Monday, December 8, 2014

Republicans: What Have You Done For Us Lately, Uh, Ever

Well, I learned something today. You can't do a strike in the post title. Democrat. Republican. Tomaytoe, tomahtoe.

Now, name one program since Eisenhower, initiated by conservatives in Congress, that the nation looks back on and breathes a collective sigh, on the order of: “Whew, we dodged a bullet when we reversed that progressive misstep.” The left reflects proudly on the strongest part of its history: Where would we be without Social Security and Medicare? It was the Truman administration that integrated the armed forces, and it was Lyndon Johnson who openly embraced the civil rights movement and helped advance the cause of social justice. Conservatives were wary of these initiatives at the time they were publicly debated. Do gays make good parents? Would gay marriage do irreparable harm to the American family tradition? Would the Affordable Care Act create death panels? It takes less and less time these days for conservatives to be proven wrong, to have panicked.

Some would almost say there's a difference between Democrats and Republicans. 

Ideology is corrupting. On the major issues of the day we need citizen education to encourage the kind of independence of thought that fortifies common sense, that balances the just fears of conservatives against programs that (a) insure social progress in the United States and (b) preserve the natural world that sustains the ever-increasing billions on the planet. And we need historical perspective, too. Badly. Because conservatives are generally wrong when they claim, “the past was better when….”

Here’s where the conservatives are right: when they hold up the “great books” of times gone by that need to be a part of a citizen’s education, worried lest today’s faddism replace proven standards of social value.

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