Forty years ago, to call yourself a “conservative” meant something more than just alignment with a political ideology, but it spoke about your manner and even your dress. These were the politicians who fought for smaller government, believing that everyone would benefit as a result. We know their grand experiment in trickle-down economics was an abject failure, but we acknowledge that many thought it might work so many years ago.
Conservative was the gospel of the National Review reading, God-fearing, Reagan-era Republican who was a bit further to the right than the rest of the party. While Democrats did not agree with their politics, everyone held similar goals with differing opinions on how to achieve them. You may not have fully understood what made a conservative tick, but you could respect them because of a half-century ago, they tried to embody their button-down political ideals. They were conservative in thought, action, and deed and they were the brain-trust of the GOP movement.
With the Bushes came a departure from the core principles of the party.
Today, it ‘s hard to comprehend what happened to the Republicans as they have moved so far to the right that just about everyone else who isn’t a White Supremacist or corporate benefactor bent on killing the planet is now squarely on the left. Honestly, I believe most of the world is watching the disintegration of this institution in horror and disgust. Even moderate Democrats, middle-of-the-road Independents, and even some Libertarians are Progressives by comparison.
Congratulations, this means you’re a progressive. Welcome to sanity.
For decades, the Republicans have tried to paint anyone who was liberal or progressive as a dangerous socialist who was bent on moving the US toward communism. The truth is that progressive movement only wanted the government to evolve – and progress – with the times. But any movement left became the GOP dog whistle to scream that all approaches short of their gospel would create a nation of lazy, drug-addled welfare queens, crippling taxation, and a loss of rights.
People bought the lie, and with the election of their dupe in the White House, the conservatives felt they had a mandate to institute their dream platform. What we have now is the culmination of decades of GOP planning.
Two weeks ago, we had a religious leader talking about how God had ordained Trump to assassinate a world leader. Conservative commentator, Jeffrey Lord was fired for a Nazi tweet. The mouthpiece of the Republican Party, Fox News, has been long associated with sexual harassment as more scandals pile up. There was no universal outcry from the Republican National Committee, and no denouncement from evangelicals, and few in leadership making any efforts to change the culture of their party.
Like it or not, this is what the GOP has become because the party welcomes it. No one denies it.
And even if you consider yourself to be a conservative still and excuse this as “not everyone thinks this way,” you must look at what the Republican leadership finds acceptable. They did not speak out about their candidate talking about grabbing women’s crotches, colluding with a foreign government, and violating federal law. They put him in the White House and refused to pull his reins. They did not speak out about corporate money hijacking Washington politics as they accepted what is tantamount to a bribe and passed legislation that harmed the public. They have made “winning” the only priority, taking away health care from millions while ducking meetings with their constituents.
In a word, conservatives are all about competition. Progressives are about cooperation.
By now, you should see that the GOP isn’t about helping people, it’s about furthering the interests of an elite group of the wealthiest corporations and individuals. Unless you’re making over $1 million a year – and making enormous contributions to their party, the Republicans aren’t representing your interests despite your professed political party affiliation.
The movement right has gone to such an extreme; it has become dangerous. It is no longer 1980; we cannot threaten war against as a tool of international diplomacy as too many countries have nuclear weapons. We can no longer place corporate interests above the environment as our planet is dying before our eyes. We can no longer legislate against the wishes of the people as too many are suffering.
Wishing a return to the 1950s and trying to legislate your way to that bygone era is futile – and ultimately costs lives.
We need our politics to evolve with our society, to move into a rational approach which addresses the needs of all its members, not only those with power, money, or access to the political process.
I would like to welcome you to your new political party. Your fellow progressives care about you, and we want to hear about your concerns and needs.
I think you’re going to like it here.