Monday, October 10, 2005

I ran across this statement, made today at a site called The Coalition for a Republican Free America.

The words were spoken eloquently and from the heart, so I am copying them here:

"...I am a 77-years-old; I am a reformed Jew; and a one time Republican. As such, I am far more comfortable with my colleagues here on the left than I am with virtually anyone on the right. This is not the Republican Party that I once embraced. It is a parody of itself. A bizarre collection of religious fanatics, professional hate-mongers, homophobes, anti-Semites, and free market obsessive compuslives. The Republican Party had its problems during the first half of the 20th Century but it was not, not, as hungry, nor short-tempered, nor strident as it is today.

The question I hear from friends and colleagues is, simply: "Why did you leave the party?" and my answer is almost always the same. "I didn't. The party left me." Perhaps I gravitated to the left in recent years. Perhaps I didn't. I think there is a reasonable case to be made for the idea that this is not the Republican Party of Dwight D. Eisenhower nor even of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. I'm not even sure if it is proper to call it Republican. But that is a task for the so-called Republicans to tackle. All I know is that I have watched on--sometimes in amusement, sometimes in dismay and horror--while a perfectly viable party allowed itself to be carried away on the winds of fanaticism and tribalism. It has not been a pleasant experience. I did not plan to step away from a place where I "liked Ike" to where I distrust Bush and the neocons, but that I have. Make of it what you will.

Just a few more observations.

Unlike the rest of my team members, I lived through the PreWorld War II nightmare, when the Republican Issolationists were leading the America First Movement--a foolish miscalculation which allowed Hitler to swallow up most of Europe before western civilization did something to stop him. The war itself was the epiotme of hell on earth, but I remember how we pulled together--Democrats and Republicans and Independents alike--to ration food, resources etc. A few decades later I lived through the McCarthy Era, when Joe McCarthy saw a Commie Pinko under every bed and behind every bush. It was not a fun time--not when the far right of the era (think the KKK in the South, the John Birch Society in the North, and McCarthyism everywhere) was equating Communism with American Jewry.

I suppose I should feel comforted because the so-called Christian Right has established close ties with extremist elements in the nation of Israel. But should I really feel at ease with a group of people whose alliance with the Jewish Right is based on the disturbing belief (some might say fantasy) that Jesus will come back at the end of times to eradicate the Jews? Somehow, I don't think so.

After going through the nightmare years of the 30's and 40's (Hitler) and then the 1950s (Tail-gunner Joe) I hope my fellow team members, and former allies in the Republican Party will forgive me if I make the following statement:

George W. Bush, the neocon empire builders, and what my great-nephew calls "the Radical Christian Right," scare the hell out of me.

I've seen so many of their tactics before--in another time and another place. The people who so blindly support this administration, this abomination, this bastardization of representative government need to ask themselves a few questions. They desperately, desperately, need a reality check. Why do they so stubbornly reuse to examine the administration's motives? Why do they blindly accept nearly everything George W. Bush offers as Gospel Truth? Where have I seen that kind of blind, mindless devotion before?

To deny the similarities between then and now is naive in the extreme. To embrace the rush towards empire is both foolish and self destructive. I have already lost more people than I care to remember. Up to three quarters of my family. Countless friends and loved ones. The last Holocaust was enough. I would just as soon go to my grave without seeing another.



Abraham Steffes

Monday, 10 October 2005

There was a time when I would have considered such a sentiment paranoid.

Not any more, and not from a 77 year old who obviously has a very good memory for the past.

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