The quest to become a more perfect union always upsets the less perfect
As the son of the first parents in my subdivision to divorce, I recognized all the less-than-subtle signs of a family falling apart.
Doors slamming, people staring at their toes as they grab the mail, days when it seemed as if the house was empty — yet you knew they were all home.
But the last warning, the sign that the end was nigh, came when the fights spilled out of the house.
That’s where the Republican Party is today.
Ted Cruz is mocking his fellow GOP Senators over their unwillingness to pretend they can defund Obamacare. Rand Paul and Chris Christie’s spat has turned into a spinoff of the Real Housewives of New Jersey/ Kentucky. And Republicans are openly contemplating how to drop the “conservative” brand all together and move toward something called “libertarian populism,” which requires the belief that Any Rand and Jesus had a baby and named it Ronald Reagan.
Republicans consciously or unconsciously understand that most regular Americans take for granted: the world is changing rapidly. But quickly it’s changing in a way that threatens any grasp conservative thought can have on a majority of voters.
In less than a year, 26 million Americans will get tax subsidies to help them pay for their health insurance and millions more will get Medicaid, completely subsidized government health insurance. This takes the reality that we already pay for each other’s health care in the dumbest way possible and makes it real. The central metaphor of the progressive movement “We are all in this together” will be an undeniable reality.
In less than five years, a majority of American states will likely have legalized same-sex marriage, which I’m sure will please our first female president.
In a little more than a decade, the number of Latino voters will nearly double, making politics based nearly exclusively on wooing older white people irrelevant.
Meanwhile, the Internet will make politics increasingly dominated by young people who view the Republican Party as “closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned.”
There will be an undertow to all this progress that could fuel a serious backlash, of course.
The Supreme Court, which has already opened the floodgate for corporate cash, seems about to get rid of the limits on individual contributions. The GOP war on voting, which failed in 2012, is only getting started and without Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, vast new strategies for stopping Democrats from voting will emerge. Conservatives sensing that their opportunities are waning will use these advantages and a persistent appeal to the worst natures of some Americans to fight to keep what they have.
Progressives need to understand that the only way they lose is if they retreat. Implementing Obamacare is the first and most important step. This will require the wherewithal to survive the challenges and even crises inevitable in rolling out such a massive, paradigm-changing reform.
Conservatives know their only hope is to stand athwart history, yelling “Stop!”
But as their neighbors, we should tell them keep it down.
[Image by DonkeyHotey | Flickr]