The events at play in the Republican party and our politics in general, remind me of topics I learned in History and Sociology classes I took in college. The bottom two come along for the ride.
Luddites were factory workers who resisted against progress in the textile factories, by destroying the looms. Much like those who resist progress and wish to stay in the 1950s and before and resist changes to society. Workers who are displaced in changes in the market have to be ready to adjust to changes in society, or they will be permanently left behind. Instead of fearing progress, one should continue to learn and take on new challenges. Life is far more secure and interesting when you do.
The Know-Nothings were a political movement that resisted the influx of catholic immigrants from Europe during the 1800s. These were feared to be hostile to protestant values and driven by the Pope in Rome. This is much like the fear of “illegal aliens,” who are really undocumented workers. This fear is more about jobs. Of course none, of those in this country want to do the jobs the undocumented workers do them at the prices they charge. This resistance, which is aimed specifically at Mexican and other Spanish speaking immigrants who frankly work harder and expect less than workers here.
I am speaking about the unhealthy variety here, who denigrate other people, put other people down, view them as less than, exploit others, and treat others as simply objects to use. A number of candidates in the republic party, including one who left the presidential race show these characteristics. I am speaking about Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain in particular, but our society is all to full of them, taking up the airwaves. Congress is full of them, who work for their own selfish desires, instead of doing the business of the nation and looking out for the nation as a whole.
The first two terms take me to the third trend in politics, anti-intellectualism, seen in populist candidates like Herman Cain, Rick Perry. In earlier years we had George Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Dan Quayle. This presumption that the American people are really that stupid. I am sure when those play dumb and don’t challenge voters to read and think and test assumptions it may seem easy and unthreatening, but we go down the road of stupidity in government. I appreciated John Huntsman’s intelligence and deeper understanding of the issues around him, unfortunately I am discovering I dislike his politics, even though I appreciate his intelligence. People are too threatened when our president uses his intelligence so there is always the need to talk down to the American Public.