Dan, I agree that government is like fire. You need it, but you have to keep it under control. My problem is that after I got out of the Army I've made my living designing and building large, complex computer systems (in fact, I built and sold a software company for enough to live comfortably for the rest of my life). To build such systems and have them work properly, you have to continuously evaluate your assumptions and look reality square in the eye. You cannot get away with how you think things should be, but have to deal with how they really are are.
As a business owner, I set my goals and objectives, ran the numbers, chose my path, and implemented. The only ideology the entered into it was do not lie, cheat, or steal — with my employees or customers. It payed off. The current GOP doesn't do that anymore. They're all ideology, not goals and objectives. That’s no way to run a business or a country.
I live in one of the most prosperous states in the Union. We have a Republican governor who works extremely well with a Democratic legislature. We have virtually universal health coverage that was implemented by another Republican governor. We barely noticed the last major recession (caused by a little too much deregulation---you might want to read Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations).
You're afraid of the tyranny. So am I. When my nation called I volunteered for service in Vietnam. All my life, I've studied the history of the United States, Europe, and the republics of ancient history — Rome and Athens. Historically, republics fail, not from the tyranny of the masses, but rather by morphing into oligarchies where a very small percentage of the population controlled the vast majority of the wealth. That is not a stable system and inevitably devolves into an autocracy or dictatorship. That is what I've been watching America do over that past 40 years. The numbers are irrefutable and all the party I supported for most of my 74 years can do is shift the blame to scapegoats.