Forget four years ago. Are you better off now than you were TWO years ago?
Remember back in 2010, when the Tea Party lied its way into power in Congress? We sat there wondering how this bought-and-paid-for, faux grassroots “movement” could have elected 60 congressional candidates and stolen the gavel from Nancy Pelosi.
How about eight years ago? Remember how sickened we were in 2004, that the Worst. President. Ever. had stolen Ohio and the presidency from John Kerry?
How about twelve years ago? Remember in 2000 how the world sat stunned as Bush and his Supremes robbed the nation of leadership and began our trajectory towards war, debt, and national division?
Conservatism has stolen at least three election cycles in recent memory, and every one of the last five Republican presidents have used “fraud and treason” to capture the White House.
This year, however, something different is happening. This year, Republicans have nominated the most despised presidential candidate in history, with the most dysfunctional campaign in history, to champion a set of immoral policies which have all been exposed by history as lies.
This year, even fraud and treason won’t be enough for Republicans to win the top of the ticket. More importantly, this election is going to cost Republicans the Senate. If the American people come to understand the level of anti-American obstruction perpetrated by Congressional Republicans, and the depth of Pure Evil represented by Paul Ryan’s budget, Republicans will lose the House as well.
Let’s be clear. This opportunity will not come again in our lifetimes. This is not the reelection of Bill Clinton. This is the reelection of FDR, a realigning election. This is the end of Reagan’s era of conservative hegemony, and President Obama will lay the agenda for the 21st Century in his second term.
The contours of that agenda depend on us, and on what we do in the next four years, the next one year specifically. It’s time to get our story straight. It’s time to be heard and seen. It’s time to organize, and to act. It’s time to FINALLY cross over and ensure that the next century is not only America’s century, but a century for progress.
Dance with me below the pumpkin vines and let’s talk about how progressive messaging and action could define the 21st Century if we can get our act together.
REAGAN’S ERA OF LIES
Pop Quiz: Can you name the three pillars of modern conservatism?
Of course you can. “Family Values”, “Strong Military”, and “Small Government”. It took Koch-funded think tanks a generation to develop them. It took another generation to make them so ubiquitous that conservatives no more notice the blatant lies in each of them any more than a fish notices the water through which it swims.
Now, can you name the three pillars of modern progressivism? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? Beuller? crickets
See the problem?
Look. There are three seminal lies of conservatism which heralded the Reagan era, and upon which conservatives have built their power for over 30 years. The problem is that each of the three pillars is not only a lie but a BIG lie, which told over and again, has only become more powerful and more effective.
The reason that these lies have been so effective is that those of us who naturally oppose them and who see the obvious evil in them, can’t quite put our fingers on what is really wrong with them. So let me clear this up.
UNPACKING THE BIG LIES OF CONSERVATISM
“Family Values” = HATE, “Strong Military” = FEAR, “Small Government” = GREED.
“Family Values” in practice is a series of hateful efforts: anti-gay bigotry, anti-women policies fig-leafed by abortion zealots, anti-immigrant distractions from industrial abuses of workers. In a word, HATE.
Conservatism’s big “Strong Military” lie uses those same anti-immigrant ploys to spread fear, but the neocons go far beyond that to spread fear of Islam and keep their mighty war budgets bloated. FEAR.
Finally, but most central, the “Small Government” lie is the absolute devotion to robbing the American people in order to shower wealth and power on the 1%. The Corporate Takeover of American Democracy(tm) is a direct result of the fact that power follows wealth and wealth is the domain of the increasingly few. Greed for wealth, greed for power. GREED.
Greed is, of course the most central of the three big lies. The others serve and reinforce this critical singular goal of today’s conservatism. The only force in this world powerful enough to protect the people from the wealthy and powerful is the US Government. As wealth accrues in the hands of the few so, does power, and it recedes from the people.
It is important to see this clearly, to understand it. As long as there are questions in your mind about the authentic intent of the lies of conservatism, you cannot effectively counter and oppose them.
DEFEATING THE BIG LIES OF CONSERVATISM
HATE, FEAR, AND GREED are the core of the Conservative movement. You can fault them for lying, but you can’t fault them for lying well. They’ve convinced a whole lot of people for a very long time. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the moment has finally, FINALLY, arrived for progressives not only to go forward with some powerful defense, but to proactively use the techniques of the right to set a powerful agenda for the future.
It’s time to end the big lies of conservatism with the big truth of progressivism.
Despite what conservatives would have you believe, no matter how many textbooks they rewrite, this nation was founded on three great ideas: Freedom, Justice, and Courage. You can see these in the preamble to the constitution: “… provide for the common defense (Courage), promote the general welfare (Justice), and secure the blessings of liberty (Freedom)…”. Here’s the best part:
- Freedom > Greed
- Justice > Hate
- Courage > Fear
The reason progressives don’t need to figleaf our values with big lies, is that our values are American values, the founding values, the enduring values, the critical values which have guided this nation since its inception and which can no longer be denied.
Every one of the advances of our nation have come from the wellspring of these three powerful values, and they drive us, each of us, every day. Finally, it falls to Progressives to vanquish the bizarre lies of conservatism, and to drive home powerful messages, tell powerful stories, about progressivism’s great truths.
When they talk about “Small Government”, don’t get caught up in their “Debt Crisis” debates or deranged talk of “Socialism”, hit them hard with astonishment that America is the only country in the world where the rich are jealous of the poor. Realize that they are trying to smokescreen their greed and destroy them with the fact, the fact, that American Freedom, the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear, creates more wealth, has created more jobs, created the greatest economy in the history of the world, and is the soul of the American Dream. Our Freedom is greater than their Greed.
When they pull out their big “Family Values” lie, don’t dare to allow them to attack you for your “pro-abortion” stance. Remind them that pro-life, means the refutation of war, poverty, slavery, pollution, and subjugation. Remind them that their politically cynical use of women’s choices is not pro-life, but pro-death, and against American Freedom and Justice. Stuff their idiotic lies about the “abomination” of homosexuality down their weak throats, and remind them that this is America, where we are all created equal, and your right to love is no greater than any one’s. Our Justice is greater than their Hate.
And when they talk about the critical importance of the “Strong Military” couched in terms that created two world wars, remind them that we are Americans, we are not afraid of others, to engage them, to face them in person, and not only behind the greatest military force every assembled. American Courage didn’t start World War II, it ended it and American Courage is greater than conservative Fear.
Keep your head clear. See the lies of conservatism for what they are: lies. American Justice is greater than the conservative “Family Values” of Hate. American Courage is greater than their cowardly urgent talk of a “Strong Military”. And American Freedom will always be more powerful than the Greed and the corporate takeover of American democracy which they have been trying to sell us as a drive for “Small Government”.
When we tell these stories, every day, refuting the lies of conservatism everywhere, telling powerful stories, winning powerful arguments, supporting effective policies with our enduring American values, we will win, and we will make Obama’s second term, the critically transformative era of change we have all hoped for and worked so hard to achieve.