Once upon a time there was a famous musician, composer, and performing artist named Prince. In the course of a contract dispute, he legally changed his name to an unpronounceable pictograph. Reporters took to calling him “the artist formerly known as Prince,” until the contract dispute expired and he reclaimed his original moniker.
I found myself thinking of this as I struggled to formulate a New Year’s Resolution concerning my own future use of the term “Republican Party.” For some time now I’ve taken to referring to the “GOP” whenever some reference to the that party is required. The sound produced when the letters are pronounced as a word (goop) very nearly apply to the present condition of the philosophy, platform, politics and legislative actions in evidence from the empirical results the people associated with that party (especially at the national level) are producing.
Unfortunately, truth in labeling laws don’t apply to the party’s use of the name. Anyone who considers its history, its platforms over the years, or even the rhetoric of its candidates in recent elections might confuse it with an entity, faithful to the moral premises of government set forth in the American Declaration of Independence; careful of the actual words and provisions of the U.S. Constitution; respectful of the good faith and credit of the American people; and deeply opposed to unbridled, tyrannical and dictatorial government its candidates and elected officials still vociferously decry in their counterparts in the Democratic Party.
Yet in recent years, even before Obama’s tenure in the White House, there have been frequent reasons to question the correspondence between the historic character and present rhetorical stance of the Republican Party and the actual character and government activities in evidence from the public officials presently identified with it. On this account one well-known pundit to suggest that very soon there will be no party to represent the “conservative” views the GOP is known for; and another to observe that, for all the good its doing in that respect, it might as well be disbanded.
To me, both these observations sound rather more truthful than they are. For both take it for granted that the Republican label at present corresponds to some actually existing entity that even remotely corresponds to the substance it once exhibited, and the rhetoric it still proclaims. The label lives, but like the name upon a tombstone, the living being it once referred to is gone, and any grave examination of its contents will reveal remnants rather less substantial than the fossils that presently pass for “empirical” evidence that movies like Jurassic Park are something more than digital art imitating scientistic fantasy.
This is perhaps why Donald Trump can now successfully pass himself off as a “Republican” despite all the evidence in his life that contradicts the historic meaning of the term. The GOP is engaged in a kind of circular evolution — making progress toward returning to a much older way of doing things, one that portends the demise of government of, by and for the people. Its present label is less substantial than the skin a reptile leaves behind when molting. Its present field of presidential candidates aptly represents the transition to something so old it’s new — a motley mish-mash of words from America’s revolutionary creed (God-endowed rights, liberty, constitutionally constrained self-government) and the ignoble expedients of oligarchic tyranny, with which the elitist faction thinks it has already replaced that creed.
People who still strive mightily to revive, reclaim or otherwise recall the GOP to life aren’t beating a dead horse. They’re stomping the dust to which its corpse has just returned, thereby raising a pall to obscure from view the advent of the naked, monstrous evil that has well-nigh slouched its way to what was once the prosperous couch of decent liberty. Thereon it will give birth to offspring destined to feed like insect larvae, upon the rotting leaves of the tree of liberty, which the elitist faction has already degraded into a stump of fragile, moldy and licentious freedom.
This may not be the end of the world, but its continuance will be the end of “the world-turned-upside-down,” at Lexington, Yorktown and Appomattox Courthouse. The victories of the people of the United States partially represented the prophetic word God put into the mouth of the expectant mother of Jesus Christ, when she saw that “He that is mighty has done great things; … He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.”
If America’s contemporary popular culture is any indication, the proud think now to regroup in their heart’s imagination, imposing upon us and all the world a vision of human despotism that purports to serve mankind by exalting the power of men above the will of God, without whose wisdom men are not capable of liberty. Is it too late to make headway against this prideful effort to reverse the true progress human beings can make by conforming to the image of God that Christ presented again as our true life and God-intended nature?
It is not too late. But it surely will be if we persist in wallowing pridefully in the dust, instead of standing in the Spirit of the Lord, wherein alone we find true liberty.
In that spirit, I here resolve to cease abetting the lie the sees a living reality in that from which the Spirit of God has fled. Though all the world persists in its delusion, I will henceforth refer to the GOP as “the party formerly known as Republican,” or else, as events and circumstances (such as the passage of the most recent omnibus spending bill) warrant, “the party properly known as anti-Republican.” I imagine its adherents will scoff at the idiocy of one man’s protestation on behalf of truth. But their scoffing only confirms their abandonment of the American creed which, by the example of Christ, taught there is power in one individual’s faithful witness, so long as God’s truth is in it.