Is the extreme right mean-spirited?

One of the false equivalencies promoted by the media is that being mean [Republicans] is equal to being nice [Democrats]. Yes, I’m simplifying, perhaps oversimplifying, but it sure does seem that the Republican Party takes positions that are mean (doing harm to a class of people), while Democrats want to improve the quality of life for virtually all sectors of our society.



Food stamps are no longer necessary. Food stamps are essential for those who otherwise would go hungry.
Employment programs are not necessary because the free market will automatically create jobs. The only sure way to provide jobs for citizens is that the federal government is the employer of last resort.
Americans can always find good health care because the emergency room is always open. Good and affordable health care is essential for Americans and can best be guaranteed by a “Medicare for all” system.

On the one-hand it is sloppy analysis to make sweeping generalizations, but on the other hand, recent votes in Congress have been almost exclusively along partisan lines.  The data would seem to indicate the polarity of the positions that the two parties take towards one another.  It’s important to keep in mind that if one interprets polarity as two extremes, equally far removed from the center, it would be incorrect.  Being thoughtful towards others should be a bulwark of our culture; being mean should be the aberration.  So far the American electorate are having difficulty recognizing this juxtaposition in which one party is clearly more at fault than the other.  The body politic seems to prefer “a pox on both of your houses” rather than the analytical thinking of someone like ….. Paul Krugman, op-ed columnist of the New York Times.

Krugman writes:

Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.

For decades, farm bills have had two major pieces. One piece offers subsidies to farmers; the other offers nutritional aid to Americans in distress, mainly in the form of food stamps (these days officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP).

Long ago, when subsidies helped many poor farmers, you could defend the whole package as a form of support for those in need.

So House Republicans voted to maintain farm subsidies — at a higher level than either the Senate or the White House proposed — while completely eliminating food stamps from the bill.

Of course, this is just one of dozens of bills in which Republicans seem to take the position that is blatantly mean to the American people, all the while not receiving negative feedback from their core constituencies.  They have public support because meanness is not exclusive to Republicans in politics; it is a core belief to tens of millions of Americans.

I’ve written previously about “the Republican brain.”  It is definitely a mystery to most independents and progressives.  More information about it will become available to us as we observe more, as psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, and political scientists study their , and as neurologists literally study what goes on in their brains.  Let’s just hope that those in our society who favor compassion, empathy, and reason can remain strong as hopefully something is done for those on the right who inflict such misery on others.  This is an “all hands on board” cause in order to better ensure the well-being of our society.