The Republican Ghost Dance
Each time the Republican party is beaten they call for more conservative values. The organization seems to be going through a Republican Ghost Dance. One of the classic study elements of all anthropology students is the ghost dance/cargo cult. While examples come in a multitude of forms from various cultures the all have similar elements. If the cultural distressed people perform a dance or ceremony or act in a certain way their ancestors will rise up and deliver the good life or sweep their enemies from the land. One of the most intriguing ghost dances or cargo cults, as they are sometimes known, took place in the South Pacific following World War II.
Many of indigenous people of Micronesia helped the USA and our allies defeat the Imperial Japanese. They say the massive amounts of water material, or cargo coming in from the USA and being shipped to the front. They were promised that they would be rewarded for their help. After the war, the Americans were gone and there was no cargo or work for the islanders.
The groups begin to form cargo cults. The basic premise was that if they returned to their traditional ways, and acted correctly, the ancestors would return on ships laden with cargo.
Ghost Dance movements have a long tradition among the Native Americans of North America. When the Europeans destroyed their culture and livelihood through, disease, war, and theft, the people sought a reason why they were treated this way. The answer was often presented by a new prophet that demanded they return to their traditional ways. In some instances, if they danced and believed correctly bullets would not harm them and their ancestors would return to sweep the whites from the land.
Since 2008, every four years I watch the Republican Party try to understand why they lose the presidential election. In 2012, they commissioned a report to determine why people of color, other young people, and college-educated people are turning away from their party. But every time, they come to the conclusion that they need to go back to old values, be more conservative, bring back Leave it to Beaver, and get rid of the foreigner or anyone that does not look like them.
This behavior is very reminiscent of the ghost dance. They feel if they were just more conservative in their values, a white majority would come and sweep the non-GOPers off the land/away from the polls and a proper president would be delivered for the dancers.
November 2016 Update
I hope the lesson the Republican learn from Tuesday, November 8th is that they need to be more strict in their political practice. They will need to continue to push the darker skinned people away and wait for the return of the white ancestors. When they had their last self-examination after the 2008 drubbing they learned nothing. I pray they keep on doing this until the GOP is replaced by the Greens. And I don’t mean aliens.
To the Republicans – Keep on dancing, brother.
11/9/2016 – Well writing this obit, I didn’t think it would be for the Democratic party, but it is. So be in. Most of use have walked around today like duck hit in the head with a 2×4 and that is ok. When the sun comes up tomorrow morning it is time to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and get busy. I think it is time to double down on liberalism and do some of our own ghosting dancing. So what I propose is very simple. My candidate for president in 2020 is Elizabeth Warren and for VP Tammy Duckworth. Win, lose, draw, or go the way of the dinosaurs we need to go down fighting for what we believe in. No more main stream middle of the road candidates (I love you Hillary). We must press the liberal agenda until it squeals. What can you do? 1) Stop feeling sorry for yourself, 2) talk to more people 3) make more calls for your candidate, and 4) give more money to the party.
For inspiration read this article for Mother Jones.