America has arrived at the fork in its road. This fork has always been here. Hell, it’s been waiting for us. In one direction lies the future. Though uncertain, it’s brimming with boundless promise for the most amount of people. In the other lies the past. The past was very good for some but downright awful for most others. In that way, most of us are indeed “bitter” about the past. America disappoints us; we see not what it is but what it should be. And we believe we can fix that. We want America to be better than it was. Conservatives, by contrast, believe America was better then. The idea of changing America, well, that makes them bitter. And that, really, is our conflict today: a better America vs a bitter America.
What a grand idea: “All men are created equal”! Though America’s founders wrote that, it’s not what they meant. Though they wrote “All men”, our founders meant “all men exactly like them“. The rest of us? We can all go screw ourselves. We’re subordinate, chattel, property. Or worse. Fortunately, a few of America’s founders did seem to “get” what this great experiment really was all about.
James Madison insisted we make “E Pluribus Unum” our country’s motto and that we put it on our Great Seal. Out of many, one – that is America’s genius. We’re the first country in the world to be made up of all the other countries in the world. Diversity is “American Exceptionalism’s” secret sauce. Think of all the amazing ideas people have brought from all over the world to America. The progressive vision wants to unleash every bit of America’s potential. To achieve that, we want to make the playing field as level as possible for as many people as possible.
Conservatives, By Contrast…
Trumpism – that’s conservatism now – has no principles. It has no ideas and no vision. All it does have is grievance. But, about what? That’s easy. For almost two hundred-fifty years, white people held the reins of power in America. They now take it for granted that white people hold the reins of power. It makes them bonkers that the rest of us want power too.
They have no interest in sharing power and even less in handing it to us. The thought makes them bitter. That bitterness could be a travel brochure for the America conservatives want. Loathing and hate are its Rocky Mountains. Racism, misogyny and bigotry mark its coastline. Ignorance and fear – its Grandest Canyons.
Who in their right mind would want to live in such a terrible place? That was a trick question, by the way. I asked who “in their right mind” would want to live there. While conservatives are always “in a right mind”, that rightward political bent is the only right thing about it.
Put Up A Wall!
I wish it was within our powers to give conservatives a taste of what they want. Imagine if we could put a wall around Bitter America. If we gave them the America they dream of, would that make them happy? It’s doubtful. Bitter America won’t inspire anyone to innovate because conservatism can’t abide innovation. Innovation after all replaces the conservative, old-fashioned way of doing things with new, better, more efficient ways. Imagine hating that!
But then, hating things is the alpha and omega of conservatism. They aspire to squash all hope and replace it with a crushing acceptance of what was replacing what is or what could be.
That really is our choice, America. Better versus bitter. Which version of ourselves do we really want to be?