I know I should have watched the Republican National Convention this past week from the first day to keep informed, and all that. However: (1) There was never any doubt about the chief outcome, which was to nominate King George, Jr., a politician's son, as candidate for the next US President; (2) there was little doubt that with the departure of firebrands like Pitchfork Pat, and with Christian conservatives an increasingly muted force, this would be the tamest and more carefully orchestrated convention in recent memory; and (3) last weekend I ate something that didn't agree with me, and on Monday when the convention started, my gastrointestinal tract was still in recovery and did not need any more disruptions.
Now having watched bits and pieces of this convention for the past two evenings, and followed the discussion on the Web, I find myself still having the audacity to ask what I thought were obvious questions: where were yesteryear's denunciations of so-called group rights? Where were the criticisms of affirmative action, which, last time I checked, was still going strong despite a few legal setbacks? Where were proposals to check the advances of the homosexual agenda? Where were the criticisms of unlimited immigration? This last, when mixed with the dominant multiculturalism of the media and academic worlds, promises in another generation or so to leave us with a "nation" more akin to the former Yugoslavia than the Republic bequeathed to us by Madison, Monroe, and the rest of the Anglos in Philadelphia 213 years ago.
Likewise, there was little about abortion, nothing about prayer in schools, nothing about getting rid of the US Department of Education, created by President Jimmy Carter without Constitutional authorization.
Come to think of it, the closest thing to controversy or unpredictability occurred when The Rock, the Samoan-born professional wrestler, took the microphone. He used it to thank his fans.
On the first night, viewers were subjected to Colin Powell's appeals for a more "inclusive" Republican Party. He invoked the name of central-statist Abraham Lincoln. He basically accused Republicans of being a bunch of racists and…the Republicans ate it up! Powell, who believes in affirmative action, is the perfect "new Republican" for the new age: a respected member of a minority group who is also a Washington insider and statist extraordinaire. We were also treated to highly visible appearances of representatives of almost every group except straight white Christian males who remain the bulk of the electorate most likely to vote Republican. The level of touchy-feeliness seemed so high that the straight white Christian males who were in attendance probably wondered if they had wandered into the wrong convention. Had they been beamed by Scotty or ridden a time warp into the Democratic Party Convention by mistake?
Pardon my sarcasm. But to state the obvious, we straight white Christian males have been sold down the river by this incarnation of "mainstream Republicans." So what should we do? Support a third party? There is the Reform Party, which will probably nominate Pat Buchanan at their convention next week. There is also the Libertarian Party, which has again nominated Harry Browne.
I continue to be told by family, friends, acquaintances, and enemies that a vote for anyone except King George, Jr., is a vote for Gore. At best, a vote for Buchanan or Browne is a "wasted vote" because "he can't win." I can envision Democratic Party loyalists telling those they hope to prevent from bolting en masse that a vote for Ralph Nader, presidential candidate of the socialist Green Party, is a vote for Bush.
Hello! Let's think this through. How are elections won? If Bush wins, it will be because more people voted for him than voted for anyone else. The same for Gore; the same for anyone with his hat in the ring. While there are certainly levels of resources available to these two politician's brats that are not available to outsiders, outsiders can win, at least at the state level. Jesse Ventura proved this when he ran for Governor of Minnesota on the Reform Party ticket and defeated his rivals. Moreover, the outsiders' messages have gotten out this year. Buchanan is no stranger to the public, having made numerous appearances and issued a multitude of statements. Nor is Nader, obviously. Even Harry Browne and the Libertarians have established their presence on the Internet, if not in the dominant print media, which may not be dominant much longer given the explosive growth of electronic new media.
It needs to be said: Bush is not entitled to our votes. For too long, now, men and women of conviction, especially about the need to limit the increasingly powerful reach of Big Brother, have bought the idea that "you have to vote Republican because you've nowhere else to go." Establishment Democrats have held a lot of well-meaning black voters captive with an equivalent line. Currently, the Democrat Establishment is scared, uh, green, of Nader. Nader, after all, is too leftist to attack openly in these politically correct times. He has hammered at too many issues Democrats claim to care about, such as the environment and low wages. Yet Nader's appeal to unionized workers makes him a definite potential threat to Gore.
It is practically a cliché among believers in free markets that competition encourages initiative, risk-taking, and excellence. Lack of competition yields the opposite: mediocrity, playing it safe, and in the case of the political arena, a one-way street with all traffic flowing left. The Demopublican cartel has almost destroyed genuine competition in the political arena. This is why this election so far provides us with a choice between a mediocre "moderate" Republican (I do not recall hearing George W. utter the "c-word" once during his acceptance speech perhaps I missed it) and a socialist Democrat.
What we really need is some bona fide competition in this year's contest the sort of competition so far being denied us by the Commission on Presidential Debates. This Demopublican cartel-owned outfit will most likely deny everyone except Bush and Gore spots in the fall debates, ensuring that no threatening issues are raised or uncomfortable questions asked.
Bush and Gore will trade orchestrated disagreements over the predictable things, and will debate the fate of, e.g., Social Security, and how the federal government can spend a surplus that probably does not exist. They will not debate multiculturalism (for example). Nor the future of our role in the World Trade Organization or the United Nations. One might speculate that the Demopublican cartel learned its lesson in 1992, when 20 million voters were willing to support Ross Perot even after he turned out to be nuts. The last thing the Demopublicans want is to offer another outsider the opportunity Perot had. Especially one with an articulate philosophy of government and its constitutional limitations, something we have yet to hear from George W., will not hear from Al Gore, and never heard from the Perotistas (which, by the way, was why the Reform Party was vulnerable to the Buchanan Brigade's takeover).
If this convention serves no other purpose, it illustrates the ongoing leftward drift of our political establishment. It does so even better than W.'s pathetic response to attacks on his appearance at Bob Jones University as well as BJU's abandonment of a private policy to which its leaders had a perfect right, in a free society. When Dole visited BJU in 1996, no one said a word. That is the growing power of political correctness in this country.
Cal Thomas, the Christian conservative commentator, penned a recent column outlining five ways Bush could lose this election. (1) Let Al Gore set the agenda for the next three months. (2) Let the media set the agenda. (3) Let the government set the agenda. (4) Fail to say that we can do better (as opposed to attacking the Clinton-Gore contingent). (5) Fail to remind the voters where the real power in society lies, which is with them.
It seems to me that the PC crowd has already set the agenda. That essentially wipes out (1) through (3), since that crowd now controls the Democrats, most of the media, and most of the government. I'm not sure where this leaves (4) and (5), but the prognosis is not good. The Republicans have set themselves up for a fall, by showing all-too-clearly that they have ceased to fight the battle of ideas. Bill Anderson, in a recent column in LewRockwell.com, is right on the money. Our problem is not "gay-bashing," or too few minority quotas; it is statism. You won't get the solution to the problem of statism by voting for a Republican any more than you will a Democrat. Both parties are owned, lock, stock, and barrel by statists. Republicans do not really want to scrap the idea of the federal government micromanaging the country; they simply want to replace the Clinton-Gore regime with a Bush-Cheney regime.
That brings us to the main issue: have we as a nation reached the point where the Demopublican cartel has such a lock on power that no outsider has any hope of staging an upset? This is really not a good way to pose the question, because if those in the cartel have a "lock on power" it is we, the voters, who have given it to them. The answer lies with however many people believe that only a Demopublican can win and refuse to consider supporting anyone else. If they believe that Bush, Jr., is a good bet because he will at least drag his feet as the country goes down the road to a socialist New World Order, and that no one who would get us off this road has a chance, then they will vote for Bush, Jr. It may, of course, be that many straight white Christian males whose own gastrointestinal systems are still in recovery after this past week, will elect to go fishing on election day. I have read serious appeals by Christians to secede from American politics altogether, although that doesn't seem to me much of a solution.
It may also be that at least some of America's voters have listened to the outsiders and decided they dislike or disagree with what they have heard. They either trust expanded government, or at least don't see it as a threat to them personally. Many others can't be bothered. They are too busy spending money on credit, then popping a Miller Lite and watching Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? In either case, that means there is little that can be done this go around.
It has long been an adage that we get the government we deserve. If America's voters cannot think all this through, then they deserve whichever politician's brat wins the White House in November.
Oh, I almost forgot: the print media went out of their way to make us aware of the protesters outside the convention. What they were protesting? What kind of moron thinks we haven't drifted far enough to the left: into political correctness, into special provisions for every group except straight white Christian males, into internationalist statism? One protester, in a brief interview apparently in between violent assaults on police did mention not liking what "the ruling class stands for." I wonder if these hippies born out of their time would know the real ruling class if they saw it.
Speaking as a straight white Christian male, I can only say: it ain't us!
August 5, 2000
Steven Yates has a PhD in philosophy and is the author of Civil Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action (San Francisco: ICS Press, 1994). A frequent contributor to LewRockwell.com and The Edgefield Journal, he lives and freelance writes in Columbia, South Carolina.