OK, so here is a story about a prominent leader in the South Carolina Republican Party. Referring to a gorilla escaping from a local zoo, he said that it was probably "just one of Michelle's ancestors." Michelle Obama had just given a speech at SC State University. In his typical "I'm sorry you were offended" style apology, he also mentioned that he was joking not about the First Lady's race but about her assertion that we are all descended from apes (i.e. her support for the scientific understanding of human evolution).
Monday, June 15, 2009
It doesn't matter which interpretation you pick - this is what is wrong with the Republican Party. This guy is not just some crank. He has been a County party chairman and was the head of the state's election commission. And either he is a degenerate racist or - at best - a religious fanatic who makes jokes about evolution and science that would seem anachronistic to most Americans. He's a hold over from the old Scopes Monkey Trial days. He's like a character from "Inherit the Wind." Either way, he represents a part of American society that is clinging not to the 20th century but to the 19th.
The Republican party cannot hope to reestablish itself as a national party unless and until it ceases to be a force of anti-modernism. American society is founded on reason and modernity. From Jefferson and Madison to Lincoln and both Roosevelts, from Henry Ford and the Wright Brothers to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, from Henri and Bellows to Warhol, Pollack and Rothko, American society, politics, economics and culture has always been about modernity. The only exception to this in all our 400 year history, and it is a partial one at that, has been the slave holding South and its cultural descendants. Even there the forces of anti-modernism are only the local majority, not universal. For the Republican party to establish itself as the champion of anti-modernism is to accept permanent status as a regional party with a finite future even in that region.
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 7:09 AM