Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Call from a Republican Fundraiser

He sounds like a brown-noser from the get-go. He is calling from the Republican National Committee. They want to "honor" me for my "leadership", at an ass-kissing dinner in Washington, for which privilege I would have to pay a lot of moolah, which would of course go into the Republican war chest. The guy sounds genuinely shocked when I tell him that I disagree with everything they've done lately, so they can count me out until they have undertaken some serious reform, starting at the top. He whines and tries to get me to listen to a taped message from his boss (some slimebag congressman from a state which still uses the barter system). He tells me the tape is all about how they're going to lower my taxes. I tell him I know the message and don't need to hear it again. I have other concerns. So he whines some more about how, if I come to this dinner, where they're going to "honor" me, I can get my message out then. Right. As though they care, once they have my money. I tell him he can relay my message to them right now: Reform, or else.

Afterward, I reflect on this, and I realize nothing has changed. The bedrock of the Republican party is people with money, and the appeal the party always offered them was greed, pure and simple. That strategy, of course, was a minority strategy. To win, they had to find other voters. Since the traditional elitist message was not likely to resonate with voters in the heartland, they had to find some other form of common cause with those people. They found it in hate: hate for the newly uppity blacks; hate for immigrants (unless they are cleaning your toilets); hate for all this dangerous free thinking that happens in big cities and big universities; hate for non-christians, who can't be counted on to obey orders. Hate for anything new. And it worked. So the Republicans became the majority party.

Unfortunately, the old guard in the GOP sold the party's soul to the religious right and the skinheads. Suddenly, a lot of the things that are necessary to build their kind of wealth are under attack, by the folks they invited into the tent. Education. Science. Immigration. Diversity. The problem is that you can't build an alliance forever based on hate. A lasting mission needs something positive to aim for. Hating everyone who is not like you doesn't fill the bill.

Meanwhile, there is a room full of geeks somewhere in Washington, phoning away, still trying to find people they think have money (if they saw my bank account, they would stop calling), and who will sell out every semblance of principle in exchange for a tax break. What the geeks don't get is that the people who are generating the new wealth in this country have values other than pure greed. We are looking for a home, and today's GOP ain't it.


Post a Comment

<< Home