Wooly Mammoths

Do you remember reading about the Wooly Mammoth? I have read about them and heard stories about their mass and their extinction. I have seen pictures of them, gigantic hairy elephant, roaming North America millions of years ago. Hollywood has depicted their size in stone age B movies featuring Steve Reeves and Raquel Welch, massive tusk laden beast mean and stubborn.

The Wooly Mammoth went the way of other dinosaurs of 100 million years ago, they went extinct. The dinosaurs of old died off because they could not adapt to the changing environment; whether it was from a nuclear winter or some other catastrophic event, fact is they died off because they could not change fast enough evolutionarily as the world changed around them.

I listened to the Republican National Convention last week and thought to myself that I have heard every word uttered out of every Republican’s mouth since I was a boy – and 61 years later they are still selling the same snake oil to white men. I have heard over and over that American values are being attacked by people who do not look like you, spew the hate, and spew the bigotry. That is all they have…that’s all they are.

The Republican Party has stepped of the curb this election year with both barrels blazing, belittling Barack Obama daily with lies, falsehoods and distortions. The main theme of the rabid right is, Barack Obama is not like us, he is different, he is from Africa, he does not know real Americans and most of all he is black. The GOP throws red meat to tea baggers and bigoted white men who are afraid their country is turning brown, black and yellow. They should be scared because, like the Wooly Mammoth, their days are numbered.

I see it every day in the teenagers I teach in their interactions with minority students. I see young boys and girls who have only the opinions of their bigoted parents, relatives and guardians, develop their own opinions about other students who do not look like them, who are from other countries, other states and other ethnic origins based on their humanity not from misguided rhetoric. I see teenagers, who have been taught to hate, realize the little brown boy who sits next to them in English class is pretty cool and the black girl in science was so nice to them when they had no idea what the homework was.

I see Dr. King’s Dream come to life every day. I see young black boys laughing and cracking with white boys who just a couple of months ago would not be seen with a black friend. I see white boys and girls, reject the lessons of the past and embrace new friends who may speak with a Spanish accent or who may speak little or no English, by accepting who they are, for the people they are, not the country they came from or what language they speak.

The Republican Party knows they are the Wooly Mammoths of the 21 Century and they are desperate. They know the complexion of the country is changing and it is changing, they know more and more women are attending college and the balance of power between men and women has shifted towards women.

Republicans know the tide is turning and their desperation has forced them to turn to ideas and laws rooted deep inside the 20th Century, the GOP resurrected Jim Crow, knowing voter suppression will increase their political life expectancy and hurt Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. I am sure Nucky Thompson of Boardwalk Empire fame would be proud of his Republican relatives.

Voter suppression can take the GOP just so far, according to experts in twenty or thirty years the numbers of Wooly Mammoths will be so insignificant they will be reduced to a fringe party, much like other far right wing parties of today who are ripe with Neo Nazi and Neo Nationalist.

The Wooly Mammoths of today have seen their best days and like the Mammoths of old, they will soon reside in the bone yard of dead ideas.