An Open Letter to America’s Republican Party

It has come to my attention while observing your attempt to interfere with the international foreign policy of your own country, that you may not fully understand the consequences of your actions. Thus, I am writing to bring your attention to several features of your party and your actions which you should seriously consider as your political careers progress.

First, the “Dear Ayatollah” letter from the 47 traitors to the leaders of Iran. Both this and the speech from Benjamin Netanyahu before Congress were intended to undermine the commander in chief of the United States of America and his foreign policy, to scuttle multi-national efforts to achieve a peaceful nuclear treaty with Iran, and to deliver an empty threat to the sovereigns of a foreign nation. Own it. Your Junior Senator Tom Cotton has already and willingly revealed that it was an intended attempt at sabotage. Efforts to spin it otherwise or explain it away, to minimize it, or split hairs on what “sabotage” really means are intellectually weak and dishonest.

Bill Kristol, who claims to have had a hand in crafting the letter, is also claiming it to be a tremendous success because it got people talking about the Iran deal. In a fashion, yes it did. It got the professionals who regularly engage in international negotiations talking about what a load of incompetent boobs you are for attempting to torpedo the talks this way. But it wasn’t just the letter, was it? No, the Junior Senator Tom Cotton isn’t a great political mastermind. His “Dear Ayatollah” letter was just a continuation of the undermining that you began with your invitation to Benjamin Netenyahu that is part of an ongoing agenda to obstruct President Barack Obama in everything he wishes to do.

One of the greatest assets of international diplomacy is discretion. Your letter landed in the international community with all the tact of a truckload of spring-loaded peanut cans exploding all at once, and we know that that disruption was its intended effect. According to the Washington Post, the subject of the letter did come up at a Monday, March 16th meeting between Iran’s negotiators and the US negotiators. According to the source, The Iranians brought it up, saying that it was “a concern”. They also called it a “distraction”, “unhelpful” and “ill informed and ill advised”. It didn’t seem to derail talks at all, but it did attract attention. So, bravo. For the gain of a moment’s distraction you have made fools of yourselves and your country on the international stage. Anyone who signed that letter and thinks that they have any credibility now with any current or future position on foreign policy is sadly mistaken. Putting any one of those signatories within arm’s reach of influence on international affairs would be akin to putting your money on Dan Quayle in a spelling bee.

Probably THE most important thing in international politics is trust. Every decision, every agreement, every proposal, every counter-proposal, is based on the trust one nation can place in another. Just talking to each other requires a certain level of trust that those talks are going to be fruitful, but that trust isn’t just placed in who is sitting across the table from you. You must also have the trust from, and trust in, your allies. The current deal with Iran is being negotiated with Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany. These are delicate negotiations with many facets. Do you not think that your actions in this regard have communicated to all involved that Congress is controlled by a bunch of loose cannons who act before they think?

Treason, mutiny, obstructionism, whatever you want to call it, it seems the Republican Party’s raison d’etre right now is really nothing more than to stymie President Obama at every opportunity, be it reasonable or not.

An Obama advisor once described the commander in chief’s approach in Libya as “leading from behind”. It is a noble concept that when seeking change, the most positive and permanent results are most often achieved by enabling and motivating the people to effect the change themselves, rather than imposing that change by an outside force. Look at the recent examples of this. You’ve been in and out of Libya and the UN is now negotiating the peace there. Alternately, you still have a presence in Iraq, and are losing ground there. And yet, the GOP detests “leading from behind”. After that stunt you pulled, be grateful that any country lets you lead at all on the international stage.

Ironically, what the GOP is trying to with this deliberate act of sabotage IS “leading from behind”. You do not have the power of the Presidency, but you’re doing everything you can to usurp it, no matter how ill-advised or reckless.

…or is it more accurately stated that you are most uncomfortable with the idea of simply BEING behind? Perhaps the GOP feels that America should be bold and brash, like your idols John “The Duke” Wayne or Saint Ronald Reagan, tossing its weight around with wild abandon, charging in and selectively inflicting its leverage on countries like George W. “Mission Accomplished” Bush did. Even the most casual observer recognizes that the disastrous “you’re with us or against us” foreign policy of the Junior Bush is the reason why America no longer has that kind of sway. Obama is not to blame for that, it’s the mess he inherited. …but this unmistakable “cause and effect” relationship seems somehow to have escaped the collective notice of the GOP. I say that because I would prefer to think you haven’t picked up on it, rather than you are actively ignoring it.

If, despite your petulant attempt at sabotage, Obama’s diplomats somehow manage to pull off a deal in Iran, it will only serve to show how effective he is as a leader, despite the clowns he has to work against… how right-minded is his foreign policy, despite the opinions of inexperienced and disinterested Congressmen… and is indeed the leader America deserves, despite all the fearmongering of the GOP.

As a political party, you are not only getting a failing grade, you’re doing worse than that.

I’m fairly certain that your campaign ads talked about how “Washington is broken” and you were “going to make Washington WORK!”. When your constituents elected you, it was with that promise in mind. Instead, we find America with the least productive Congress in history. You’ve gone from a united America to partisan politics to obstructionism to downright mutiny, engaging in wanton sabotage. The most honest admission out of the whole Iran letter fiasco was John McCain’s dismissive “I sign lots of letters”, at once admitting that he didn’t even properly comprehend what he had signed, its intent and its consequences, nor did he think he should be reasonably expected to because his signing pen is so busy.

And how have you done with that campaign promise of making Washington work? Toward the end of 2013, 28% of Americans viewed the Republican party favourably, while 62% viewed you UNfavourably. The numbers today are not much better, and with this letter stunt, I expect it will drop even lower. Specifically speaking, public opinion of Congressional Republicans is even lower, with just 17% approval and 77% disapproval. You are failing miserably in your promise to your constituents to make government work. But worse than that, when asked what was the number one problem facing America today, some Americans named ISIS, unemployment, race relations, Homeland Security, economy, immigration, health care, education, climate change or even terrorism as the number one problem, but the most commonly given answer was the American government. Let that sink in. More Americans think YOU are the biggest problem facing the United States right now than any other issue. The numbers don’t lie. You’re not supposed to BE a problem, you’re supposed to be FIXING the problems. No employer would keep an employee who only satisfied their job requirements 17% of the time. Why do you think you deserve to be re-elected? Give Americans a reason to re-employ you.

Which leads me to the next point. Why on earth would anyone vote FOR you? You have spent all your energy on the fearmongering angle that Republicans need to vote AGAINST the “other guy”. The “Anybody But Obama” campaign failed. From that campaign, we only understand what you stand against, and our knowledge of what you are for – besides the interest of America’s mega-corporations and the military industrial complex – is practically a void.

We all know well what you’re against. You are anti-intellectual, anti-woman, anti-minimum wage, anti-poor (but not anti-poverty), anti-abortion, anti-equality, anti-inclusion, anti-feminist, anti-science, anti-environment, anti-affordable health care, anti-education, anti-secularist, anti-Obama, anti-reproductive health and rights, anti-privacy, anti-net neutrality, the list is seemingly endless.

America needs to know why they should vote for you. Find something to stand for. Make a positive statement with your vision.

Stop trying to repeal Obamacare. After your third failed attempt your party became a punch line for Bill Maher, and it keeps getting funnier every time you fail again. Stop it. Affordable Health Care is here to stay, it’s working, and it’s popular.

Your potential presidential candidates are all jokes. Your leading candidates for president are almost unanimously against anthropogenic climate change and evolution – two things which are as accepted a scientific reality as gravity. Like it or not, man-made climate change is not a conspiracy, it’s not a personal opinion, it’s not even a scientific opinion, it is a scientific consensus. And yes, evolution is real, too, despite the refusal of a single one of the 2012 Republican Presidential nominees to say so. Your obstructionist politics surface even here, by naming one of your presidential hopefuls and a rabid climate change denier as the congressional head of NASA. Elaborating on the utter unsuitability of your candidates is an article all by itself. Fix this. Put people who understand science in charge of the science stuff. Use people’s strengths, stop using the politics of division and obstruction.

Stop trying to “defund” everything in sight. Until this President got in office, I didn’t even know that was a word. It advances nothing, and Americans see that clearly as little more than a tantrum.

You are so lost in all your chest thumping, your flag waving, your tear stained cheeks during the national anthem, all in order to display who is the greatest patriot for the greatest country in the universe. In order to wave that flag and “play to your base” and hold on to your few votes you spew divisive rhetoric that pits American against American. You need to stop this. The greatest leaders knew how to pull the country together so that it may continue being a world leader. Being “the greatest country in the world” is not a destination. You have to keep moving forward or you will be overtaken.

You are on the wrong side of history in just about every issue. Affordable Health Care. Anthropogenic Climate Change. Same Sex Marriage. Abortion and Reproductive Rights. Women’s Rights. Native American Rights. Education. Keystone XL. Renewable Energy. The Environment. Economic Shutdowns. Immigration. Start taking rational, reasoned positions on things.

Two years ago was the last time I heard a Republican say anything that made any sense to me. In January of 2013, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal told the RNC that “We’ve gotta stop being the stupid party. I’m serious. It’s time for a new Republican party that talks like adults. It’s time for us to articulate our plans and our visions for America in real terms.” and that you need to “stop insulting the intelligence of voters”. It was a long-overdue scathing rebuke of the GOP and the influence of the Tea Party. It was a rousing address in which Jindal called for a reboot of the Republican party, to give it a forward vision, instead of constantly wistfully reminiscing about Saint Reagan while stroking their guns. It was truly inspirational, and we got a glimmer of hope that there may be a credible presidential candidate in there. America and the world sat up and took notice, but, that moment was fleeting. Something deep inside Bobby Jindal snapped violently, and now Jindal is the champion of the stupid party.

Stop it!  America needs a good second option. It’s not that I think the Democrats are doing a particularly bad job, it’s just that competition is a good thing. It keeps everyone on their toes. Right now, you are not competition for the Democratic Party. Seriously, the Democrats could run Bo and Sunny, the Obamas’ energetic Portuguese Water Dogs in 2016, and win handily if people were voting on just the quality of the candidate.

If there is one refreshingly honest effect that the Tea Party influence has had on the Republican Party, it’s that it has brought the simmering undercurrent of racism in America to the fore. Yes, that’s a good thing, because for years “White America” had lulled itself into a false pretense that racism was overwith, that it was conquered and everyone was treated equals. A collective sigh of relief from White America was almost audible around the world when Obama was elected President in 2008, as this meant that America was certainly now “post-racial”… a term bandied about by television talking heads almost every opportunity immediately after the polls closed on election night. Equally as immediately, the vitriol of the Tea Party boiled over as John McCain had to stop and calm down the loud chorus of “BOOs” during his concession speech that same night. That was only the beginning, as Alexandra Pelosi’s HBO documentary “Right America: Feeling Wronged” showed us. You still need to fix this.

Take a more reasoned approach. Think things through. Stop the politics of hate, fear, division and obstructionism. Develop positive policies. Stop the mudslinging. Do your job, and LEAD.

I am not American. I don’t hate America. I am friends with many Americans, and I see these Americans losing faith in their country. They no longer recognize the country they grew up in, the country they were promised was theirs in the next generation, the country they themselves worked hard for. Instead of a bold, proud nation taking enormous strides, bristling with innovation and promise they see a shipwreck, a discarded hulk, plundered of its promise, robbed of its future and thrashing itself to pieces on the rocks of division. They wonder, did that other America ever really exist? Were they given false hope? Yes, that America existed. Your divisive rhetoric, the poison tongue of the Tea Party, have crippled America and ended the “American Dream”. Fix that. Don’t be the party that accomplishes short-sighted goals through interference and obstructionism. Set a positive path, with positive goals. America needs a constructive Republican party that has a credible leader, with a clear directive of moving forward, building on what America already is and already has. The only thing preventing America from being really great, is you. The good news is, that means you are the most able to fix that. So get at it.

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