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The United States House of Savages

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 12/10/2015 Keisha Sutton-James
FLIES © Adam Gault via Getty Images FLIES

If the chaos you are seeing in the race for Speaker of the House looks familiar to you, it's because you have seen it before. Maybe you remember the 1954 dystopian novel, Lord of the Flies. In this story, when a group of pre-adolescent boys finds themselves stranded on an island with no resources whatsoever, fear and a desperate pursuit of power, feeds The Beast, the animalistic instinct in those innocent British boys, until they turn on one another, resorting to murder, savagery and cannibalism.
In a struggle for power and survival, people become beasts, savages who will even destroy their own. The savagery is so intent on the consumption of power that they don't even realize where they are on the path of self-destruction and self-consumption. Ok, I'll accept that. Here's where it gets interesting. The GOP worked so hard for so long to attain the power they have amassed: control over the United States Congress, one of the most powerful bodies in the entire world. And what they do with that power? They use toddler-inspired "my way or the highway" strategies to win, and most striking, they readily destroy their own if they can't get their way. In essence, they have meticulously clawed their way to the top as a group, and now are allowing the group to eat itself alive.
Let me lay it out for you. It starts with the Republican party doing everything it can to win, using every trick in the book. And by "trick," I mean playing by the rules sometimes, but also creating an entirely new rules book, one where only they can win. They are methodical and calculated. They are patient and ruthless. They became masters of gerrymandering. State by state, county by county, they carve up the country's congressional districts so as to ensure their candidates' election and invulnerability. No matter what, these members of Congress or other likeminded people, will hold those seats as long as they wish. Interestingly, this is simultaneously both the design objective and the critical design flaw of gerrymandering.
Next, they collectively they cultivate and elect new members of Congress that come together as groups called the Tea Party or Freedom Caucus. They coalesce around a number of ideas and one strategy taken from one of their foremothers: Just Say No. For them, without limits or exception, everything becomes a game of brinksmanship. And because they only play zero sum games, they are comfortable going right to the precipice, leaning over the edge, dangling their siblings by their shoelaces and worse. For them, if they lose even one point, they have lost all points.
Eventually, these 40 members of the Freedom Caucus take down one leader, Speaker Boehner, and scare at least one more, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, away from stepping into his role. Congressman Paul Ryan, seen as the only other possible candidate that both the Freedom Caucus and the more moderate Republicans can get behind, says he won't take the job either. But for Congressman Jason Chaffetz, no one is willing to put a target on his back. They know that once they step into that role, the savages will eat them alive.
Did you ever think you would see the day when members of Congress would run from the chance to become third in command in the United States, the person who presides over the House of Representatives and who negotiates with POTUS? Ten years ago, if someone said this would happen, they would be locked up in an insane asylum. What is crazier still is that the GOP has taken control of the Congress only to eat itself alive one by one. And one of the very mechanisms they used to amass power, gerrymandering, is the same mechanism that is enabling the savagery.
We all know how this story ends: Either the group eats itself alive or the grown-ups come and rescue them from themselves. In watching this blow-by-blow, and understanding the damage being done to our system, the work that is not being done to better our country, and the extent to which our country is embarrassing itself on the world stage, the spectacle called the Republican House is no longer an entertaining story for me. I can be tempted to devour this salacious saga, oogling as the protagonists literally shred one another to pieces and self-destruct. But the civilized woman in me would rather see the story end with adults coming to the rescue, stopping the carnage for the greater good.
Here is what I want to know. Since Ben Carson has advice on how to take on crazy murderers, do you think we can recruit him to take some bullets and save the GOP? Well, I guess I can't resist just a little carnage.

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