In a sharp piece in the NY Times, entitled "G.O.P. GRIEF AND GRIEVING," Charles M. Blow describes the stages of death now taking place in the Republican Party, according to the schema outlined in Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' classic book on the subject: "ON DEATH AND DYING."
I was just having this very same discussion last night with my dear old friend, Steve. We were marveling at the unbelievably counterproductive, self-annihilating actions and attitudes displayed by the right wing of our country since Barack Obama's election. Indeed, it appears as if their scorched-earth behavior is a kind of depressed giving up, or a manic suicidal gesture, or both.
Here's Charles Blow:
"The attack on the Republican establishment by the tea party folks grabs the gaze like a really bad horror flick — some version of 'Hee Haw' meets '28 Days Later.' It’s fascinating. But it also raises a serious question: Are these the desperate thrashings of a dying movement or the labor pains of a new one? My money is on the former. Anyone who says that this is the dawn of a new age of conservatism is engaging in wishful thinking on a delusional scale.
"Simply put," Blow continues, "it’s about fear-fueled anger. But anger is not an idea. It's not a plan. And it's not a vision for the future. It is, however, the second stage of grief, right after denial and before bargaining."
Steve expressed concern for the well-being of President Obama, though not so much for fear of anyone from the right. I do agree with Charles Blow that the rantings of the right (there is no right-wing philosophy anymore) are the dying gasps of a soon-to-be extinct group of dinosaurs. But the danger to Obama could come from the monied interests who profit from war, corporatism and economic imperialism if the young president makes a restrictive turn in those areas. JFK wasn't killed in 1963 because he was starting to support civil rights or social liberalism, but because he was starting to turn against the money-making machine known as the Viet Nam War. President Eisenhower ominously warned us all of this situation in his farewell address when he expressed grave concerns about the growing power of the "military-industrial complex."
But anyway, that's another story, though a serious one.
Here's more from Charles Blow on the death and dying of the right:
"The right is on the wrong side of history. The demographics of the country are rapidly changing, young people are becoming increasingly liberal on social issues, and rigid, dogmatic religious stricture is loosening its grip on the throat of our culture. The right has seen the enemy, and he is the future. Republicans were more than twice as likely as Democrats and a third more likely as independents to have a pessimistic outlook for the country over the next 20 years. That might be the fourth stage of grief: depression. The Republican brand already has begun a slow slide into obscurity. And turning further right only hastens its demise. Quiet as it’s kept, many in the party know this. That, alas, is called acceptance."
Nicely done, Charles!