My college roommates and I used to grocery shop and cook together. The only food we seemed to agree on was corn, so we ate a lot of corn.
My mom would periodically call to warn me in a dire tone, "Do you know why the Incas are extinct?"
Her maize hazing left me with a deeply ingrained fear of being part of a civilization that was obliviously engaging in behavior that would lead to its extinction.
Too bad the Republican Party didn't have my mom to keep it on its toes. Then it might not have gone all Apocalypto on us -- becoming the first civilization in modern history to spiral the way of the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans.
The Mayans were right, as it turns out, when they predicted the world would end in 2012. It was just a select world: the GOP universe of arrogant, uptight, entitled, bossy, retrogressive white guys.
Just another vanishing tribe that fought the cultural and demographic tides of history.
Someday, it will be the subject of a National Geographic special in which archaeologists piece together who the lost tribe was, where it came from and what happened to it. Experts will sift through the ruins of the Reagan Presidential Library, Dick Cheney's shotgun casings, remnants of triumphal rants by Dick Morris on Fox News and scraps of ancient video in which a tall, stiff man, his name long forgotten, gnashes his teeth about the 47 percent of moochers and the "gifts" they got.
Instead of smallpox, plagues, drought and conquistadors, the Republican decline will be traced to a stubborn refusal to adapt to a world where poor people and sick people and black people and brown people and female people and gay people count.
As historian Will Durant observed, "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."
Another sign of the old guard's denial came Friday, a month after the election, when the Romney campaign ebulliently announced that it raised $85.9 million in the final weeks of the campaign, making its fundraising effort "the most successful in Republican Party history."
Why is the Romney campaign still boasting? You can't celebrate at a funeral. Go away and learn how to crunch data on the Internet.
Outside the Republican walled kingdom of denial and delusion, everyone else could see that the once clever and ruthless party was behaving in an obtuse and outmoded way that spelled doom.
The GOP put up a candidate that no one liked or understood and ran a campaign that no one liked or understood -- a campaign animated by the idea that indolent, grasping serfs must be kept down, even if it meant creating barriers to letting them vote.
Although Stuart Stevens, the Romney strategist, now claims that Mitt "captured the imagination of millions" and ran "with a natural grace," there was very little chance that the awkward gazillionaire was ever going to be president. Yet strangely, Republicans are still gobsmacked by their loss, grasping at straws like Hurricane Sandy as an excuse.
Some GOP House members continue to try to wrestle the president over the fiscal cliff. Mr. Romney wanders in a daze, his hair not perfectly gelled. And his campaign advisers continue to express astonishment that a disastrous campaign, convention and candidate, as well as a lack of familiarity with what Mr. Stevens dismissively calls "whiz-bang turnout technologies," could possibly lead to defeat.
Who would ever have thought blacks would get out and support the first black president? Who would ever have thought women would shy away from the party of transvaginal probes? Who would ever have thought gays would work against a party that treated them as immoral and subhuman? Who would have ever thought young people would desert a party that ignored science and hectored on social issues? Who would ever have thought Latinos would scorn a party that expected them to finish up their chores and self-deport?
As Eva Longoria supersedes Karl Rove as a power player, Republicans act as shell-shocked as the Southern gentry overrun by Yankee carpetbaggers in "Gone with the Wind." As the movie eulogized: "Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind."opinion_commentary
Maureen Dowd is a syndicated columnist for The New York Times.