Here’s something to consider: Authoritarianism is male-dominated.
While we may see authoritarian behaviors from women in our workplace or in social settings, we do not see women at the top of authoritarian regimes. It never happens. There may be female power “behind the throne,” but the front man is always that: a person of the male gender.
But might this be changing? There are strong expectations in America that in 2016 a woman will rise to the highest levels of our government. Many in the Democratic Party want to nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton as President of the United States.
While it may not be apparent that this involves an opportunity for Authoritarianism, the associated factors are too strong to ignore.
Is there a Political-Religious Movement in place? Not completely, but the Democratic Party is moving in that direction. The political component of the movement is the Democratic Party itself, and it has a strong philosophical stance.
That philosophy can be seen in the idealistic intentions of its followers. Members of the Democratic Party want to stop war, end violence and eliminate inequality. They want to curtail climate change, end discrimination and eliminate hunger. If an individual has an idealistic intent (perhaps with a Utopian slant) the Democratic Party is very welcoming.
However, rather than having a defined orthodoxy, the Democratic Party simply validates good intentions. It is a political party that is “always trying to do the right thing.”
Note that I am describing the party from a humanist standpoint. This has nothing to do with historical perspective or policy. It is simply the way human beings view a Political-Religious Movement.
While the political component promotes the high ideals of the followers, what about the religious component? The Democratic Party has traditional support from Jews and Catholics, but there is no institutional sect associated with it.
As a substitute, the Democratic Party welcomes any belief system, from Atheism to Secularism. The guiding principle is the power and authority of the Democratic Party itself. The primacy of the Democratic Party is what transforms it into a religion of its own being. Everything becomes “political.” The separate spheres of politics and religion coalesce.
The transformation of the Democratic Party into a Political-Religious Movement is an evolving process. Because it is happening as a current event, we do not fully appreciate its significance.
We see its cultural impact, where many, but not all, are caught up. But since each and every American is a part of that culture, we have difficulty “stepping back” and objectively analyzing the transformation.
That’s where it becomes important to look at the Object of Hate. Followers of the Democratic Party have high ideals, and derive a sense of moral authority from that feeling. But that is not what distinguishes them. The feature that stands out is the hatred directed at Republicans.
The Democratic Party spends a great deal of effort characterizing Republicans as bad people. The Party teaches Americans that Republicans are racist, homophobic bigots. The Party sees Republicans as trying to destroy the environment, turn the economy into a catastrophe, shred the Constitution, harm our children and steal from our Seniors. Republicans are liars and cannot be trusted. Republicans must be destroyed.
That last sentence may be figurative, but it describes the intensity of anti-Republican feeling that is fostered by the Democratic Party. That intensity is particularly evident in the Democratic Party Base.
You might be surprised to find that the Democratic Party Base sees a perfect world as a place where there are no Republicans. They internalize that artful remark, “The Only Good Republican is a Dead Republican.”
The implication is ominous (at least for Republicans) but the feelings are based in idealism: If there were no Republicans, the resulting unity of thought would be a thing of beauty.
I realize that setting forth this construct in a few paragraphs seems extreme. It helps to examine it within historical context. Other Political-Religious Movements have employed the same mix of idealism and hatred to energize their movements. We’ve seen it in Germany’s National Socialist Movement and most recently in the Ukraine and Nigeria. The philosophical duality of idealism paired with hatred is commonplace.
One aspect of the Democratic Party’s evolution into a Political-Religious Movement worth noting is its sophistication in the use of themes. I mentioned the characterization of Republicans as bad people, but the manner in which the Democratic Party accomplishes this task is significant. The Party teaches Americans that Republicans may not exhibit the racism or homophobia of which they are accused, but they have sinister intent. Republicans want to hurt these people. Republicans want to do bad things.
While Americans may not see actual instances of the suggested Republican behavior, they know what Republicans want to do. That is an attitudinal aspect that simply cannot be underestimated. It has great power to energize human feelings.
Again, I must emphasize that we are watching the evolution of a Political-Religious Movement here in America. It is a work in progress, and is unfolding before us. It provides a unique opportunity for study.
A musical group acts out the disembowelment of Sarah Palin. Mitt Romney is characterized as being callous toward women dying from cancer. Should we be concerned about the legitimacy of these cultural portrayals? Are there bounds for decency? What determines the limitations?
This is American politics, and it is fertile ground for authoritarians. We have a ringside seat as the opportunities are exploited.
Whether Hillary Clinton is the person to rise to the top of the Democratic Party Movement remains to be seen. If she does, we will be witnessing the ascension of a person of the female gender to a position of authoritarian domination in the United States of America.
That will be a “first.”