Right now there is a power struggle that seems to mirror that which has kept the Christian Church from doing its mission for far too long. There is what appears, on the surface at least, to be a three way struggle for dominance between only two factions.
Rush Limbaugh, in his usual inimitable way, has manipulated being given the mantel of conservative Republicanism’s top dog. He is, as usual, only half right. Vying against him for the same demographic, as if he hasn’t already damaged the party enough while in office, is former VP Dick Cheney. Over and against those with a conservative bent is the more moderate or centrist Republicans represented ably by Colin Powell.
Two against one hardly seems fair, unless the one is Powell, whose approval ratings are better than Cheney and Limbaugh combined. While Limbaugh owns the best in bombast award and Cheney is the perfection of pretense, Powell is the chairman of the board in charisma and compromise. Powell understands fully how the neo-conservative ideology of the others has driven away the faithful in droves. The battle lines are drawn firmly between moderation and dogmatic weltanschauung, the narrow worldview of the power driven.
How could this better reflect the divisive nature of church politics over the last few decades? And how could it have any better effect on the party than it has on the church?
For young people, the results of a survey say it all – the church is judgmental, arrogant and too embroiled in politics, especially anti-LGBT politics. The GOP has been, for quite some time, courting the religious right to add power to its ideology. That development lines up very well with a drastic increase in the number of folks who do not claim a church affiliation. No organized church structure has been immune. And now, it seems, the GOP has successfully divided itself to the point it cannot live into its mandate.
The Republicans themselves appear to have a two-party system and are embroiled in partisan politics. That means the key advantage to a democratic society – an organized and civil opposition – is missing in action. Who is to blame for any poor or failed decisions made in Washington? As long as they carry on this civil war it will be the GOP, largely because they cannot find enough of their rear ends with both hands to actually be effective at making counter-arguments and affecting legislation positively. They will, of course, point the finger at anyone but themselves. In the end, however, those that are let down by this debacle will be the U.S. citizens who rely on the existence of two counter-balanced parties to maintain working equilibrium.