Now maybe it's naive of me to think such a book could or should exist. Maybe the reality is something akin to what the people at town meeting here in Greenville (how we in small Maine towns exercise democracy in local government) face when we ask for explanations of complex issues. "If you wanted to understand this issue, why weren't you at the meetings where we did the planning? Why do you expect that we should have to take the time here at town meeting to explain this complicated issue before the people vote on it?" In other words, if I want to understand the Republican vision, why am I not spending my time immersed in Republican politics? Why don't I read the conservative blogs, listen all day and night to conservative talk radio, watch Fox News and CNN and Pat Robertson, go to a fundamentalist evangelical church and send my kids to Liberty University, and on and on?
That argument could be used, but it shouldn't be. It's a vessel with no bottom. It holds no water. That argument would say that the only people who need to see the Republican vision are the active planners. The rank-and-file Republican voter doesn't need to see the vision, doesn't need to understand the reasoning behind the planning. While that indeed is the case, should it be? Should the average Republican voter have access to the Republican vision for America? And if America is a democracy, should the Republican vision be a matter of public record? Should all Americans have access to the Republican vision?
I wish there was some way that we could. That's what I'm saying here. I wish there was a book that clearly expressed the Republican vision for America's future. There doesn't seem to be any such book for me to read. I am left with the impression that nearly everyone else in this country who cares about this seems to have, that the Bush administration and Congress don't seem to have a vision for America's future.
But then I realize that I am asking for the impossible. Let me explain.
Republican politics isn't about sharing a vision with a democratic electorate in order for that vision to win a democratic majority vote. Instead, Republican politics is about winning the faith of the electorate so that Republican planners can accomplish their vision behind closed doors. The reason the doors remain closed is because their vision would very likely not win in an open public debate and an open democratic vote. The Republican Party exists in order to serve the interests of people who don't necessarily have the best interests of the general public in mind. But even if they did, it would be hard to convince the public that their interests were being served. For decades, Republicans have wanted to privatize education, retirement, public works, health and welfare, even the military. How do you convince the general public that public education is bad? How do you convince the general public that we should cut and eventually phase out Social Security?
You don't and that has been proven time and time again. You don't convince the general public that the Republican agenda is good for them. Instead, you have to work to convince them that the social agenda is bad or is failing or is bankrupting our economy or threatens our security somehow. The failure of socialism isn't the Republican vision. It is the Republican strategy. Socialism is what open democracies gravitate to because it represents the general public helping themselves to the nation's resources. It is the enemy of the Republican Party. The Republican Party exists as a political instrument to fight against social democracy and to fight for private ownership and wealth.
So how in a democracy such as the USA does such a political party share its vision with the general public? Very selectively and very carefully! In fact, only the seriously involved insiders are allowed to see the vision. For the rest of us it's blind faith in our leaders. We really can't see where all this conservative politics is leading us.
So wouldn't it be nice if there was a book?