The Art of Sinking

     Leaders of today’s Republican Party bring to their task two talents which were never granted in so copious a measure to any other human beings – the talent of believing without a reason, and the talent of hating without a provocation.
     They would have us believe that a people who enjoy greater access to food, medicine, clothing, travel, entertainment, information and military protection than any people in history; a people who for years have refused, with open eyes, to tax themselves to pay for their own excesses; a people who call themselves a nation of businessmen yet refuse to abide by the simplest rule of business: that people should pay their own bills; a people who are dying in untold numbers because of their own fatness; the Republican Party would have us believe that these people, today’s Americans, are suffering from calamities greater than those ever inflicted upon any other generation of mankind, and that the man responsible for it is a black gentleman who has been in office for less than 2 years.
     Pardon me if I doubt it.
     This is a party that has ruled the nation for 20 of the past 30 years, and in those 20 years has demonstrated, over and over again, that it has just enough ability to deceive, and just enough religion to be intolerant.
     What theologians call the spiritual sins are this party’s cardinal virtues: pride, hatred, intolerance, and the insatiable thirst of vengeance. These passions they disguise under the name of duties, and then hold them up for the admiration of mankind.
     This is a party that parades its contempt of human learning and its scorn of science.
     The so-called tenets of their so-called philosophy are based upon nothing at all. They never see, or consider, more of any question than is necessary to furnish the material for a slogan.
     Before the entire world, in the light of day, they refuse to participate in enacting legislation that might ameliorate, or lead the nation out of, the morass into which they led us, because to do so might assist a few members of the other party.
     Never before in history has one-half of our nation refused to act, to perform simple acts that most reasonable men and women would consider simple human duties, because to do so might help the other half of the nation.
     Never before has party spirit justified and consecrated acts which, in other times, would be considered treason.
     The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it. Yet today’s Republicans believe that the way back to power is through endless abuse.
     Then they have the unmitigated gall proclaim that they, and their religion, are being persecuted by their own government, by their own countrymen.
     But where, and how, and when, have the Republicans, or their religion, been persecuted?
     The only ill that has been done them, if an ill it be at all, is that they have not been permitted to carry absolutely everything before them, in this country as well as in others: to persecute whom they choose, to make war upon whom they choose, to dispense the public’s billions to whatever private parties they like, and to pay taxes, or not pay taxes, at their own discretion.
     Their “persecution” is that they have been opposed in some things, and not allowed to do them, or to force others to do them, because the majority of the country does not support it.
     But that is not persecution, and it certainly is not tyranny. It is, in fact, a principle upon which the country was founded.
     The unlimited, and unmonitored, expense of public dollars for private gain is their idea of loyalty, and the expenditure of public dollars for public good is their definition of tyranny.
     Why the Democratic Party has allowed this venomous nonsystem of nonthought to occupy the center of the national dialogue is beyond me. Our nation would not have become so vicious and brainless as it has become had the Democrats not created a political vacuum by being, for two years, so pusillanimous, spineless and self-debased.
     While the Republicans stood for self-seeking lies, pimping of the truth, corruption, and mass murder, Democrats responded by standing for nothing.
     And people, given a chance to vote, will generally choose something rather than nothing.
     I am not free of sin here. I copied most of this column, often word for word, from Thomas Macaulay’s essays, and his History of England.
     Most of this column is 180 years old. It was written by someone else -a historian who spent a great part of his life pondering why his nation, the best-governed and freest in the world, whose people were equally divided between two parties and two religions that sprang from the same source, descended into decades of civil wars, in which neighbors and countrymen killed one another by the thousands, merely because of the way they thought.

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