There has been a refrain gaining traction for several years among Republicans (conservatives if that feels better) and it is defining liberal ideals as forces destroying America. Republican rhetoric in every corner is heckling any progressive trends.
Republicans view “woke” and “cancel” culture as the agents corroding values they hold sacred. They hold that their value of an antiquated status quo is the cornerstone of American greatness.
This article could end here. Because those values were not what forged American industry or inventiveness or even American resilience. In fact, our founding 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 awareness of different ways to identify.
American idealism itself is the source of what Republicans are incensed over.
So….maybe that’s not really why Republicans blame Democrats (liberals if that feels better) for the decay of American stature and prosperity. Maybe…it’s really only about economics.
The Republican/conservative battle cry has been, for several decades, that liberal economics have destroyed incentives that once powered American ingenuity. They point to social programs and the cost of what they branded as “entitlements “ as the root cause of slagging economics and diminished industry.
Well…again, this article could end right now. Incentives to innovate have never fallen off. How can we have Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos accumulating hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars if our system is rigged against them? No. Our system is rigged entirely in favor of wealth. The wealthy in America have increased their holdings over 250% in the last 40 years. It has been the most accelerated siphoning of money to the top in history.
Social programs aren’t what evaporated the middle class (the engine of consumerism). It has been the principle of supply side economics which 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 are not breaking the bank. In fact they are doing more to increase opportunity for more people outside the circle of wealth. Great minds, new inventors, creative thinkers don’t only exist in the suburbs, they are in the inner cities, too.
In short, American prestige, honor and leadership are not foundering because of gay marriage or transgender inclusive bathrooms. Or because of food stamps, social security, Medicaid or unemployment insurance.
An ideology, a close cousin of genuine American conservatism, has emerged as a mutation of cautious principles into virulent, anti-intellectual, populism. Today it controls the Republican platform and has replaced founding principles with a nationalist fairytale.
In the Trump era, voters and politicians have lost sight of, or never truly understood, the promise of equality, genuine freedom, judicial impartiality, and the compassion that follows those principles. Their obstinacy is the agent destroying our once noble identity of moral authority.
“A City upon 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 declaration of exceptionalism to refer to America as a “beacon of hope” for the world. If America is to shine that light again we have to “awaken” from a slumber of low information and “cancel” a culture that exists merely to heckle the state of our union.