DAMN. DAMN. DAMN.
After a vigorous conversation someone I respect, I now realize that terms I used in my last blog may have been less than clear. So let me start with what I meant by the use of the word ‘conservative’. To do that I must also talk about what I do NOT mean by the term.
I am of an age where conservatism is not equated with White Fundamentalist Christian Triumphalism. So when I ues the word conservative I am referring to another breed. One I still disagree with vehemently but one that is based on political and economic theories (however misguided to my mind) rather than religious and racial “truths”. I am not talking about the gullible, the fearful, the intractable, the ignorant, or the white supremacists who people much of the conservative landscape nurtured at the teats of Gingrich, the Tea Party, and Trump .
I want to respect conservatives. I do respect conservatives. I want to discuss ideas with them but have no desire to engage politically with those whose minds are locked in a steel tumbler that circles endlessly with no entrance or exit.
I DO believe what I said in my last blog:
We need to be political athletes that can compete with one another, respect each other’s strengths, and identify each other’s weaknesses. In the end we are both necessary to play the vigorous game of democracy.
To have those conversations requires critical thinking skills, an acknowledgment of facts, and an agenda free of religious doctrine. Please note I said ‘doctrine’ and not ‘influence’. Because some of our best impulses come from core ideals present in all religions: love, peace, and justice. To have these conversations means that we begin with the shared values upon which this nation was founded and the direction toward growth to which our principles point. That slow arc toward justice means that racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, transphobia and all the exclusionary phobias must be acknowledged and then addressed based on our shared political principles, not personal religious ones.
White Fundamentalist Triumphalist Christianity is not the final word on the definition of conservatism. It is a small subset of conservatism that ,instead, is the opening word on fascism. It is anti-democracy and anti-republic. It is exclusionary, built on the myth superiority, and wrapped in a cloak fear. Those are the folks we must fight tooth and nail, put our lives on the lines to overcome, and resist with all our beings.
I am NOT saying “LET’S MAKE NICE”. I am trying to say, “Let’s remember who we are, folks, and do what we can to make it work. Our differences do not make us enemies. Our enemies are abundant enough. And they are in the White House, the Senate, Congress, and even the Supreme Court.