer and Mitch McConnell, constantly wailing for budget cutting in the face of real human needs and holding themselves arrogantly above any legislative need at all. They even threw a hissy fit and shut down the government, at heavy cost to the taxpayer. And with nauseating regularity, they threw Affordable Care Act repeals into the wall of futility for years on end, and offering no alternative.

With Trump in the White House, their proclamation to ‘repeal and replace’ the ACT with corporate welfare cosmetics has, at this point, failed miserably and the truth has emerged that health care legislation must involve both parties as well as the interests of the working Americans who are having to pay dearly for it.

Who can wonder that the GOP is bankrupt? There was an opportunity to build new party leaders over these years, but it hasn’t happened. The Bush name, this time Jeb, was bankrupt. Neither the Tea Party wing, with its unappetizing Ted Cruz preaching, nor the Libertarians with their Ayn Rand altered reality, stirred much enthusiasm given that their goals and philosophies are diametrically opposed to that of the big banks and corporations. How did the Confederates get in this party, and these other people who don’t really belong?

It goes back to the race issue, as usual, and the wooing of aggrieved white Southern voters into their ranks. As the Democrats embraced the liberal view on “race mixing,” these people became de facto Republicans in the national elections. They would vote on anybody, from McCain to Romney to Trump to George Wallace.

To expand the party base, the GOP could welcome the white South based on white business values, free enterprise without government interference, which has forever fueled the big banks and corporations party. Chambers of Commerce were all in line. Civil rights legislation was not needed, they professed, and the rights of the states must be upheld against the ‘communism’ represented by liberal people.

Along this same time, the party would welcome in Ron Paul and the Libertarians, built around their common views of a very limited government, in civil rights matters anyway. It truly bothers Rand Paul that people who own a business can’t serve who they want without government restrictions.

Later the Tea Party could find a home in the GOP stew in their rebellion against bank bail-outs, big government and tax-and- spend liberalism. Sure take them all in, no matter that the GOP represented the very bank bail-outs they were protesting against. And those bail-outs were fomented by the Bush regime even as Obama was barely being installed in office. But Obama was in power now, and was also black, very likely born in Africa.

But in the Republican primaries of 2016, the party found dramatically that these combined diffuse elements within their ranks had no appealing philosophy to share, and the clown car of posers and pontificators rose up to bite them and virtually wreck the party.

Only a fraction of the U.S. populace votes in Republican primaries, and within this finite corral, the supporters of a radical anti-government view, haters of the usual politicians, and acrimonious at heart, can take command. One could win the presidency with only about 25 percent of Americans supporting you, given that more than 50 percent don’t vote at all. It happened, and it has been a shocking wake-up call.

With 17 GOP candidates on stage, the one who could and did attract the most popularity was the one calling for business solutions and down with politics. He proceeded to cut down and destroy each contender for command — lying Ted … do- nothing Bush … quirky Carson … little Rubio. His ‘mad as hell’ support grew as his opponents dwindled.

He showed a bastion of power in the states of the Old Confederacy, who are only in the GOP since they are less insistent than the Democrats on civil rights issues and proved once again that they will vote for anybody who isn’t a liberal Democrat, and all Democrats are too liberal.

In November, the GOP’s mad alliances still comprised a minority of voters, but they prevailed by less than 1 percent in several key states, took all the electoral votes there and managed to win. It has truly been a shock to the ‘system.’

Republicans in Washington now reap the whirlwind of this massive dysfunction. It seems unprecedented in American history. Given that the President exhibits psychotic behavior makes the future altogether uncertain.

But if the Republicans truly want to re-build a great party with business priorities after Trump’s impeachment, they need to concentrate on improving both sides of the management-labor conflict. Capitalists need to develop much greater concern for employing Americans in order to generate the overall prosperity that everyone needs.

Americans need more jobs, they don’t need them to migrate to third world countries. Our own country needs investment above and beyond global concerns and not be afflicted with their offshore tax havens. American business needs to pay a fair share of taxes and take a fair share of responsibility in the welfare of their workers and the growth of our economy, and quit dodging taxes and shifting their big money away from our many needs.

If the Republicans want to rebuild themselves as the American business party — the one that best represents the interests of American business — then it needs to shuck the anti-business and white supremacy elements from its current midst and concentrate on its mission.

This also requires a disdain of any globalist activities that supersede the economic and quality of life needs of our own nation. Workers are part of American business and should be part of the platform. When an American business sets up global arrangements to utilize cheap sweat shop labor, often children, they should be in conflict with their own American Business party. These are the kind of American Republicans that we need, and they will have resounding success with the American voter. The focus should on creating American jobs and giving up their globalistic greed.

But this is a rational solution to the Republican dilemma. It remains to be seen whether it emerges as a political one.

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James Wayne Cleveland

James Wayne Cleveland

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Jim Cleveland retired from a career in public relations to become a writer and publisher. He has 16 books and 12 CDs anchored in new spirituality values.