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Behind all the fact-defying hyperbole, Republicans are driven by hate, racism and much more.
Republicans fear and oppose tolerance, equality, fairness and elimination of discrimination based on race, gender or nationality.
The GOP is a party of bigots and the government is shut down today for no other reason than a deep seeded hatred of a black president and a society that is changing to welcome gays and those of differing religious, cultural or psychological beliefs into our midst.
I spent most of my 15 years in politics either working for GOP members of Congress or the committees that support their party or dealing — often with difficulty — with those who genuflect to the vocal right wing that controls the party of the elephant.
Although I never registered as a Republican or considered myself a party member, I took their money and looked the other way when it came to the GOP’s disgraceful, disruptive and dangerous beliefs and activities.
I finally walked away when a GOP consulting firm ordered me to craft a campaign that would smear gays with lies and innuendos because that community supported the opponent of the Republican candidate represented by the firm.
I made a lot of money as an operative for Republicans. I also went spent the end of each day drowning my guilt with singe-malt scotch. It has taken 19 years, four months and four days as a coin-carrying member of Alcoholics Anonymous to deal with that part of my life.
Politics, at one time, was driven by issues and not personalities. Those on opposite sides of the political aisles fought like cats and dogs over issues during the day, then spent social time together as friends and colleagues.
To borrow and adapt a phrase from the Mafia: It wasn’t personal, just business.
But that changed dramatically in 1994 when Republicans won control of Congress and let hate-driven leaders like Newt Gingrich control the party’s agenda. Gingrich, as Speaker, ran the House of Representatives with spite and personal vendettas. His actions drove black Omaha Congressman J.C. Watts from a leadership role in the House. Watts was also viewed as a “Republican in Name Only” (RINO) because he favored moderation on many issues.
More than one Republican has defended his racism not with a denial of his own racist beliefs but instead by pointing out that long-time West Virginia Democratic Senator Robert Byrd was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan. They fail to mention that the late Senator spent most of his remaining years in office apologizing and trying legislatively to make up for that period in his life.
The hatred and personal vendettas of Gingrich continues with Republicans on Capitol Hill today. The rabid right-wing that controls the party is driven by a tea party agenda that is racist in nature and intolerant in practice.
Last year, I attended a tea party meeting in Roanoke, Virginia, where I sat in the back and did not identify myself as either a reporter or a former Republican political operative. Over the next 90 minutes, I heard President Barack Obama referred to several times with the “N-word,” gays called “fags” or “queers” and Jews called ethnic names. All Obama programs were called “Socialistic” or “Communist.”
When I wrote about that meeting afterwards for a local newspaper, not one member or official of the tea party denied what was said or happened in the meeting. Their only claim was that I was “not a true American” because I questioned their beliefs and goals.
Thankfully, such bigots and haters are not the America that I know and love.
Sadly, however, they at the moment control the political party that controls the House of Representatives and has also brought the American government to a standstill.
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