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The political party known as Republican has allowed itself to morph into a cult.
Having been soundly defeated last November, and now posting approval/identification numbers similar to Richard Cheney's.....an outside observer might conclude that the GOP should be seriously considering a humble re-evaluation of what has gone so terribly wrong for them.
Obviously, the GOP isn't taking counsel from any outside observers.
The McCain/Palin campaign gave us signs that the GOP was leaning hard right into mysterious-cult territory. McCain didn't want the puffball Palin on the ticket, he wanted Tom Ridge. Ridge was a politico to be taken seriously. Palin was not. The GOP insisted on Palin. McCain didn't particularly like it, but he went along, dragging the GOP further down into bizarro territory.
Sarah Palin's campaign style demonstrated clearly, and I think for the first time, the GOP's willingness to jettison science and intellectualism altogether, replacing them with purely petty vindictiveness, hatefulness and steroidal-enhanced, faith-based divisiveness.
Now, some six months later, the GOP cult, led by it's priesthood in talk radio and Fox "News", has begun 'disfellowshipping' those within it's ranks who don't fully embrace the cult's doctrines.
The response from the newly packaged GOP cult to Arlen Specter's defection was.....'glad to see him go.' The response to the non-wingnut, Florida governor Charlie Crist, and his willingness to stand on the same stage with President Obama during the stimulus discussions, was to shun him.
Those are the actions of a political cult.
Two definitions of the word, "cult"....
a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
The "sacred ideology" of the new Republican cult no longer has to make any sense intellectually, scientifically, historically, or even, pragmatically. It is simply "sacred", in the same way, for example, that rejecting blood transfusions in all situations is "sacred" to Jehovah's Witnesses.
The "sacred symbols" of the new Republican cult represent unexplainable GOP doctrinal mysteries. A prime example of this would be the ubiquitous GOP symbol, "Joe, the Plumber." The appearance of Sam Wurzelbacher on the GOP cult scene never made any intellectual sense, his purpose mysterious from the onset, his words bizarre, his thinking and logic, incomprehensible.....and yet, today, he has become a "sacred symbol" for the new GOP cult.
This newly forming Republican cult can be identified by it's worshipping of the same things, the same people, the same ideals.....even though those things, people and ideals have, in most cases, long been discredited. I recall the cult feel of Reagan's funeral week. The truth about Ronald Reagan's presidency, as with George W. Bush's, has simply been ignored or rejected in favor of superstitious mythical accounts.
The GOP "sacred" doctrines of tax cutting and deregulation, amazingly, are still being lifted high for public adoration much as a dusty old "mysterious" religious relic, even after those "sacred ideals" led directly to disastrous economic results. Religious chants, having no understandable meaning, of "USA, USA, USA" or "drill, baby, drill" continue to echo forth from the sanctuaries of the new GOP cult.
The dark depths of the Republican cult are witnessed now in the new and unbelievable allegiance to what will surely become a favorite cultic hymn...."torture works."
The one identifying mark of a cult that I have learned over the years is this: The forms of worship, the doctrines, the chants, the "mysteries", the veneration of the "saints" or forefathers.....can only be understood and appreciated by the cult members themselves. If those outside the group can't make any empirical, logical, historical, or intellectual sense of the cult's many "sacred symbols, saints, relics, chants or doctrines"......then 5 will get you 10......it's a cult.
Update: A hate cult....