There once was a Republican Party. It had a set of principles that formed the basis of a defined ideology. To be sure, I didn’t subscribe to those principles nor agree with the ideology they supported. But at least there were principles and an ideology, providing the balance a democratic society needs. That party no longer exists. Judging by the email traffic generated by its leaders and candidates, the party, driven by cowardice, lies, and fear has shed itself of all principles and ideology and has devolved into a cult of personality based on perceived grievances. It has become the Party of Lamentations.
The party’s leaders and their candidates are a whiny bunch of con artists and hypocrites. I get about 15-30 emails, and sometimes more (I often get 4-5 of the same one), a day from them. I have no idea how I got on their mailing list. But I’m glad I am because annoying as the daily barrage of emails is, it provides insight into the mentality of the Party leaders and their candidates. The emails are basically boilerplate, that is, many of them are virtually identical in their content and tone and sometimes in their wording.
Their chief commonality is that they all ask for money, and they commit you to receiving even more solicitations and propaganda. The fine print (which you almost need a magnifying glass to read) says: “By providing your cell phone or mobile phone number you are consenting to receive calls and texts … from the National Republican Congressional Committee.” As discussed below, the emails are bereft of meaningful information.
The liberals are coming!
The Party of Lamentations emails are written for what the leaders and candidates deem to be a stupid audience (more on that below). And they warn, in panicky language, that if I don’t give money to whoever sent the email, the Biden-Pelosi-Harris-Schumer liberals will ruin the country by imposing their –Gasp!! –liberal agenda.
It’s worth noting here that “liberal” derives from the Latin “liberalis,” – noble, gracious, munificent, generous. Historically, its meaning, at different times, entailed “generous … selfless, magnanimous” as well as “free from restraint in speech or action.” In the 1700s, the Enlightenment cemented its meaning as “free from prejudice, tolerant, not bigoted or narrow.” (Online Etymology Dictionary) Hardly something to be afraid of.
American icon Eleanor Roosevelt wrote that “Long ago, there was a noble word, liberal, which derives from the word free. Now a strange thing happened to that word. A man named Hitler made it a term of abuse, a matter of suspicion … And then another man named McCarthy cast the same opprobrium on the word … We must cherish and honor the word free or it will cease to apply to us. And that would be an inconceivable situation.” (Eleanor Roosevelt, Tomorrow Is Now: It Is Today That We Must Create the World of the Future, Penguin Classics, 1963)
Let’s hate liberals but enjoy liberalism…
I’ve said the following before in this space and elsewhere, but it bears repeating: Demonizing liberals and liberalism makes no sense in light of reality. For, liberals have been the moving force behind most of what we can all agree is progress in the country. Just a few examples to make the point:
It was the liberals that led the suffrage movement and won for women the right to vote. The labor movement, led by liberals, eliminated oppressive practices such as exploitative child labor and 12-hour workdays and laid the foundation for a true middle class to emerge. FDR’s liberalism helped the country get out of the Great Depression and established the lifeguard Social Security program. And LBJ’s DNA is all over the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and Medicare, all liberal-driven initiatives.
It was the liberals who stood with the blacks as they took on the states’ righters and the KKK. It was the liberals who stood up to Joseph McCarthy as he destroyed people’s lives and careers through lies and slanders about Communist ties. It was the liberals who marched and picketed with farm workers as they fought for a living wage and decent working conditions. It was the liberals whose lobbying and other measures resulted in the preservation of millions of acres of federal and other lands that are now parks and reserves enjoyed by millions of Americans and Americans having clean water to drink and clean air to breathe.
Ironically – or more accurately, hypocritically – many of those who demonize liberals and liberalism are enjoying the fruits of liberalism and the work of liberals. For example, conservative women exercise their right to vote. Elderly conservatives receive Social Security and use Medicare. Conservative union members enjoy the workplace and wage benefits unionism provides. Conservatives drink clean water, breathe clean air, and enjoy national parks.
Why bother with meaningful content?
As noted above, the Republican emails I receive are bereft of meaningful content. They are for the most part one of several types: (1) The panicky (“The liberals are coming!”); (2) You must elect me (so I can implement Trump’s agenda); (3) Trump endorsed me; (4) Did you see me (on one or another right-wing propaganda show)?; (5) The self-important (“They’re coming after me!”).
Then there are the scolding ones. These are usually from Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Newt Gingrich, or Kevin McCarthy. They start out with “Have you given up on Trump?” They then go into a scolding litany along the lines of “I (Eric Trump) emailed you … Sean Spicer emailed you … Kevin McCarthy emailed you … My brother emailed you … Now, I’m emailing you again … This is my FINAL message to you.” [Others in similar litanies are Sean Spicer, Tim Scott, Steve Scalise, Elise Stefanik.]
Two of Kevin McCarthy’s gems: “So, Fellow Conservative … House Leadership is urgently awaiting your response. Fail to answer, and we’ll be forced to assume you’ve sided with the Socialists in Congress,” and “I can’t believe you call yourself a top patriot if you haven’t (officially joined the GOP Inner Leadership Circle)!”
You gotta be stupid…
The leaders and candidates of the Party of Lamentations believe the recipients of their emails are stupid folks. Here’s one of their standard lines: “We just got off the phone with President Trump. He was reviewing the 2020 End-of-Year Donor List and noticed that your name was MISSING [and asked us to reach out to you personally].” (“Missing” in italics and in red.) So, the recipient is asked to believe that Trump went over the list of all donors and said, “Joe Jones from [a small town in one of the 50 states] isn’t on the list … contact him and ask him what’s going on.”
Another standard line: “Patriot, There are only 12 special-edition Trump 45 mugs remaining … [we set one aside for you, but] Due to the extremely low inventory of this mug, we can only guarantee a mug for you if you order in the next 20 MINUTES.” The “order,” of course, is in the form of a contribution ranging from $50 to $2,000 or more. So, the recipient is asked to believe that of all the millions of people in the U.S., he or she is among the 12 the Party of Lamentations selected to set aside a mug for.
Another doozy: “Fellow Patriot, The FBI arrested a woman from Florida over the U.S. Capitol riot (on Jan.6, 2021). She did nothing wrong. [The person] was charged with tampering or destruction of records and documents, entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds … Since when is lawfully protesting in the People’s House a crime? … [the person arrested] and others like her didn’t steal or vandalize Nancy Pelosi’s office; they simply walked into the Capitol Complex and rightfully protested the ‘irregularities’ in the 2020 Election.” So, the recipient is asked to believe what Trump and his cultists say about the Jan. 6 insurrection rather than the violence and destruction he or she saw with his/her own eyes.
The Lamentations Party leaders and candidates obviously believe the recipients of their emails are downright stupid and will believe the premises of the above examples. Unfortunately, many will prove them right. Those Republicans who still traffic in truth and principles have a steep hill to climb if they are to save their party from imploding irrevocably. c/s