My Republican friend (I do have one) told me that I’m “against all Republicans, which is irrational.”

I said, “Well, the word ‘against’ is not quite right but I will respond to the charge all the same.

“An attitude of respectful dialog, across the aisle so to speak, might have been possible two decades ago. But since Reagan and Gingrich, and especially since Bush II, Republicanism has becom synonymous — largely by its own admission! — with corruption, repression, deception, and violence. No self-respecting individual can align themselves with this organization any longer. At this point anyone self-identifying as a Republican should be rethinking their position. They have always been free to change their affiliation. They should already have done so — certainly since George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq. Any Republican could have reacted to that inexcusable crime by declaring, ‘This is beyond the pale. I do not accept this war, or the man who initiated it; starting today I will fight against them both.’

“Who among the Republicans did this? Not one. Instead they cleaved to their President as if he were the savior of us all. They slavishly supported his every move, and lashed out viciously against anyone who declined to genuflect alongside them. Their beef is not with Democrats but with democracy itself.

“Maybe it was not always so, but the business of the Republican party has become literally to steal money from the rich and give it to the poor; literally to disenfranchise those unlikely to vote for your friends; literally to imprison those objecting to the current adminstration; literally to destroy a whole country — Afghanistan, Iraq, even the United States — if it suits your purposes.

“Far, far from the Enlightenment tradition of peace and justice for all, a Republican seeks peace and justice only for himself (they are all, of course, men) and for his closest and richest friends. Again, this might once have been hyperbole but today it is a plain fact, clearly articulated in hundreds of position statements from dozens of Republicans.

“It might once have been possible but in 2006 you cannot call yourself a Republican and still be trusted. You are now complicit in countless crimes, including the President’s traitorous crimes against his own country. You are going to have to stand up and abjure your connection with Bush’s program for me to take seriously anything you say ever again. Because as you know, Bush’s entire methodology depends on a continuous stream of lies. To support Bush, you too have to utterly disdain the truth. There is no other way.

“At this point we are perfectly justified in saying to every Republican, ‘Until you change your thinking (after which you will presumably change your party affiliation), we citizens will assume that, like the President, you are a chronic liar, morally bankrupt, and a menace to society. Change your ways! — or we will have to remove you from public office and keep you out for the rest of your life.'”

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