I’m a proud Progressive. I prefer the term “progressive” to “liberal” because the word liberal has gone through too many gyrations over time to be effective as an accurate descriptor. “I’m a liberal” could mean a whole lot of things that “I’m actually not”.
Progressives, as the name implies, want to progress. We want to see people — as a society — progress. We want each individual person to progress — to feel like their lives are constantly improving — as are the lives of their children and grandchildren going forward. There’s a caveat there — progressives build into their calculus the fact that change is a constant. In order to progress successfully, one has to accept as a fact that things will change. People will change. Circumstances will change.
Change is a Fact Of Life.
Progressives say “Okay — change is a thing — let’s deal with it like big boys & girls, accommodate where we must but convert to our advantage in every other way”.
Conservatives also do what their name implies. They want to conserve — what is (if only because they failed in this instance to conserve WHAT WAS and so have no choice but to accept it) but really — they want to conserve WHAT WAS. Or how they “remember” what was. How they idealized “what was” in reality.
There’s a reason conservatives tend to be more institutionally religious — more affiliated with their church than the spiritual side of their faith. They like the rules and regs; doing unto others — that’s a little too hippie-dippy for them. You know — “progressive”. They prefer the concrete of Commandments. Don’t Do This, Do That — Or Else.
Conservatives want to hold tight to a thing that makes them feel safe and secure — a world where men were men and women (and people of color, non-Christians, LGBQT people) knew their place. They see the antebellum south as a kind of heaven on earth. They think white people ARE America. And that’s the America they want to conserve.
Unfortunately, that America is entirely a figment of their imagination. Yes, white people have always held sway. But “white people” have never been the engine that drives the remarkable (but flawed) experiment in self-government that is the United States of America. One of our flaws is that white people have held too much sway. The engine — the thing we call “American Exceptionalism” is diversity. It’s the flow of people from every other country in the world into this one — e pluribus unum — from many, one — that’s the nature of American Exceptionalism.
It’s the opposite of what conservatives “think”. That’s just it — conservatives, by their nature, don’t have to “think”. When everything you do is motivated by your knee jerking lizard brain, you’re not thinking — ever. You’re reacting in real time to a fear-fueled twitch instinct. Everything you do is colored by it. Your whole goal in life is to get the toothpaste back into the tube.
As we all know — that’s never going to happen.
This is why conservatives stopped playing by the rules the rest of us play by. It was leading them nowhere — except to extinction — and they know it. That’s why Mitch McConnell — at the behest of conservative money (the Kochs, the Mercers, Sheldon Adelstein) — refused We The People Merrick Garland (chosen by the POTUS we elected) — then conspired with Russia to literally STEAL election 2016 in order to shove conservative judges into every open judicial seat — seats they’d been KEEPING open for this very purpose.
Make no mistake — what Mitch McConnell did and is still doing — is a deliberate soft coup d’etat. Mitch is a traitor (not a revelation). Mitch is the conservative errand boy, doing what he’s told to do. Reminder — it’s not just conservative money holding Mitch’s nuts in their hand — it’s Vladimir Putin, too. Mitch has taken gobs (as in MILLIONS) of Russian money into his PAC. In the abstract — perfectly legal. But in the midst of a counter-intelligence operation looking directly at Russian influence on American politicians and an American election? NOT so innocent or even legal perhaps). But I digress…
Mitch isn’t “thinking”. He’s reacting. He’s trying to drag us back to a time and place in the past that never was — not because he’s thinking how good it will be for us if only we’d listen to him — but because he’s stuck in the past like a mastodon stuck in tar — sinking slowly — grabbing desperately at everything around it.
They can’t save the mastodon. They can only get sucked into the tar with it. Welcome to “conservative thinking”.