Conservatives vs Progressives Can Be Summed Up As “Me vs We”

Trumpism is conservatism on steroids (plus copious amounts of snorted powdered Adderall). If one had to sum up Trumpism in one word, it’d be “me”. “Me” is the one country Donald Trump has fealty toward. Well, “Me” and Vlad Putin. But that’s not ideological fealty. Trump isn’t loyal to Putin because he believes in “Putinism”. Rather, it’s the fealty that a crime boss (Putin) demands from his underlings and capos (Trump). “Me” is the core weakness Putin holds over Trump. Putin is exploiting Trump’s absolute adoration of “Me”, Trump’s willingness to indulge “Me”, make “Me” richer even if doing it is illegal or downright treasonous.

Trumpism = Me-ism. And now, so, too do Republicanism and conservatism.

To be fair to conservatives, they do come by their Me-ism honestly. That is, it’s completely organic to who they are. Conservatives love the Libertarian notion of the “rugged individualist” — that “I alone can fix it” guy. They all see themselves as “rugged individualists”. This dovetails nicely with the conservative, institutionalist idea of religion — a neat twist that turns “Do unto others” into “Do what we say or else”. Conservatives all claim to know God’s will better than you (so you better shut up!) That’s because conservatives don’t believe IN God, they believe they ARE God. So, how could anyone be the “boss of them”?

See how that works?

Conservatives, as their names says, want to conserve. Fair enough. The next logical question: WHAT do conservatives want to “conserve”? Since one can’t conserve the future (it doesn’t exist yet), one is left conserving the present which means conserving the past since that’s what the present reflects — what’s left of the past. THAT is what conservatives want desperately to conserve — as much of the past conserved in the present as possible. Why? Was the past better?

For them, yes. Yes, it was. In the past, conservative values (white, Christian, male) dominated all conversations. “All men are created equal” didn’t mean “all men”. It didn’t mean “all people” either.

For conservatives, the past was infinitely better than they fear the future might be. Which is why they resist change. And progress. Change and progress are antithetical to conservatives and conservatism. That’s not a rap or a judgment. It’s simply a fact. It’s part of the DNA of any conservative argument — resistance to change because of a preference for how it was before.

“How it was before” is a problem for Progressives because “how it was before” was racist, bigoted, misogynist and ignorant. And it’s entirely antithetical to democracy because the majority of Americans aren’t those things. We keep voting against those things but getting the opposite result. It’s like someone was constantly getting in the way of change — of the progress toward real fairness, real justice and a truly level playing field that the majority of Americans want.

Donald Trump pointed out a basic truth that every Republican knows: when more Americans vote, they vote against Republicans and for Democrats because they don’t want what Republicans are selling. Democracy is a marketplace of ideas. In the binary marketplace that is American Democracy, more Americans want to buy Progressive ideas than conservative ideas: a vigorous social safety net, socialized medical CARE (not insurance; insurance doesn’t provide care, it’s a payment mechanism for it) that won’t bankrupt a person (or their family) just because they got sick, UBI, a healthy climate, women’s and minority rights, full LGBTQ participation in American life, a clear separation between Church and State. As Trump put it, if every American voted, Republicans would never win another election.

Exactly so, Donald, exactly so. It’s a testament to how good most Americans are. We want our individual rights respected. But we also recognize that there will always be a dynamic tension between “me” and “we”. If not everyone in the “we” is getting the same “me” treatment? Then it’s like NONE of “we” is getting the “me” treatment. We can’t be truly free until we’re ALL free. Otherwise, we’re just pretending to be “free”.

Even the nature of our protests is different. Most Progressives protests were masked and, at least, had the pandemic’s toll and impact in its head.

Conservative protests?

They’re masked when they must be but you can see “You’re not the boss of me!” burning in their eyes. They’re armed to the teeth. They’re not there to protect anything — other than the scared little boy inside them. As Kyle Rittenhouse was shooting those two UNARMED protesters to death, was he striking blows for freedom? Or was he, down deep, saying “Eff you, man, you’re not taking away whatever it is that I’m so desperately afraid of losing!”

The reason most conservatives fear “we” is because it doesn’t look like them — or what they think “me” should look like: Northern European white people. Christian. Rich.

That’s what conservatives think “American Exceptionalism” is. Them. And their money. They couldn’t be more wrong. American Exceptionalism is spelled out in our motto: “E PLURIBUS UNUM”. Out of many, one. America is the product of diversity. That’s the “PLURIBUS”. The “UNUM” isn’t a bunch of unums making one giant “unum”, it’s an unum borne of the pluribus. “We” has always been essential to the American ideal.

Our mistake thus far has been that we’ve EXCLUDED so many Americans FROM that ideal. Good thing We The People stepped in at the very last second to pluck our democracy back from the selfish, greedy, corrupt conservatives who, frankly, never had much use for it anyway.

There will always be dynamic tension between “me” and “we”. That’s not a bad thing. It’s baked in to our experiment in human self-government. Our duty is to keep the tasting spoon handy. Don’t let the mix get TOO “we” (that will undermine the “me” and we don’t want to do that either).

Maybe we need to reframe our differences. Maybe conservatism isn’t the political opposite of progressivism. Maybe conservatism is an island unto itself. What if we think of “moderation” as the political opposite of progressivism. Rather than “forward v backwards”, what if we thought of the future in terms of “forward v forward with greater deliberation”? After all, whether we like it or not, the future is coming at us. We will face problems in the future that we haven’t even considered yet.

If we don’t anticipate them — by building the future into our plans — then we’ll be caught out when the future arrives. Kinda like the Trump White House prepared America for the pandemic.

See? We are living in a live “Me v We” test tube. “Me” thinking produces sickness and death. “We” thinking does not.

Like there’s really a choice here?

When Team Biden Hits The Ground, They’ll Have TWO Viruses To Contend With — COVID19 And Republican Corruption

Team Biden-Harris choosing Ron Klain as Chief of Staff signals clearly that the Democratic response to the greatest threat to Americans’ health in a century will be multi-faceted, dynamic and hell-bent on getting results. I hope a good chunk of the remaining brain trust gets tasked with confronting America’s OTHER raging virus: Republican corruption. That one’s just as dangerous — more probably. And a hell of a lot more insidious. Think of how much Republican corruption we as a nation of laws had to normalize just to have a “President Trump”. Yeah — that’s a disease and we have it.

Republican corruption is now so widespread and uniform that we marvel each time another GOP-er peels off and says out loud that the election is over. The boys in the bund took one on the chin. They’ll tell themselves that Democrats never demand Republicans EVER pay for their bad behavior; in the name of “getting back to normal”, the Democrats (the Republicans think) will, as usual, live and let live. That would like cutting a deal with cancer.

Not doing it. Here — I’ll link to a song that says it clearly: We Won’t Get Fooled Again.

Now that we’ll begin to apply science to our pandemic response, we’ll actually HAVE a pandemic response. Thank you, Team Trump, for setting the bar so low we have to be careful not to trip over it while surpassing it. Even if Team Biden-Harris failed spectacularly, that failure would still be miles better than whatever herd immunity type non-response Trump was going to call “a plan”. Already — because Team Biden-Harris will be there and Team Trump won’t — our fortunes will be measurably better.

Team Biden-Harris needs to apply the same aggressive, science-based, whole world, deal-with-it-on-every-level attack plan they apply to the coronavirus to the even more pervasive virus of Trumpism. This is a cancer we ignore at our peril.

On the one hand, a winter of sickness will both cull the Trumpian herd and rob it of righteous indignation. Most people (Trump not included) emerge quite humbled by their experience with COVID19. Plenty will survive it but feel its hold on them for the rest of their lives. As Trump followers die, having caught the virus at a Trump event, while Trump comes unglued in full public view, the Cult of Trump will be harder to justify except to the most hardcore of the hardcore. The Lifers. The 29% who still loved Richard Nixon on the day he resigned because of Watergate.

On the other hand, a political environment free from Trump’s voice — private citizen Trump won’t get the pass President Trump does from Twitter or any other social media platform who now have to live in a world where Joe Biden is President and the rules are beginning to be rewritten. Enter into this environment a functioning Department of Justice, dedicated anew to Justice instead of behaving like some crime boss’s consigliere.

It’s that reinvigorated DoJ where the fight against Virus #2 — Trumpism — will begin in earnest. An equally reinvigorated FBI will finally get down to the counter intelligence investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia that Rod Rosenstein knee capped. Those threads, once pulled, will obliterate the bad Christmas sweater of corruption that has been the Republican Party for a generation. Well, it will REVEAL all the corruption in revolting waves of puke-inducing awfulness. One of the more puke-inducing will be the revelation that we’ve been living inside a giant False Narrative for that very same time frame.

How long, I wonder, have the Republican-owned voting machine companies been padding Republican vote results? As I wrote here, it wouldn’t take more than three people — and no one meticulously checking the math — to add, say, ten percent to one party’s vote total. Point of reference. Kentucky, this cycle.

Let’s start by hauling out the voter rolls — they’re public record: https://elect.ky.gov/SiteCollectionDocuments/Election%20Results/2010-2019/2014/statcnty.txt

Here’s the final page — with the state totals.

Here — the next part of the data — the actual results from the election —

Here’s the statewide result. Mitch really whupped Amy McGrath’s butt, didn’t he?

If we compare totals, Mitch got 1,233,135 votes out of a possible 3,105,349 registered voters in Kentucky. How many of Kentucky’s voters are registered as Republicans? 1,196.183. How many as Democrats? 1672,664…

Wait, what? Yeah. Kentucky has more registered Democrats than it does Republicans. Who knew? There are a half million or so “other” voters in the mix — independents, Libertarians, Greens, Who-Know-What-Else — but, still, DEMOCRATS OUTNUMBER REPUBLICANS in Kentucky.

Yet Mitch — in a tribe election — in a state with more registered Democrats than Republicans — blows out the Democrat. Did I mention that Mitch’s approval number sits at 18% in one poll! Either Mitch is simply the greatest politician of all time — turning groups of voters who should despise the air he breathes into people happy to pull the lever for him. Excuse me if I’m dubious.

Take Pike County. Here’s how Mitch performed there —

Mitch beat McGrath 18,362 to 6,013. That’s in a county where there are 34,464 registered Democrats vs 11,178 registered Republicans. That means at least 7,000 other voters plus Democrats had to vote for Mitch — at a far greater clip than an 18% approval rating would suggest possible.

See how the math doesn’t “add up”? We need to be skeptical about this. We need to be suspicious at the very least.

Make that Team Biden-Harris needs to be suspicious — and they need to act swiftly. For starters, we need to ascertain whether Republicans have been padding their vote totals for years or not (take it to the bank and make plans with the proceeds — it’s that dead certain). We need to have this piece of the puzzle in hand as we look at election 2016 and the question of “Did Trump Really Win Pennsylvania, Wisconsin & Michigan?” Because, if he didn’t (he didn’t) then Trump never did win the Electoral College. That means he never did legitimately win the presidency — just like he’s been telling us in his strangely projective way. That means that everything Donald Trump did should be voided since he never had the legal authority to do it.

Something was stolen from We The People — the result of our vote. The outcome, with all its legislative and judicial manifestations — that was what we voted for. That is what was literally stolen from us and taken by the Republicans. They replaced our judges with theirs. Our president with theirs. Our future with… whatever the hell this monstrosity is.

Just like Covid19 can fog your brain, Trumpism fogs reason. It’s got some of us thinking that cheating to win is just “another way to win” and that if a cheater wins, they still get to keep what they stole from us.

No, they don’t. Turns out the cure for Trumpism is the same as for a pandemic: diligence and a lockdown. Let’s start by locking down every single Republican. Then let’s diligently ask them all the questions we have for them — under oath.

Let’s cure ourselves of this sickness once and for all.