The GOP – A Thirty Year Case of Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance: (definition) – Whenever an individual holds two cognitions (beliefs, ideas, and opinions) which are psychologically inconsistent, he/she will experience a drive to reduce the inconsistency. Dissonance may be reduced by changing either or both of the existing cognitions, or by adding new cognitions that will reduce the conflict by putting them in a new perspective.

Cognitive Dissonance is a condition, or state-of-mind, which a large portion of the U.S. population clearly suffers from today. The coverage and context of Fox News is a 24/7 exercise in Cognitive Dissonance. Fox projects to an old, scared, and very white audience, an imaginary wish that life in America should return to the 1950’s.

The hugely successful candidacy of Donald Trump as GOP nominee lies in the falsehoods and impossible promises of that messaging. Harking to a world that has changed dramatically over the past three decades.

After absorbing years of fictional tales about what defines prosperity, the GOP “base” is rightfully angry that their elected Conservative representatives in Washington have not delivered on those phony promises for the past 30 years. Enter Mr. Trump to the shock, horror and embarrassment of GOP leaders and their big money donors.

Being Republican is supposed to mean one believes in minimal government, low taxation, sensible regulation of commerce, and personal responsibility. Add to that an underlying belief that Republicans are more patriotic than other citizens, and that they can exercise fiscal prudence without a cap on military spending. As an American I firmly believe in all those things – except the insanity of the last item. All in all I should be a Republican. Sign me up!

Today one can’t really vote Republican anymore if you also believe in science, the art of compromise, that women have brains of their own, in the sensible use of our armed forces, in staying out of another nation’s business unless absolutely necessary and that America’s founders had it absolutely right with the Constitutional separation of church and state. That separation has stood this country very good stead for the past 240 years. None of these things jibe with the GOP message since long before 2008.

America should join the rest of the Western World with some form of basic national health care. I also believe unequivocally that my nutty neighbor doesn’t have an inalienable right to own a houseful of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. Those weapons belong in the military and on police forces. If you’re determined to use assault weapons, then enlist and serve your country. Owning weapons of war, at the very least, should require a vetting process at least as stringent as getting a driver’s license. Because I believe these things, I am often categorized by my Republican friends as “a left wing liberal pinko commie sympathizer.”

This election year take a look at history over the last 60 years. And remember that the last GOP president who actually practiced Conservative principles once elected – leaving our nation and the Treasury better off than when he took office – Dwight D. Eisenhower. “Ike” left the White House in 1961. Somehow, it all got perverted after that.

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