Over the last several decades, something happened to conservatism. It lost touch and was slow to respond to cultural and institutional changes. In many regards, Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the presidency helped accelerate the problem. While the former president was highly effective at tapping into emotions that drove legitimate issues such as trade, illegal immigration, and the economy, his choice of words and belittling of his political opponents helped to accelerate the out-of-touch language with Americans persuadable to his policies. It entrenched an “us versus them” mentality the Left leveraged, which only created more partisan animosity among Americans just wanting a better life for themselves and their families.
That’s not to say Trump wasn’t effective at governing. It’s the opposite. He moved the country into a decisively conservative direction in many regards. In others, not so much. Two things happened over the last three years that ought to give conservatives pause and force us to ask if conservatism is losing its way. Progressivism embraced socialist tendencies, and conservatives embraced aspects of the progressive movement with good intentions without realizing it.
Progressives Move Decidedly Left Beyond Recognition
For decades, Democrats and Republicans primarily argued over differences in emphasis or semantics. In the 1980s, liberal Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill negotiated with President Ronald Reagan. Though in opposition on many issues, the two leaders often dined together and became friends.
That may not be possible today. For one, progressivism has become a revolutionary movement, and compromise is a dirty word. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) are now targets within their own party for their willingness to work with Republicans to maintain the filibuster in the Senate. I’ll have more to say on that another day.
The Democratic Party is no longer immune to Marxism, communism, or socialism. Those philosophies are merging into party orthodoxy. In previous generations, Democrats never advocated for, let alone allowed, unfettered open borders and free healthcare for illegal immigrants. Yet, here we are. In the 1990s, Democrats and President Bill Clinton increased police funding. Now, many Democrats promote their abolishment or scaling law enforcement back. Critical Race Theory now runs rampant in many school districts, and children have been taught they were oppressors or victims, while schools lied to parents and insinuated kids weren’t telling them the truth.
So, what are the answers to these issues?
Are Conservatives Responding Well to Cultural Crises Created By the Left, and What’s the Answer?
While some believe the government is the enemy of freedoms, most fundamental protections are provided by it through the Bill of Rights. Things like due process, freedom of speech, etc. These aren’t merely Constitutional Amendments – they are institutions. The fact is, we rely on the government to ensure our liberties are upheld. Government shouldn’t be seen as the enemy. Yet, it should be seen as a powerful force with great potential for both good and evil.
So, what’s the proper response when the government is out of control?
Is it to pass laws banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory or other issues conservatives disagree with?
Consider this point before I move on. Over the last 50 years, conservative politicians have said they want to make the government smaller. That never happened. What we have today is an unlimited government. Although Trump governed largely conservative on areas of economic matters, he and Congress added trillions of dollars to the deficit. Additionally, over the last year, conservatives in state governments contributed to the expansion of government by passing restrictive laws pushing back against progressive ideology and policies. While they may have had good intentions, they might have fought the wrong fight.
There’s a better way to solve the problem, and it’s what our founding fathers intended for their generation and for us today.
Passing laws to ban cultural issues rarely works, but there is one thing that does work in the political process. When children started coming home and informing parents they were either oppressors or victims, parents stood up and pushed back. They attended school board meetings. Eventually, some were labeled “domestic terrorists.” They told school administrators they wanted to understand what teachers were teaching their kids and demanded they listen to parents’ views. When they didn’t, it created a political movement.
So, what did parents do?
In 2021, they ran for school boards all across America. Many weren’t overly political, but they wanted to end the craziness.
This is how democracy works. It didn’t take new laws or restrictions. It took concerned people to engage in the political process to ensure their parental rights were upheld.
This is what makes America unique. Our form of government allows your participation to change things if you can get a strong enough coalition to push back against ideas and practices you don’t like.
Conservatism is about doing… it’s about taking action… it’s about preserving your liberties and freedoms by using your right to be involved in government. It could be running for office, getting involved in activism, taking a class on history or the Constitution, and making your voice heard.
It’s not about creating a bigger government through more laws to stop progressives. When America wakes up and acts, there aren’t enough progressives to override the people’s will. If it comes to that, it’s because too many people didn’t care enough to familiarize themselves with American history, the sacrifices of those in the past, and the Constitution that forms the basis for our values.
The Constitution is the only thing binding us together as a nation. If we don’t know it, don’t understand it, and struggle with basic civics established in it, the door is wide open for the Left to exploit the culture’s ignorance.
To help solve the problem, I’m working on a video series covering the basics of civics. If you have a question you would like an answer to, don’t hesitate to email me at email@example.com.
Copyright 2022, ConservativeEra.com
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