HEY! THESE ARE WABBITS! My wife used to be a high-school English teacher.
One year, she had the misfortune of having to instruct a rather dim young woman who was also saddled with a mild speech impediment. The class was working its way through Richard Adams' Watership Down.
About three-quarters of the way through the novel, this student's hand suddenly shot up. She had had a major realization—an epiphany, really:
"Hey! These are wabbits!"
Lately, I'm finding that I identify more and more with that young woman (except for the speech impediment, and I had one of those too when I was a little kid).
During all those long years when I voted mostly Republican, I still like to feel that I was doing what was best for the country. I was a classic neocon: strong supporter of Israel and a believer that people deprived of Western-style freedoms would embrace Western-style freedoms if given a chance.
I still support Israel, although you're hearing more and more these days from the Litvak lunatic fringe and I have little use for them.
But I think our experience in both Iraq and Afghanistan is more than sufficient to show that if you give some freedom-deprived peoples a taste of Western liberties, they'll basically piss all over them. Which means, to me, that Western-style liberties just aren't what some people want after all. A rather inconvenient truth, but there it is.
Yet any failures of the "neocon revolution," such as it was, would not have been enough to drive me away from the GOP. At first I paid little attention to the so-called "Tea Party" faction, since they seemed to me just another group of extremist basket cases that we've always had tucked away in the nooks and hollows of Wisconsin (they used to be called "tax protesters," and they'd shoot you if you strayed onto their property).
But suddenly one day (around the time I wrote this) I woke up and realized that the neocons were gone and the Tea Party had taken over. And that's when I had my own epiphany:
"Hey! These are fascists!"
The old GOP's "small government" had suddenly become "no government." In government's place was a stark, brutal world that would be run entirely by the very wealthy (the "makers," as Paul Ryan, the architect of Tea Party fascism, famously put it) , where the "takers" (Ryan again) would be penalized by ultimately having to slave away for third-world wages, without recourse to niceties like health insurance that would theretofore be reserved for the "makers," who would also be rewarded with pilfered Social Security monies and government pension funds looted from civil servants to enrich themselves to even more obscene levels. That this kind of system would lead (probably sooner rather than later) to violent revolution—see "France," "Russia"—was the least of the Tea Partyers' concerns. And the US Supreme Court helped the Partyers immensely when it handed down its "Citizens United" ruling... with results such as the one where three billionaires had more influence on our last gubernatorial election than Wisconsin's 5.5 million citizens combined.
Although all signs indicate that Paul Ryan originated this dangerous new American fascism with his Ayn Rand fixation and longtime subservience to large corporate interests in and around his hometown of Janesville, WI (which has since all but disowned him), the cancer has spread elsewhere.
A couple states to the southwest, Governor Sam Brownback and his Tea Party pals are conducting an "experiment" (their own term) to see what happens when you cut education and social services to the bone and give the money to a few rich folks. (Result: You get dumber kids, more dead people, and richer rich folks, but hey, whatever, right?).