I don’t think I’ve changed much in the half century and more that I’ve been politically aware.
I was and remain a social progressive and a fiscal moderate. I don’t even recognize the actual meaning of those terms when they are bandied about by the likes of Paul Ryan and, I suppose, that cultural lion of the right, Rush Limbaugh.
A long time ago, when the Democrats were prosecuting a dreadful, wrong headed and ultimately losing war in Vietnam, and the party was filled with religious and racists, bigots, and dominated by intellectual yahoos, I (briefly) became a Republican. I admit it: I voted for Richard Nixon, first term.
By then I was repelled by what passed for intellectual honesty among the Democrats, and the inbred hatred and discrimination. I was attracted to the GOP by a promise to end the war and in part because educated rational thought was applauded and celebrated there, even when it didn’t line up 100 percent with the platform.
It really WAS a big tent. Big enough so that Nelson Rockefeller and I like both fit comfortably inside.
Lyndon Johnson, of whom at the time because of the disaster in Vietnam, I could not imagine anything positive, was responsible for Medicare, Medicaid, for the “voting rights act”, and the equal rights act, Head Start. It was on the subject of rights for African Americans that all of the bigots in the Democratic Party fled en masse to the GOP, where they were not just welcomed but celebrated for their ignorance.
I choose to think that the Democrats offloaded all the loons, wackos, bigots, racists and yahoos on the right. They seemed to fit right in. Still do.
The Republican Party not only made racism and bigotry somehow respectable, they found NEW things on which to discriminate.
It comes as no surprise that, notwithstanding their false protestations of “change” to the contrary, the Virginia GOP–which has forever been tainted with the stench of anti-Semitism–continues to nominate bigots of every stripe for office. This is what the party leadership and the majority of their donors and voters want.
But not all. Democrats lack a mandatory litmus test of hating members of the other party as a prerequisite for club membership. My husband, my son, and future daughter in law are all Republicans of the live-and-let-live and moderate fiscal view variety. I doubt if ANY of them could be nominated for anything.
It’s worth reminding ourselves of the following: while all the anti-education folks, haters, gun nuts, so called “evangelicals” bigots (and on this latter I profess relief-they no longer even call themselves Christians, because they are not), fascists, misogynists and flat earth earthers adhere to the GOP, not every Republican is one of these.
On the national level the GOP at least seem to understand, dimly, that hate and exclusion isn’t a long-term survival strategy, and I understand would be worthies are now taking lessons, not on stopping hate, but in lying about it a little less obviously.
But here in the Old Dominion, they apparently didn’t get the memo. They were bigots before. They’re bigots AND liars now.
I doubt they’d know truth, honesty or fair play if it came up and bit them on the ankle.