Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Party of tinfoil hats

    Idaho Republican Party leadership replaced its cowboy hats with tinfoil hats when it dished out insults, repression, discrimination and threats of religious oppression at the party’s convention in North Idaho last week.
    The party dissolved in chaos and a walkout after days of infighting, insults and attempts to manufacture a world in which Idaho’s most populous county would be muzzled, women would be seen and not heard, Bibles would be required in schools and same-sex couples could not have children.
    If a screenwriter had created this scenario, it would have been criticized as too wildly far out to be believable.    Party Chair Barry Peterson of Mountain Home denied the Ada County delegation’s right to have 34 members appointed to various committees and appointed just four, saying he hadn’t received the delegation’s list of nominees. The Associated Press found that other counties were also shorted delegates, while others were given extra delegates.
    Then, when a group of women raised questions about the process, Credential Committee Co-Chair Chuck Reitz told them, “Just hold on, take a breath and go refresh your lipstick.” Translation: “Don’t bother your pretty heads with this—let the men in the group work it out.”
    Party platforms seeking Bibles in schools and the no-kids rule for gays were never voted on. Delegates did vote to remove a plank from the party platform that had called for the Legislature to appoint U.S. senators instead of letting voters elect them, something guaranteed by the 17th Amendment.
    The party’s tyrannical leaders and calls to return to a 1950s world of smoke-filled rooms, men who speak while women are silent, gays in the closet and Christian faith for all should leave Idahoans sleepless, not to mention speechless.
    Republicans occupy every major state-level office and dominate the Legislature by huge margins. The chaos of the convention shows that it’s time for voters to give the party time away from power until it sheds its tin foil hats and gets a grip on reality—and the 21st century.

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