Maybe the only honest thing your average conservative ever does is call him or herself “conservative”. Conservatives, by nature, want to conserve (although, ironically, one of the things most conservatives don’t want to conserve IS Nature but never mind!). The only important question, really, is what do conservatives want to conserve? The answer? Conservatives want to conserve the past. Or as much of the past as still remains in the present.
If conservatives could freeze time in amber, they would. They view the present with dread because so little of the past remains in it. The future scares them even more. It’s unknown and filled with uncertainty. Ah, but the past! To American conservatives, the past was theirs. They were its master. The present presents problems however.
A Great Idea Poorly Executed
America remains a great idea poorly executed. It simply does not follow to proclaim “All men are equal” while buying and selling some of them. And profiting from it. Our founders didn’t meant all men (though they did mean only men). But, our founders (James Madison) also made “E Pluribus Unum” our nation’s motto. Out of many, one. Clearly, Madison understood that Americans came from everywhere – not just the white parts of the planet.
The reason Republicans can’t and won’t run on actual policies is because every last one of their policies is regressive. Aside from their base – a scant 15% of Americans – no one would vote for their policies. That’s why they run on cultural issues. Religious tests and moral consternation based on the basest of bullshit. If not for voter suppression and gerrymandering, the GOP would have joined the Whigs in History’s Graveyard years ago.
What Do Progressives Want?
As with conservatives, what progressives want is right in our name. We want to progress – into the future – as seamlessly as possible. And we want as many people as possible to participate in and profit from the future. The more we can level the playing field for more Americans, more we like it. To that end, we believe educating our children is the greatest possible investment in our society as a whole. Burdening education with debt is counter productive and downright stupid. It’s greed triumphing over everything else.
Progressives view health CARE the same way. I’ve said it before: America doesn’t have a health CARE system, we have a health INSURANCE system. Those aren’t the same things. When anyone walks in the door, needing care, the first question we ask isn’t “How can we help you?”, it’s “How’re you gonna pay for it?” That is barbaric! It’s inhumane and counter-productive and, in the end, monumentally expensive. Prior to the advent of the ACA/Obamacare, a third of Americans used emergency rooms as their primary caregivers. Emergency medicine is right up there with brain surgery in the cost department.
Repubs Aren’t “In To” Democracy
The contrast between America’s two main political parties couldn’t be more stark. Only one – the Democrats – remain all in on democracy. Republicans are all in so long as their candidate wins. By whatever means necessary.
As the Reagan years waned, so did the last “Golden Age” of conservative power. The Right Wing Money (the Kochs, the Mercers) looked around and saw demographic doom. America has always been diverse. Up until now, white power has managed to hobble diversity to white peoples’ advantage. Why don’t we educate our kids about how America and its democracy works? Because conservatives fear civics education the way they fear sex education and for the very same stupid reasons.
Even educated voters have to fight in order to vote. We indulged voter suppression and gerrymandering. Throw in all the institutional white advantage the founders baked into the architecture (the Electoral College and the structure of the Senate) and it’s a wonder democracy survived as long as it has in America. We’re teetering toward permanent minority rule because the white minority wants to rule forever.
What do conservatives want to conserve? Say it with me: “The past”.