Reading the news often gives me a warm, familiar, numbing sense of deja-vu. It's spring, and my favorite basketball player (Steve Nash) is on court bleeding into his eyes again. A President is nominating someone with no direct judicial experience to the Supreme Court. Some prominent, charismatic Christian evangelical religious leader and political activist has been paying a man to spend time with him. Ah, sweet familiarity!
If Steve Nash isn't getting stitches, it's not Playoff Basketball.
And then I happen to run across an article that says one of my state's Senators, Bob Bennett, didn't get enough votes at the Republican Party Convention to even make the primary election because he's not conservative enough and my jaw drops.
In a way, this is also deja vu: it wasn't too long ago that my district's ultraconservative Congressman, Chris Cannon (who had a rating of 96 from the American Conservative Union) was defeated in a primary by Jason Chaffetz, whose politics are just to the right of Shiv Sena. The hot new thing in Utah is apparently to throw out anyone who will shake hands with a Democrat, an immigrant, or anyone who has ever lived in or near Washington, D.C.
Bennett tries to convince convention delegates that he is not now,
nor has a ever been, a member of the Communist Party.
That Bob Bennett didn't even make the primary, though, still manages to disturb me.
How does something like this happen?
It's simple, say the analysts. The general pattern goes like this:
1) Seasoned statesman listens carefully to weeks and weeks of expert testimony, makes hard choice to support controversial bill for the good of the country.
2) Ultraconservative voters listen to weeks and weeks of talk radio, decide that controversial bill is Satanic, Communist, or both, and decide that only purity can save the nation.
3) Out-of-state-group pays to get handpicked delegates selected at local caucus meetings while normal people are out watering their gardens.
4) Seasoned statesman is told "the party doesn't want you anymore."
5) Primary and general elections are held--in Utah, this is done for fun, but it's already been decided that a case of rabies will be sent to Congress in lieu of the outgoing eighteen years of experience.
Welcome to the current chapter in our glorious democracy. Aren't you glad that in November, you will get to vote?
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