“The rise that couldn’t be.”
In 1952, a political scientist named Richard Hofstadter published a book that would become a classic, The Paranoid Style in American Politics.
In the preface, former U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower is quoted for privately criticizing the far-right as stupid. He also predicted that if that small percentage of the Republican party ever prevailed, it would spell the end of that party.
Hofstadter recounts the history of American political paranoia from early enmity against Catholics, then to Jews, then to other late immigrants to America. It’s been over 60 years since his and Eisenhower’s prediction, and today’s GOP is about as far-right as it gets. The president has driven it further to the right, and it seems to get more aggressive than ever.
We may be seeing the beginning of the demise of a Republican or the rise of a Trumpian party. History, it seems, just as always agreed to predicting of the past, for history, unlike science, doesn’t move in a straight line. History gives new life to old ideas, moves in circles, or sometimes gets trapped in cul-de-sac.
No one really knows what tomorrow may bring. History sometimes surprises us.
From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.