[saymaListserv] FW: Garrison Keillor on the new Republicans

Michael Austin Shell bright_crow at mindspring.com
Mon Sep 13 23:07:19 JEST 2004


Please read and share this peace.  Garrison Keillor has decided to stop 
pulling his punches.

Blessed Be,


> >We're Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore
> >By Garrison Keillor
> >
> >Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it 
> was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed 
> spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their 
> communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships.

>They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of 
>their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and 
>Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial 
>Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK 
>for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a 
>stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the 
>French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and 
>prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and 
>higher education burgeoned-and there was a degree of plain decency in the 
>country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today's. Richard 
>Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward 
>the poor.

>In the years between Nixon and Newt Gingrich, the party migrated southward 
>down the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and sneered at the idea of public 
>service and became the Scourge of Liberalism, the Great Crusade Against 
>the Sixties, the Death Star of Government, a gang of pirates that diverted 
>and fascinated the media by their sheer chutzpah, such as the misty-eyed 
>flag-waving of Ronald Reagan who, while George McGovern flew bombers in 
>World War II, took a pass and made training films in Long Beach. The Nixon 
>moderate vanished like the passenger pigeon, purged by a legion of angry 
>white men who rose to power on pure punk politics. "Bipartisanship is 
>another term of date rape," says Grover Norquist, the Sid Vicious of the 
>GOP. "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to 
>the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the 
>bathtub." The boy has Oedipal problems and government is his daddy.

>The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of 
>hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based 
>economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, 
>freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, 
>tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts  in pinstripes, sweatshop 
>tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people 
>who believe Neil Armstrong's moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, 
>little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt's evil spawn and their 
>Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow 
>of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble 
>of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason 
>the rest of the world thinks we're deaf, dumb and dangerous.

>Rich ironies abound! Lies pop up like toadstools in the forest! Wild swine 
>crowd round the public trough! Outrageous gerrymandering! Pocket lining on 
>a massive scale! Paid lobbyists sit in committee rooms and write 
>legislation to alleviate the suffering of billionaires! Hypocrisies shine 
>like cat turds in the moonlight! O Mark Twain, where art thou at this 
>hour? Arise and behold the Gilded Age reincarnated gaudier than ever, 
>upholding great wealth as the sure sign of Divine Grace.  Here in 2004, 
>George W. Bush is running for reelection on a platform of tragedy--the 
>single greatest failure of national defense in our history, the attacks of 
>9/11 in which 19 men with box cutters put this nation into a tailspin, a 
>failure the details of which the White House fought to keep secret even as 
>it ran the country into hock up to the hubcaps, thanks to generous tax 
>cuts for the well-fixed, hoping to lead us into a box canyon of debt that 
>will render government impotent, even as we engage in a war against a 
>small country that was undertaken for the president's personal 
>satisfaction but sold to the American public on the basis of brazen 
>misinformation, a war whose purpose is to distract us from an enormous 
>transfer of wealth taking place in this country, flowing upward, and the 
>deception is working beautifully.

>The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few is the death 
>knell of democracy. No republic in the history of humanity has survived 
>this. The election of 2004 will say something about what happens to ours. 
>The omens are not good.

>Our beloved land has been fogged with fear--fear, the greatest political 
>strategy ever. An ominous silence, distant sirens, a drumbeat of whispered 
>warnings and alarms to keep the public uneasy and silence the opposition. 
>And in a time of vague fear, you can appoint bullet-brained judges, strip 
>the bark off the Constitution, eviscerate federal regulatory agencies, 
>bring public education to a standstill, stupefy the press, lavish gorgeous 
>tax breaks on the rich.

>There is a stink drifting through this election year. It isn't the Florida 
>recount or the Supreme Court decision. No, it's 9/11 that we keep coming 
>back to. It wasn't the "end of innocence," or a turning point in our 
>history, or a cosmic occurrence, it was an event, a lapse of security. And 
>patriotism shouldn't prevent people from asking hard questions of the man 
>who was purportedly in charge of national  security at the time.

>Whenever I think of those New Yorkers hurrying along Park Place or getting 
>off the No.1 Broadway local, hustling toward their office on the 90th 
>floor, the morning paper under their arms, I think of that non-reader 
>George W. Bush and how he hopes to exploit those people with a little 
>economic uptick, maybe the capture of Osama, cruise to victory in November 
>and proceed to get some serious nation-changing done in his second term.

>This year, as in the past, Republicans will portray us Democrats as 
>embittered academics, desiccated Unitarians, whacked-out hippies and 
>communards, people who talk to telephone poles, the party of the 
>Deadheads. They will wave enormous flags and show over and over the 
>footage of firemen in the wreckage of the World Trade Center and bodies 
>being carried out and they will lie about their economic policies with 
>astonishing enthusiasm.

>The Union is what needs defending this year. Government of Enron and by 
>Halliburton and for the Southern Baptists is not the same as what Lincoln 
>spoke of. This gang of Pithecanthropus Republicanii has humbugged us to 
>death on terrorism and tax cuts for the comfy and school prayer and flag 
>burning and claimed the right to know what books we read and to dump their 
>sewage upstream from the town and clear-cut the forests and gut the IRS 
>and mark up the constitution on behalf of intolerance and promote the 
>corporate takeover of the public airwaves and to hell with anybody who 
>opposes them.

>This is a great country, and it wasn't made so by angry people. We have a 
>sacred duty to bequeath it to our grandchildren in better shape than 
>however we found it. We have a long way to go and we're not getting any 

>Dante said that the hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in 
>time of crisis remain neutral, so I have spoken my piece, and thank you, 
>dear reader. It's a beautiful world, rain or shine, and there is more to 
>life than winning.

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