I spent the morning looking for a quote I had written on a scrap of paper years ago. Pathetically, I can’t even remember who said it — some national public official from back in the day who I should be remembering, but middle age is what it is. The point of the quote had to do with political ideologies in America.
Whoever it was said the ideologies weren’t the problem. It was the righteousness behind the ideologies that was the problem. The quote resonated with me enough to write it down and keep it around for a few years until I actually needed it and couldn’t find it. It articulated something I’d been struggling for years to put words to.
Part of my reason for un-enrolling from the Democratic Party and not joining the Republican Party was a sense of how righteousness, to which the unknown official referred, can blind both parties to fundamental facts and realities. Sentiment can become more important than thinking.
And while I think both parties have their respective recurring righteous blind spots, what is up with the Maine Republican Party right now?
It’s like Gov. Paul LePage has crashed the Republican ship into an iceberg, and instead of going for lifeboats, his fellow Republicans would rather dance as the band plays on and the ship goes down.
Macdonald’s idea of publicizing the names, addresses and other information of residents receiving “welfare benefits” is righteousness gone so wrong. To pretend it’s about anything but righteousness is … I just don’t know what. Any words I can think of are too pejorative to include in a blog post.
It’s righteousness gone so wrong, it even flies in the face of basic Republican principles.
I mean, WTF on so many levels.
First, what is it with a party that is committed to smaller government but that loves to add layers of administration, requirements that lead to increases in errors, and initiatives that become costly court battles (which MacDonald’s proposal most likely would become if it made it into law)? Remember, the entire expensive shabang — the lawyers and staff for the state and the courts they argue in — are funded by state and federal taxpayer dollars.
How much are supporters of this idea willing to pay just to be able to pass judgment on their neighbors?
Like smaller and less expensive government, I thought Republicans were big on privacy, too. It’s hard to process the idea of Republicans wanting to grow government and its costs to violate the privacy and possibly compromise the safety of single moms, seniors and the disabled. Just to be able to pass judgment.
And there doesn’t seem to be a limit to Republicans who want a turn to call the dance. Senator Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, is considering sponsoring Macdonald’s bill. And the head of the party, Rick Bennett, is still using the paddles of tax and welfare reform that died at the hands of both parties in the legislature, talking like a nihilist to boot.
His words: “[Y]ou know the legislative process is designed for failure — the framers set it up that way.”
I hope their next referendum campaign isn’t to get rid of the legislative process in entirety, but things are getting so crazy and blindingly righteous, who knows?