By now, this news is a bit old, but I just watched Alexandra Pelosi's documentary on HBO, Right America: Feeling Wronged, and I wanted to give my take on it.
At the very beginning of the documentary, Pelosi lets us know that the views expressed by the people on the campaign trail are not representative of Republicans in general. She's right, but the people she caught on film do represent the remainder of the country that actually approved of the job George W. Bush was doing till the very end of his term.
There are two types of Republicans that do seem to be typical. The first is the type that wants to make sure that their taxes do not get raised. These Republicans are not the super-wealthy; they are usually small business owners who have voted Republican for years, who remember when the GOP was all about small business, and not large corporations. They are stuck on automatic when it comes to voting (just like some Democrats will automatically vote that way), so they don't recognize how far the Republicans who actually have had power have deviated from the fiscal responsibility and--dare I say it--the social liberalism that used to be part of the party line.
The second type of Republican makes up the majority of the party now. These are the social conservatives. They are vocal, and they vote on the issues of abortion (their number one motivation), faith, homosexuality, and maybe guns--although guns aren't a requirement for this bunch, if they're sincere about being pro-life. In any case, this type of Republican believes Christianity is the only way, and that their morality should be legislated on the rest of us. They will vote Republican because the GOP has recognized that using the faith of this crowd secures their votes.
Now, the type of Republicans Alexandra Pelosi interviewed varied, but she caught some of the true party fanatics. These are people who believe everything Fox News spoon feeds them. These are the people that believe every viral email that comes into their inbox, and they have no problem passing these insane messages on without researching them. These are people who equate tolerance with being politically correct.
One of the women talked about how the Christian way is the only way. That's dictatorship, sister. If you have to force your religion down the throats of others, if you can't win people over through persuasion or, as your Bible prescribes (read the New Testament), living the example, then it's not much of a religion, is it?
A few of the guys were blatantly, unapologetically racist. The one black guy in Mississippi is right: this sort of racism exists everywhere, but in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, if you were to say, "I am not ready for a black president," or "I'm not voting for a nigger," or "I wouldn't vote for a black man or a woman," they wouldn't have a political career, and it wouldn't be good for them, politician or no, to say it on camera.
The smears were everywhere. The viral emails were summarized on t-shirts, buttons, and signs held up in crowds. Barack Obama was labeled a socialist. He was labeled the antichrist. He was equated to Hitler.
One word about the Hitler thing: I just don't know whether to fall over laughing at how ridiculous people are who compare Obama to Hitler, or puke in their faces at the disgusting thought. Hitler made his intentions clear in a book. It's called Mein Kampf, and its English translation is available for free online. He talks about how he was "doing the Lord's work" in eradicating the Jews. Barack Obama wrote books, too. I don't recall him saying anything about eradicating anyone. Hitler used the Jews as a scapegoat and thumbed his nose at treaties; Obama is inclusive as he can be and is a constitutional attorney.
No President is perfect, and Obama wasn't my first choice among the Democrats in the primaries, but some of the ridiculous things people say about him just make me want to smack sense into them--and I'm firmly against violence. I just don't know what else would persuade them.
Maybe this documentary will help Republicans to look in the mirror and see what sort of ignorance they at least tolerate, at most foster. I think Pelosi was more than fair to a group of people who thinks her mother is evil incarnate.