How to think like a Republican

Try this sometime. Ask any Republican to tell you who started the Environmental Protection Agency. (Do it face to face so they can’t Google it.) Then sit back and watch them try to work out the answer by trotting out a series of prefabricated GOP-styled “villains,” from Obama to Hillary to Antifa. After you’ve given them an adequate amount of time to make fools of themselves, let them down nice and hard. Tell them Richard Nixon started the EPA, then sit back and wait for the coda.

Like as not their reply will involve a bizarre filigree of reverse engineering also involving the aforementioned “villains.” They may even treat you to a Republican specialty by reminding you of the irrelevant fact that Obama’s middle name is “Hussein,” as if this accidental parental choice beyond the infant’s control is somehow heavy with dark portent. (My middle name, for example, is “Aaron.” Let Republican fans of the musical “Hamilton” make of that what they like.)

You don’t have to say very much to your Republican. Just let the uncomfortable fact that they’re wrong settle in, and watch them inexorably drown in their very own bullshit. You can even send them away letting them think they have “won.” The really dumb ones will convince themselves they have. The slightly more clever ones won’t ever want to think about your encounter with them ever again.

In any case, that it was Nixon who started the EPA, and not Kennedy or some other damned lib’ral, isn’t at all surprising if you’ve lived long enough to watch the steady decline of Republicanism since, say, the ‘60s. The Republican Party began (or at least, continued) as a legitimate political party. Sometime in the 70s it was invaded by a crackpot strain of evangelical Christian lunacy that inexorably asserted itself as dominant. So today Republican “thought” isn’t really thought at all, it’s reaction, on the order of a plant reacting to heat or cold: slow, stupid and comically predictable.

In simplistic terms, if you want to think like a Republican you don’t have to work very hard. The ultimate point, of course, is to blame everything bad on Democrats and give all credit for everything good to Republicans.

You begin thinking like a Republican with the essential tools of the craft. These include not just ignorance of science but contempt for it. Anything wrought from “book learnin’” is anathema, a vestige straight out of the evangelical agenda. What evangelicals refer to as the “wisdom of the world.” These include, but are not limited to, suspicions about anything anyone can learn in academia at any time, particularly when it is at variance with the established dogma.

In short, anything that science says can be carelessly contradicted without any further investigation or evidence if it is even slightly inconvenient to what the Republican wants to be true. In fact Truth, according to this reasoning, is easy to come by and never complicated, and is easy to test. If a scientific fact favors a Republican agenda it’s true, if it doesn’t it’s false. How hard can that be?

Another indispensable tool for thinking like a Republican is two dimensional thinking. This is helped along by reducing everything to heavily loaded words and phrases like “socialism,” or “Antifa,” or “Make America Great Again.” These words have no actual formal meaning to Republicans. They don’t have to. They’re just useful conversation terminators, as in, “That’s just socialism,” or, “notice how the mainstream media didn’t mention Antifa?”

Hypocrisy is indispensable for thinking like a Republican. Republicans pretend to be brave but at the same time they need to carry guns because they’re frightened of everything. In fact, everything they stand for is characterized by underlying fear: homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia.

Republican men like to pretend they’re macho protectors of women, but they abandon or throw their womenfolk under the bus at their first opportunity. Like Ted Cruz, who blames his daughters for his trip to Cancun. He was “just dropping them off,” you see. The bad optics aren’t his fault, it’s theirs. Meanwhile he puts his own daughters in the shameful position of having to lie for their disgusting father. Remember, Cruz is the same guy who forgot that Donald Trump called his wife ugly and is now Trump’s best friend and protector.

Until Trump is done with Cruz, of course. Then Trump will throw Cruz away like a filthy rag. Just watch. It’s only a matter of time. Because that’s how Republicans roll. Disloyalty is just another Republican trait. After all, look how quickly the January 6th insurrectionists turned against Mike Pence.

I guess the bottom line is, if you want to think like a Republican, you have to think like a loathsome and disgusting and disloyal villain. You have to become everything hateful and nothing good. You have to be a whiny, hypocritical, sanctimonious Pharisee. You have to be consumed by hate and suspicion and fear and paranoia. You have to be small-minded and vindictive and petty and greedy and stupid. In short, you have to stop being an American. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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