Do conservatives have an unconscious collective death wish?

It’s funny how much conservatives like to talk about “entitlements”. Because, when I think of the word entitlement, I think of white people crying at public meetings about wanting their country back. I think of Mitt Romney not bothering to write a concession speech because he feels that the universe somehow owes him the presidency.

Since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the Republican Party has behaved as if it still has a mandate. They want it to be the early 1980s. Whoa is them; there’s the small detail that the country’s values and demographics have changed profoundly since the conservative cultural backlash ushered in by Reagan. These values shifts will likely continue moving away from conservatives.

Leonard Cohen wrote (in Sisters of Mercy) about “you who must leave everything that you cannot control. It begins with your family, but soon it comes round to your soul.” I think of today’s Republican Party in relation to “their country”. Except for the leaving part. They don’t strike me as the leaving kind. Forgive the metaphor, but their actions—especially around sequestration—remind me more of a murder/suicide scenario. They must destroy everything they cannot control. If you prefer a lighter metaphor, think of a spoiled child playing with a toy; when forced to share, the child opts instead to destroy the toy.

But back to the suicide analogy, which Paul Rosenberg made a few weeks back at Al Jazeera:

The United States is on the verge of committing suicide. Slow suicide, perhaps, which may take decades to fully play out, but suicide nonetheless. The proximate event is the sequester – deep across-the-board cuts to military and discretionary domestic spending, originally conceived as a Sword of Damocles, but which Tea Party-dominated Republicans now see as just the perfect budget axe. And that’s just one of several successive and mostly recurring crisis points at which Republicans are obstinantly demanding deep budget cuts that will inevitably slow, if not cripple the already weak economy – as well as debilitating or destroying vital government functions in the long run.

If I can’t own America — if I can’t count on America to be my rightful inheritance, to do with what I will — then I’m going to burn it down.


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