Sunday, August 9, 2015

The GOP Debate: A Spectacle of Depravity

Scott Olson/Getty Images
The first Republican debate of the primary season, held several days ago, illustrates very well why I barely bother to address the right wing in America. The utter detachment from reality that's increasingly happened among so-called conservatives in America and particularly within the Republican Party is so self-evident (or at least should be) that commenting on it feels superfluous. Accordingly, I'll simply be presenting here, in no particular order, several moments or aspects of the debate that illustrate how thoroughly, and disturbingly, the right wing in America has removed itself from rationality, sanity, and human decency. I won't bother to comment on each of the listed items one by one--they speak for themselves.

  • Mike Huckabee's comments on the military. Mike Huckabee informed us that the purpose of the military is to "kill people and break things." Therefore, in his view, the military should not offer sex-change operations to those in its service. Presumably, he also opposes lifting the ban on transgender people in the military, as that was what he was actually asked about. 
  • Scott Walker opposes a mother's life exception for abortion. Scott Walker, one of the more supposedly mainstream candidates, stated that he believes abortion should be illegal in all cases, including when the mother's life is at risk. He called this "a position that's in line with everyday America," despite Megyn Kelly having just stated that eighty-three percent of the American public disagrees with this view.
  • Basically everything Donald Trump said and did. Donald Trump boasted about how he'd bought off politicians, expanded on his idea that the Mexican government is actually sending their undesirables here so we can take care of them, called political correctness the "big problem" in the United States, and lashed out at Megyn Kelly for asking him about disparaging comments he'd made about women. 
  • Ted Cruz's solution to ISIS. Ted Cruz rejected the idea that jihadism can be combated through "chang[ing] the conditions on the ground so that young men are not in poverty and susceptible to radicalization" as "nonsense." His proposed solution was to make it clear that by taking up jihad against America "you are signing your death warrant." He did not address the fact that jihadists undertake suicide attacks (such as the 9/11 attacks) seemingly unfazed by the prospect of their own mortality. 
  • Huckabee wants fertilized eggs to have constitutional rights. Mike Huckabee stated that a sperm and egg become a person entitled to constitutional rights "at the moment of conception." He followed this remark up by commenting that, because the Supreme Court isn't God, the policy set by Roe v. Wade should be changed, presumably unilaterally by the executive branch. 
  • Walker attempts to tie Iran and ISIS. Scott Walker commented that the Iran deal that was recently finalized is "not just bad with Iran, this is bad with ISIS. It is tied together." Evidently, he sees some connection between the Shia regime and the radical Sunni militia it's actively fighting against, alongside the United States. 
  • Jeb Bush accuses Obama and Clinton of dividing the country every day. Jeb Bush stated that "[w]e’re not going [to] win by doing what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton do each and every day. Dividing the country. Saying, creating a grievance kind of environment." 
  • Bush blames Obama for ISIS. While calling the the invasion of Iraq a "mistake," Bush also blamed Obama for creating ISIS when he "abandoned Iraq" by following the withdrawal timeline agreed to by Jeb's brother, George W. Bush. 
  • Chris Christie attacks Rand Paul. Because of Paul's opposition to bulk collection of phone records by the NSA, Christie stated that he believes we can assign blame to Paul for future terrorist attacks. He also accused Paul of "putting our country at risk" by delaying the renewal of the PATRIOT Act. 
As I stated, each of these items speaks for itself. Frighteningly, Jeb Bush--the brother (not just by blood but by ideology) of the most right-wing president in recent history--came off as a voice of reason compared to many other candidates. John Kasich, the governor of my home state (whose legacy includes attempted union-busting and disenfranchisement of minorities), seemed like a warm-hearted humanitarian. From Trump, Huckabee, and Cruz, there was very much a feeling (in my opinion) of them having tapped into widespread popular discontent and attempting to harness it in very ugly ways, disturbingly reminiscent of fascist movements both in the past and present.

For purely entertainment value, the debate ranks highly. As a look at the high-level candidates vying for the highest office in the most powerful country on Earth, it's surreal in how unnerving it is. The Republican Party has abandoned any resemblance to a normal political party functioning within a parliamentary democracy. One can only hope it's sown the seeds of its own downfall.

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