For the majority of the last thirty years, the Republican party has held the reins of government. Most of our presidents have been Republicans and they have had more often than not a majority in Congress. Since the beginning of the 21st century, they have led the country down a rather ruinous path. Our economic health as a nation has not been this poor since the Great Depression; we are embroiled in two different, un-winnable wars against enemies that we cannot easily find or identify; we have lost our moral high ground by torturing and unlawfully detaining our enemies, spying on our own citizens and rolling back or trampling upon rights guaranteed in our constitution. Our standing in the world has been diminished and tarnished by a foreign policy of unilateralism and belligerence; we have gone from being the nation that helped found the U.N. and the failed League of Nations to a country whose leadership felt that tact and diplomacy has made us weak.
Understandably, the people of this nation decided that enough was enough and voted a Democratic majority into congress in 2006 and two years later added to that majority as well as electing a Democratic president: only the third Democratic president to be elected since 1968. It's not only a indictment of the mismanagement of the country by the previous administration, it was indicative of the changing demographics within the nation. Whether anyone likes it or not, we are a much different nation than we were at the end of the 20th century. The United States that walked tall and alone in the world no longer exists. While we are certainly the sole, remaining military superpower but after years of intertwining our economy with the world economy we are on our way to being on a more even playing field where trade and commerce are concerned. The face of the nation is changing; we are a little less white, a little less Christian, basically a little less like anyone who has held the power in our country since its founding.
In my opinion, it is plainly evident that there is a lot of work that needs to be done. We have to define our goals in Afghanistan and Iraq; the banks need to be reeled in, placed under greater scrutiny and regulation; unemployment needs to be addressed; something has to be done about the inequality and inequity of the ever-widening gap between the richest and the poorest in our country; our education system is outdated and failing; for a wealthy, industrialized country we have an abysmal healthcare system in comparison to our peers; on and on and on goes the list.
Don't get me wrong; I love this country. I know that it is a blessing to be born in the United States and be a citizen of this nation. I don't want to live anywhere else. But my eyes are open. I know that racism is still prevalent in our day and time. I know that there are people born into poverty in our inner-cities whose lives are so bleak and barren of any promise that they turn to gangs, violence and drugs.
So, in the face of some of the greatest challenges in our country's history and as we move towards a future that is quickly evolving before our very eyes, what is the GOP doing?
Actually, worse than nothing. They are opposing each and every initiative being taken up by their Democratic counterparts. Slow-walking nominations of sorely needed government positions: several months into our swine flu pandemic they had to be shamed into confirming the president's nominee for Surgeon General. Doing everything possible to cloud and confuse the issues with misinformation and divisive, populist rhetoric: death panels, socialism, czars. And this is coming from the mainstream members of the party. I won't even go into the fringe elements like the birthers and 3%ers.
They complain that they "want their country back." I think that they have had it for long enough and I don't think that they deserve to get it back. They are like a poorly behaved child who was given a precious family heirloom. Their parents (the voters) came into the room one day and found them beating the family dog with this precious family treasure and took it away from them. They chastised them and in turn gave it to their quieter, more cerebral and considerably more compassionate sibling and entrusted it to their care. The horror of a child is now pointing out the flaws of their sibling and making up a few for good measure (socialist, weak on national defense, not "real Americans") in an attempt to persuade their parents to give them back their plaything.
If the parents are smart, they'll tell the brat to shut up, go to his room and to leave their sibling alone...