At some point, you just have to throw up your hands, possibly within reach of your own neck. Are they insane? Are they another species? Is their paranoia real, or is it an excuse; and if so, for what? Who the hell knows? All I know for sure is that today's Republican party, the ones elected to Congress, are so far beneath contempt that you could holler at them for a year before the sound got to where they are.
What's the latest outrage? (I wish I had the brainpower to conjure a stronger word than outrage.) Senate Republicans just voted down a UN treaty on disabilities, one negotiated originally by George HW Bush, and supported visibly by Bob Dole who, only recently released from a hospital, wheeled himself to the door of the Senate chambers, so his fellow Rs (in name only) might be shamed into voting for it. They didn't. Thirty-eight "nay" votes were enough to defeat the measure, and all of the no-nothings were Rs. It "failed" with sixty-one "yea" votes (including a few Rs, many of whom were lame-duckers), short of the two-thirds majority needed.
Why would they do that, you ask? Well, of course, it's because it means submitting the US to UN law, the first step to a blue-helmet takeover, and only a hare's breadth away (they're not very wide, you know, cuddly as they seem to be) from Sharia law. Except, of course, that it doesn't. Mean that.
The U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, for those who've forgotten, is a human rights treaty negotiated by the George H.W. Bush administration, which has been ratified by 126 nations, including China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
But most Senate Republicans saw it as a threat to American "sovereignty," even though the treaty wouldn't have required the United States to change its laws. When the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the treaty with bipartisan support in July, Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) explained the proposal simply "raises the [international] standard to our level without requiring us to go further."
In other words, we wouldn't actually have to do anything except say we like the treaty -- and then wait for other signatories around the world to catch up to the United States' Americans with Disabilities Act.
The treaty was endorsed by Dole, John McCain, and Dick Lugar, among other prominent Republican figures, but it didn't matter. The GOP's right-wing base, led in part by Rick Santorum, raised hysterical fears about the treaty, and most Senate Republicans took their cues from the party's activists, not the party's elder statesmen.
And here's an interesting wrinkle. If the garden-variety teabagger is a paranoid and uninformed huddled mass of Foxified fear, what about home-schoolers? (I know a few, and some are both well-informed, liberal of thought, and entirely well-intentioned.) As a general statement, they're afraid of their own shadows, and of those that might cross their kids' perfectly-created-by-god bodies. Turns out they were really against the treaty, and teabaggRs listened. I'm sure it makes perfect sense in their walled-off view of the world:
Although all sorts of reasons were cited by conservatives for opposing this treaty—from standard-brand crypto-Bircherite hostility to the U.N. to complaints that abortion rights were not explicitly excluded—it’s reasonably clear the big problem was the opposition of homeschoolers, per this pre-vote report from The Hill’s Julian Pecquet:
Conservative activists have come out in force against the treaty, warning it would pave the way for government interference in homeschooling. Supporters of the pact say it would merely extend the rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act to all nations….
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)…is working alongside former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, the Heritage Foundation and the Home School Legal Defense Association to ensure the treaty’s defeat. They warn it would create a U.N. committee that could impinge on U.S. sovereignty.
What a deadly combination: raging paranoia matched with all-encompassing lack of information, maintained by keeping the real world out of your own small made-up one. These people belong on a commune somewhere, heads wrapped in tinfoil, nodding in agreement with one another, all news of the world drowned out by their mumbling. Where they most assuredly do not belong is in the halls of the Congress of the once-great United States of America.
And yet, there they damn well are, representing, give or take, half of our country!
[Update: as usual, Jon Stewart has a great take on this. (Actually, it begins here.)]