By Robert Mann
Marooned on an island of discarded ideologies and false beliefs, members of the modern-day Republican Party are like Japanese dead-enders from World War II who thought the conflict was still raging and that victory — long ago lost — was still possible.
Simply put, the U.S. Republican Party is the most extreme, isolated major political movement in the Western world.
Regarding man-made climate change, Republicans are as anti-science as the church officials who persecuted Galileo in 1615 for claiming the Earth revolved around the Sun. They cling to ignorant, antiquated views in the face of overwhelming empirical evidence. Most of the world’s people accept peer-reviewed scientific research on the world’s climate. Only 15 percent of conservative Republicans do.
Among the world’s developed countries, there are more people who believe NASA faked the Moon landing than say society shouldn’t care for the sick. Only 32 percent of Republicans believe the government has any role in guaranteeing health care to its citizens.
And in Europe and other developed nations, more people than ever can vote, while the Republican Party tosses millions of minorities and young people off the rolls. Only 35 percent of Republicans say “everything possible should be done to make it easy for every citizen to vote.”
Across the developed world, people accept that climate change is real, more people should vote and everyone deserves good, affordable health care.
Among developed nations, however, only the United States has a ruling political party devoted to the minority view on these questions and others (including marriage equality, greater rights for women and minorities and affordable college education).
It’s difficult to understand what a radical, know-nothing retrograde outfit runs the United States government if you follow only American politics. What appears normal to domestic eyes is among the most unusual set of political and scientific beliefs in the developed world.
In two cases — voting rights and health care — the questions are about what it means to call ourselves a democracy devoted to equality and human rights. In the other — climate change — it is a willful decision by party leaders and their propaganda arm (Fox News) to deny and lie about the near-unanimous results of decades of peer-reviewed research.
Consider voting rights. From our beginning, the nation has argued over which people will elect our leaders. Since 1776, the franchise has expanded to those without property, to women, to blacks and other minorities, to young people and to ex-offenders who have served their time.
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