A previous blog (August 2015) postulated that there are two bedrock principles, first premises if you will, that separate contemporary liberals from conservatives and everything else in both camps is built upon these. They were first, a conviction that the world is either a.) more dangerous than interesting or b.) more interesting than dangerous, and second, a conviction that humans are either a.) naturally bad or b.) naturally good (by the time they are born).
Contemporary conservatives believe that, since the world is primarily dangerous and humans are essentially bad, authoritarian control (by males because that’s the natural law), through government and/or organized religion, is necessary to protect law-abiding citizens and the innocent from the evil without and the evil within. The Enemy is everywhere and he works in mysterious ways. Women who tempt you and then want to abort for the sake of convenience, gays, transsexuals, and other perverted weirdos who want to change you into something unnatural, flowers-and-sunshine optimists unaware of all the bad guys with guns who can only be stopped by good guys with guns, Muslims, Atheists and other Christian haters – essentially any people with ideas or ways of doing things that are unfamiliar – are tools of the Devil. Survival depends upon developing and adhering to top-down mandated systems, based on tradition, that don’t change with the winds of fashion and any suggestion that one or more of these systems no longer works is anathema. This goes double for the tried and true systems that God Himself put into place, such as man/woman love and the climate. The reason is that, if tried and true systems can fail, then chaos is inevitable because people will naturally make wrong choices on their own.
All of this has devolved into a rejection of reality on the part of conservatives and a slow death spiral of that half of America into smaller and darker social contexts that has negatively impacted every American. Quality of life has declined as a result of the ruthless campaign by evangelicals, nationalists, and their ilk to erode old civil liberties and deny new ones, and for a while it looked as though America might be doomed. It looked like the values that both Jesus and the Constitution really embody would be lost in a quicksand of self-serving doubletalk, transparently inane to well-educated egalitarians, but mother’s milk to panicking devotees of white male privilege who see their artificial social/economic props inexorably decaying. Now however, because the world is not overwhelmingly evil (although there is plenty of evil in it) and people are not naturally bad (although they all possess the potential and many have followed that path), the madness is eating itself.
Unfortunately it probably won’t disappear without a very messy fight. Last month’s blog suggested that Trump had finally begun a long fiery descent into irrelevance. That claim was based on a feeling…that the media and the populace had finally taken the true measure of the man. He is no longer a novelty. He has repeated certain lines of thought and behaviors enough times that what he is and what he stands for have become clear. He has exposed his weaknesses, but alas, they are weaknesses he shares, and even celebrates, with millions of American voters, so the crazy, after-thought, anti-Trump coalition might not be able to prevent him from becoming the Republican nominee. This would mean seven more months of gorge raising wall-to-wall media coverage of the man’s every eyeblink and nose blow. However…if we really believe that people are more good than bad, than we almost have to believe that Trump will go down in flames in November and, more importantly, he will take much of the Republican party, with its elitist, self-serving, tyrannical schemes down with him. Additionally there is reason to hope that, in doing so, he will catalyze intense self-examination on the part of both conservatives and the media, who, driven by their fear of change, and their mindless pursuit of drama respectively, have aided and abetted the near immolation of our national values. In retrospect last month’s assignation of eventual irrelevance to Trumpism was too flippant. Trumpism should never become irrelevant. Hopefully it will be studied in American History and Government classes for decades to come as an example of what not to believe.
Cruz won’t win either. He’s slimy and self-absorbed and nobody likes him. If Trump ceases to be a threat, the light of national scrutiny will catch Cruz in it like a startled deer. All of his inherent nastiness will ooze out and befoul everything and everyone it touches, and even our sad fourth estate won’t overlook it.
So Liberals and Progressives were right all along. And it feels sooo good. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings, but the time of our exile appears to be coming to a close. The wheels of Karma grind slowly, but grind they do. The crazy people who have been running the show are slated by fate to become a disenfranchised minority unless they take the time and trouble to join reality-in-progress. We will likely be able to breathe a sigh of relief soon, but we should also be cognizant of the damage we ourselves may have sustained in this long, dirty struggle. Some of us, for example, have slipped into perpetual Trump-like snarkiness. So much of what passes for news and commentary on Huffington Post, Politico, Slate, Salon, Daily Beast and other liberal media outlets nowadays is regurgitated drivel unworthy of the time and effort of otherwise capable authors or the serious consideration of thinking human beings. Who cares that Cruz bought 100 cans of soup shortly after getting married? Neither he nor his bride could cook and the man likes soup! It is almost certain that he would be a horrific choice for president but not because he likes soup. Who cares what he smelled like in college? How many young men are as yet unaware of the power of their scent glands? He may be Lucifer incarnated, as former Speaker of the House John Boehner claimed, but not because he stunk in college. A little bit of shallow sarcasm is fun (see last month’s blog). Too much of it is decay. But more about this later.
Our time is coming. Are we ready?