I cast my first vote in a presidential election for Michael Dukakis. Undeterred by that debacle, I cast my next presidential vote for Bill Clinton. I remember thinking at the time that the nation had dodged a potentially lethal bullet by avoiding a second Bush the First presidency. How sad, then, is it now that I find myself looking back longingly at the elder Bush as a model of decorum and decency--a paragon the likes of which I fear we will never see again in the Republican party?
The GOP likes to call itself the party of Lincoln. Obviously, that is no longer the case. But the Republicans are no longer even the party of Teddy Roosevelt or Eisenhower. I don't even think they can be considered the party of Nixon! Granted, I was lacking in political awareness during the Nixon years; as a toddler, my chief political concerns revolved around whether a parental filibuster would deny me pudding. But from everything I've read about him, I conclude that Nixon, were he alive to run for office today, would probably have to run as a Democrat. If not a Green.
In my life, I have lived in New York and California--along with a brief childhood residency in Massachusetts. I am, in other words, a Blue State citizen, through and through. And despite my ever-deepening despair at the political direction this country is taking, I have always clung to a certain faith that people who disagree with me politically are, on the whole, decent human beings. It is this faith that allowed me to maintain sanity during the George W. years and that has allowed me to ponder the prospect of a Romney presidency without succumbing to abject terror: A belief that, if a large proportion of my fellow citizens were willing to take a flyer on these people, I should at least give them the benefit of the doubt. I can't feel that way anymore.
With the remarks of Rep. Todd "legitimate rape" Akin, some line has finally been crossed. Not so much that he said it--that could just be chalked up to utter ignorance and/or personal misogyny. But the fact that ANY Republican is supporting him, is apologizing for him--presumably only because he is a Republican--casts the entire party as a den of anti-intellectual, uncaring, and hateful barbarians. (And if you say that all politicians would rush to such partisan defense, you're wrong: If Obama had said the same things Akin said, Nancy Pelosi would be screaming for his head.)
The Republican Party is dangerous and evil. If elected, they will drag this country down to third-world status. I struggle to cling to hope.