Since the 1960's and 1970's, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition of progressive ideology, into an insurrectionist party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Gay-sex scandals, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999, two unfunded wars and the stock market crashes of 1988 and 2008.
Prior to the mid to late 1960's following the civil rights movement, the Modern day Republican party was more commonly recognizable as the Southern Democrat party. If there is an earlier American precedent for today's Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery. This is essentially the same Rhetoric used by mainstream Republican, tea-party supported politicians today. It is often said, history repeats itself this just another example of how accurate that saying is.
In many ways I am still waiting for the American people to wake up to what they have done, but I don't expect many of them will until it is to late. When law enforcement starts rounding up non-white, non-christian, non-conservative citizens who are trying to exercise their constitutional rights, because of the law set forth by religious and conservative zealots, people will cry in the night asking, How did this happen.
It happened because of people who chose not to critically think, who blindly followed authority, be it political or religious authority, people who wanted everyone else to live under their particular worldview, but were unwilling to compromise and co-exist peacefully, in a world of diversity. It happened because people were afraid to stand up and fight, or people who fought on the basis of a wedge issue and were blinded to their rights being usurped. It happened in broad daylight, when people had their eyes wide open, and their minds wide closed. It happened with people eating apple pie, singing the national anthem, listening to country music and longing for the good ole' days, which never were as good as nostalgia recalls. It happened because people were bigots, ignorant, selfish, and intellectually deficient, while staunchly claiming self-righteousness.
This has all happened before, Rome is the perfect example. Only this time we live in a world where nuclear weapons can eradicate humanity, all because some people are so afraid, they absolutely cannot stand anyone who doesn't live under their particular worldview, and greed is celebrated and protected for the wealthiest in the world.