There has been a refrain gaining ground for several years among Republicans (conservatives, if that feels any better) and it is defining liberal ideals as forces destroying America. Republican rhetoric in every corner is disrupting any progressive trend.
Republicans see the culture of “wake up” and “cancel” as the agents that erode the values they hold sacred. They hold that their value of an outdated status quo is the cornerstone of American greatness.
This article could end here. Because those values were not what forged American industry or American inventiveness or even resilience. In fact, our fundamental principles of freedom and equality are the foundation of the movement that challenges the status quo. It is the very essence of our great destiny that expanded the consciousness of different ways of identifying.
American idealism itself is the source of what outrages Republicans.
So… maybe that’s not really why Republicans blame Democrats (liberals, if you’re feeling better) for the decline in American stature and prosperity. Maybe… it’s really just economics.
The Republican/conservative battle cry has been, for several decades, that liberal economics has destroyed the incentives that once fueled American ingenuity. They point to social programs and the cost of what they termed “entitlements” as the main cause of economic dross and industry decline.
Well… again, this article could end right now. The incentives to innovate have never diminished. How can we have Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos racking up hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars if our system is rigged against them? No. Our system is completely rigged in favor of wealth. The rich in America have increased their holdings by more than 250% in the last 40 years. It has been the most accelerated diversion of money at the top in history.
Social programs are not what evaporated the middle class (the engine of consumerism). It has been the principle of supply-side economics that has rewarded the top without supplying the bottom.
Tax dollars that put food in people’s mouths, or create educational opportunities, or sustain workers between jobs, aren’t breaking the bank. In fact, they are doing more to increase opportunities for more people outside of the wealth circle. Great minds, new inventors, creative thinkers don’t just exist in the suburbs, they are also in the center of cities.
In short, American prestige, honor, and leadership are not sinking because of gay marriage or transgender-inclusive bathrooms. Or for food stamps, social security, Medicaid, or unemployment insurance.
An ideology, a close cousin of genuine American conservatism, has emerged as a mutation of cautious principle into virulent, anti-intellectual populism. Today he controls the Republican platform and has replaced the founding principles with a nationalist fairy tale.
In the age of Trump, voters and politicians have lost sight of, or never really understood, the promise of equality, genuine liberty, judicial fairness, and the compassion that follows from those principles. His obstinacy is the agent that destroys our once noble identity of moral authority.
“A city on a hill” is derived from the teaching of salt and light in the Sermon on the Mount. It was co-opted by American politics (particularly by President Reagan) as a statement of exceptionalism to refer to the United States as a “beacon of hope” for the world. If America wants to shine that light again, we have to “wake up” from a low-information slumber and “cancel” a culture that exists simply to disrupt the state of our union.