Summer has come to D.C. and with it the silly season. There's little genuine political news of the pulse-throbbing sort, so the GOP and the media have been trying valiantly to gin some up, chiefly the so-called "scandals". The latest of these is a video of IRS employees line-dancing. The only real scandal is that they, like most Americans, are so overweight (like me) and dance so badly (I dance well). Basically it's a big yawn.
The real story right now is actually a high drama that is being largely ignored by the media. It is the crushing choice that confronts the GOP: go with immigration reform or fight it tooth and nail. This is virtually a life and death decision for the GOP, and the decision will likely determine American politics for decades to come. It will not only affect the attitude toward the GOP of America's fastest growing segment of the population, i.e. the Latino community, but also the other fast-growing segment, America's young people.
If the GOP is to have any hope of significant support from these two segments in future elections, it has got to do something meaningful to show Latinos that the GOP doesn't hate them. The problem is that the GOP actually does hate Latinos. Not everybody in the Republican party despises Latinos, but most of its base does and - sorry to say - so do a significant number of its political leaders and its so-called intellectuals. Latinos know, for example, whom Romney was including in that hated 47% he infamously spoke against in Florida. They know that he's one of the uppity rich who never notice the waiter, the housemaid in the hotel, the nurses who care for the families of the rich in hospitals. All "menials" and people of color are invisible to these GOP rich. That's why the waiter at the Boca Raton GOP fund-raiser could film Romney without being noticed. The waiter wasn't Latino but he was invisible as a menial. Who could possibly care about such people?
And what of Romney's yard help in Massachusetts? When he expressed concern about "illegals" working on his property, it wasn't because he was worried about them not getting a just wage or health insurance. It was because he didn't want to get caught hiring "illegals" in an election year. So much for being a "good guy" bishop of his church.
Yes, indeed. the GOP has a lot of fence-mending to do with Latinos. But why, you ask, must the GOP be nicer to Latinos if it wants to mend fences with young voters? Part of the answer was revealed this week by the national GOP college student organization which has done an in-depth study of young voters' attitudes toward the GOP. It was a downer for the GOP kids to hear the news: young voters perceive the GOP as hard-hearted, narrow-minded, prejudiced, white, male and old. In general, young voters don't want to have anything to do with the GOP no matter what ethnicity the voters are.
This is because non-Latino young people are pals with their Latino contemporaries to an extent never seen before in the USA. Race and ethnicity barriers have dropped most sharply and quickly among our young. If anything speaks well of America's schools and educational program, this non-prejudiced attitude certainly does. It's a new day in America. Those who can't go along are going to be left out, namely the hard-hearted, narrow-minded, prejudiced, white, male and old.
Clearly the GOP has to do something to fix its "brand". But because the GOP base so hates the Latinos, the GOP lawmakers in D.C. are going to have a dreadful time trying to join in the passage of the immigration reform bill. Any Republican who votes for such a bill faces a potential primary fight back home from the righties in his party. The whole GOP will be openly grabbed by the far-right, and the GOP will never win another national election and few statewide ones outside the South. Its racist base will have consumed the whole donut.
So the GOP is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't. It yoked itself to racism beginning with Nixon's "Southern Strategy", it stoked its racist appeal with the coded language of Reagan, and for the last five years it has stripped away all codes and pretense and been unabashedly racist. For forty-five years, it has made a deal with the devil, and now it has begun paying the price. It's a fearful price, perhaps the end of the Republican party.
But it couldn't be happening to a more deserving bunch of people. Watching the pigeons coming home to roost on the GOP, and doing what pigeons do best, really makes my day for a whole lot of days ahead!
Years and years of days ahead! There is some justice in this old world after all!