by Daddy X
Our day-to-day lives are filled with forks in the road. Choices we make from minute to minute, second to second. Trick is to learn to distinguish the minor forks—rather frontage roads, turnouts or loops that take us back to the main drag—from those forks that wander far afield to change our lives in metamorphic fashion. How nice it would be to see into the future, ‘down the road a piece’ so to speak.
Ideally, experience figures into the game of predicting the effects of causes. We should get better at the game as we evaluate how we’ve lived our earlier years and use that wisdom to set a course for the future. I’m going to try and equate the microcosm of tiny adjustments to our lives with a larger concept I’ve explored in previous posts. Bear with me, again, please.
Where this country embarked on a disastrous alternate path. 1980.
Conservative America saw the inevitable coming. It recognized that we were progressing quite well as a left/center country, after socialist policies put in place by FDR and succeeding administrations effectively built a strong and growing middle class. There was the GI bill. There were powerful unions that represented over a third of our workforce and gave employees a voice. Union standards raised working conditions for everyone. A truly progressive income tax was in effect, a vast and growing middle class (for many people, at least. I don’t discount the embedded racism of the times.) There was enough discretionary income so a family could afford not only a house and car, but also be able to put their kids through school. All on one income. Sounds like a perfect system, right?
Then some real progress was made on the racial elements. Why then, did we take that fork in 1980? Why the lurch to the right?
Conservatives, then in such a minority, decided that if they wanted to continue to exist without getting with the times, they needed to assemble a coalition of one-issue voters, no matter how whacked the cause. Voters are voters, after all. In the democratic system, a stupid or gullible vote carries as much weight as an informed one. So they recruited the racists, the gun nuts, the anti-abortion fear mongers. They, in turn brought aboard the religious fanatic vote. Climate deniers, evolution deniers, flat-earthers and science deniers in general followed. Immigrant deniers and gay-haters found a home as well.
Hatred for a black President caused the doubling-down we’ve seen over the last seven years, as elements of these so-called conservatives will absolutely not allow anything positive to get by on a black president’s watch. That’s not conservative. That’s radical. Simple throwback racism. Willing to jeopardize the progress and wellbeing of this country for eight years.
But recently the Republican tactic seems to be preying upon itself. Not surprising when you try and corral such a diverse group of zealots. In their desire to out-asshole each other, Republican candidates have nothing but their so-called conservative “qualifications” (obstruction) as a platform. Have you seen the Republican debates as opposed to the Dems?
Self-implosion of the Republicans is the result of the extremes the right wing has courted. None of the right-wing hopefuls (rather prayerfuls) has a cogent policy plank, apart from lowering taxes for the rich. Add to that a snake pit of special interest issues, usually faith (read fairy tale) based. Now they’re eating their own.
(Yes, I’m hard on religion when the measure of a zealot’s religious belief is so closely tied to the danger he/she represents.)
Next year’s general election presents another fork in the road for American voters. It offers us another opportunity to end this foolishness. Hopefully, attrition has finally caught up with the right wing. And the youngsters who may be voting for the first time? Do they really think it’s important to kill gay marriage? Are they going to vote to defeat their own health care? Are they afraid of immigrants? Do they want an education?
If everyone actually voted, we could see a landslide.
Let’s not miss next year's opportunity to force the Republican Party to abandon their one-plank platform and instead include all of us. Maybe at last the chaos they’ve unleashed upon us (and themselves) will convince them. Take the obvious fork. Vote for common sense and past performance.
Remember the last Republican administration. Bush II. And the one before that, Bush I. And before that, Reagan. Remember before Reagan? When “Homeless” wasn’t a household word?
Huh! We’re pre-1980 again.
And BTW- The one before that was Nixon. May as well forget Ford. Everybody else has.