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Republicans should not embrace ignorance

Former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole condemned the partisan bickering over health care reform and urged Republicans last week to be open to President Barack Obama’s initiative, which he said will inevitably pass.

“Sometimes people fight you just to fight you,” Dole said at a health care reform summit.

The Republican Party needs to listen to Dole if it wants to survive.

The tendency to disagree with the president is understandable. After all, the two-party system is supposed to produce different ideas for the country. However, through Fox News analyst Glenn Beck’s heartfelt tears for freedom and Rush Limbaugh’s screaming about Nobel prizes, it is impossible to hear any constructive Republican ideas for the nation’s progress.

It has been almost a year since Obama was elected, yet the GOP has no positive initiative because its political philosophy of fiscal responsibility is dead.

The Ronald Reagan era of financial conservatism went down the same drain as the hypocritical billions spent by former President George W. Bush. And the relative decency of the Gingrich days has been replaced by town hall protests and the Republican Party’s death panel claims.

As the boisterous “No” Party becomes defined by faux American Revolution tea party protests and calls for birth certificates, the GOP’s descent into darkness is not shocking.

Modern Republicans will keep fighting without respect to reason because the party thrives on conflict. The GOP relies on wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage to guilt some voters into electing them.

Americans should someday see through the scare tactics of the Republican Party. For America to prosper or even survive in the years ahead, its people must be informed, intelligent and mentally stable. Otherwise, economic and military competitors will wipe out the country.

A Republican Party that encourages corporate submission in the electorate cannot continue.

Its shrinking numbers already suggest a need for change. According to the Washington Post, party identification has been on the decline. If the Republicans continue a pattern of incompetence, scandal and insensitivity, their numbers will continue to drop.

The party may achieve some short-term success by capitalizing on people’s paranoia and fear, so the GOP may continue without change or bipartisan action into next year’s midterm elections.

Regardless of political affiliation, all people should be insulted by the caustic anti-intellectual fervor favored by many Republican leaders. Hyperbole is no substitute for truth. Republicans need to be more cooperative, not simply opposing Democrats at every turn.

Neil Manimala is a junior majoring in biomedical sciences.