The other day a bearded man planted himself in a treetop along a busy Seattle street, forcing police to shut down traffic for hours in both directions, afraid of what he’d do.
I scanned the headlines later to see what Sen. Ted Cruz recommended we do to protect us from bearded men in the future. Nothing.
Don’t disappoint, Senator. If we don’t keep watch on bearded men, one of them might hurt us one day.
Beard or no, let’s just say that if anything happens through Election Day that involves a Muslim militant, Cruz and his rival for the angry white vote, Donald Trump, will not disappoint in insulting human intelligence.
Their “can you top this” contest will continue: a trail of rhetorical horrors.
This time it was Cruz saying that we should patrol predominantly Muslim neighborhoods.
President Obama responded correctly. The ethnic profiling implied by Cruz’s urgings is exactly the kind of repression Cruz’s father fled in Cuba.
Logic never has been Cruz’s strong suit. That particularly applies now that he and Trump battle for the votes of an increasingly narrow demographic.
How narrow? Well, let’s say this:
When the tea party became its life force, the Republican Party ceased being a national party. It became a lot less.
Purity demands that any “big tent” the GOP once might have trumpeted is too roomy. With Trump and Cruz as the chief hangers-on in this sweaty reality show, the party’s demographic has shrunk even further.
A regional party? With either of these men as its standard-bearer, the GOP has ceased being even that. It is now a zip-code party, a borough party, a backyard party, a garden party.
Don’t call it a neighborhood party. That word connotes neighborliness. If it’s a neighborhood, it’s gated. And what better metaphor for the GOP in the 21st Century?
The GOP is the George Zimmerman Party: alarmed and armed.
I recently overheard two men discuss the fact that some minority youths had started hanging out at a local mall. To this, one quipped, “Time to wall off the mall.”
Republican front-runners, you have left your mark.
How many times have we heard the tea party phrase, “Take back our country?” The question, of course, is, “From whom?”
In Georgia and North Carolina the other day, Republican lawmakers voted in their separate ways to take the country back from the forces that would extend human rights to human beings who happen to be homosexual or transgendered.
We are happy to report a massive backlash against this. The NBA is reconsidering hosting its all-star game in Charlotte next year. Meanwhile, facing the threat of losing the Super Bowl in the Georgia Dome, Gov. Nathan Deal took a big gulp and vetoed a “religious liberty” bill that would have allowed businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation.
Understand, the NFL and NBA have larger constituencies than today’s Republican Party. They serve a nation of diversity.
We read regularly about how the Republican leadership is horrified by the prospect of a Trump candidacy. We read about how establishment Republicans have had to swallow hard to endorse Cruz, commonly referred to as the most hated man in the U.S. Senate. (Cruz, by the way, would say, “And proudly so.”)
The GOP chieftains know the problem. They know that Trump and Cruz appeal to a segment of our population too narrow to make either of them president.
What they don’t know, apparently, is how they have allowed this to happen. It dates back to Nixon’s Southern Strategy and has carried through to abominations like Arizona’s attempts at race profiling and the ongoing fight against gay rights.
Republicans are getting what they deserve: their diminution to a garden party. It’s a beautiful day in the gated neighborhood — unless you’re trying to elect a president.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.