Frank Schaeffer, a survivor of polio, an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood, and many years as a right-wing Republican, says:
While Republicans are concentrating on winning in November it seems to me that they have lost sight of the fact that this moment has far greater significance than whatever happens in electoral politics this year. If you listen to the silly chatter on FOX News, or talk radio, or read the likes of Dr. Dobson, Pat Buchanan and William Kristol and absorb their sophomoric take on Obama, his patriotism, his flag pin, his wife’s patriotism, etc., etc., the question arises: do they know what planet they are on or what century they are in?
Well, no, they don’t.
How Republicans, Democrats, and independent voters react to Obama’s candidacy will define us all in ways that today can hardly be imagined. While most Republicans (and many Democrats too) seem to be concentrating on present and narrowly defined victory, the real issue is how we all will be perceived in the future. Our great, great grandchildren will pass judgment on us, and so will the world.
And so will God. And much sooner than your great grandchildren will. And when they whine, “We thought he was a secret Muslim,” and God says, “So??” they’re going to soil themselves.
Simply put: Republican strategists who think that business-as-usual — i.e., the slanderous politics of the past 30 years — will take care of matters this time around are deluded. Worse than that, they will doom the reputation of the Republican Party and turn it into a marginal footnote of American history if they keep trivializing this historic event. That is too bad because, as I said, we need a two party system.
No, they won’t be a marginal footnote; they’ll be a big footnote; because the havoc of self-delusional insincerity and false values the Republicans have wrought on themselves and this society will boggle historians for many decades.
Senator Obama is not just a “historic black candidate.” He turns out to be a profoundly inspirational person. For a start he is not beating the drum for fear as the means to motivate votes. This is a huge change from Bush and the paranoid distrust of the “other” that the Bush years will be remembered for. There are echoes of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt in the measured and sane Obama candidacy. There is the best of the American story in his personal history. The man radiates a steady decency, compassion and profound wisdom that is rare at any time in politics, but following the embarrassment of George W. Bush comes like cold water to those stuck in an interminable desert.
Yes. . . Profoundly inspirational; something so new and unheralded in American politics that very few of the Republicans Frank is addressing will ever be able to let go of their sharade long enough to glimpse the reality of this moment. Too bad. So sad.
The Republicans are going to look as out of touch a few years from now as did the isolationists and “America First” folks after World War II. Before the war they were active in the prewar run up and they seemed very much in the game, even relevant. But the isolationists didn’t understand the fact that the world had changed, and left them and their interests stranded. The globe was smaller than they figured and they marginalized themselves. Forces beyond their political control were unleashed on them. And by the end of World War II the entire world map was redrawn. There was no room left for them on the political map either. They went from serious to joke status in a heartbeat.
That’s the fate that awaits the Republicans today if they persist in trivializing Obama. As they prepare their slimy little Rovian attacks on Michelle Obama, and her “lack of patriotism,” on Senator Obama and his “un-American” former pastor, and as the racial innuendo and the use of Obama’s middle name, etc., etc., morphs into an updated version of “swift boating” the Republicans are more or less signing their death warrant. They are about to become a minority party perceived as controlled by silly half-educated white men, cranks, racists and windbags. The writing is on the wall. If fools like the FOX News folks are the face of the Republican Party in this election, the Republicans are done. It will not be forgotten that the Republicans pissed on a shining moment of opportunity and could do no better than snicker at a moment when the rest of the world looked at the Obama moment in awe and renewed respect for America.
One more thing. If it’s really a fight McCain wants, it’s a fight he’ll get.