Equal timeOne of my commenters, a penguin whose intellect I respect enormously, mentioned in her response to my last post that she was uncomfortable with political attitudes like mine, that forced lots of people into the same little boxes. Or something like that. She also mentioned, in passing, that a great many of the civic horrors I've attributed to the current El Jefe Junta also occurred under other (or, should I say, actual) Presidents... by which I would imagine she means 'Clinton', since, when people say that sort of thing these days in defense of El Jefe, they pretty much always mean 'Clinton'. He's become the boogeyman and universal scapegoat of the right wing, it seems.
I have a couple of things to say to that.
First, as far as people being put into little boxes -- I take this to mean my friend feels I am generalizing, and that's unfair. I further take this to mean that she feels there are many good conservatives out there... what El Jefe attempted to market to us, in the last two elections, under the label 'compassionate conservatism'.
I'm not going to talk about whether I've generalized or not; that's what you do when you're doing political analysis these days. I continue to stand by my main points: the modern day conservative party is entirely about regaining lost social dominance, for both white males and for the Christian religion, while liberalism is now and always has been about social equality for all human beings, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, or religious faith.
Having said that, let’s examine for a moment whether I am giving some sort of cruel short shrift to the true compassionate conservatives that are out there, somewhere, in the vast expanses of the United States.
To this I say -- I'm not from Missouri, but you're still gonna have to show me.
Show me the compassionate conservatives in Congress. Show me one Congressional Republican who voted against the recent Medicare D bill, which is currently screwing over senior citizens coast to coast while fattening the pockets of the pharmaceutical and the health insurance CEOs. Show me one Congressional Republican who voted against the much touted highway/energy bill before that, which is currently driving our gas and home heating bills into the stratosphere, benefiting no one but those who own stock in the oil industry. Show me a Congressional Senator who will vote against Alito's confirmation. Show me a Republican member of the House of Representatives who hasn't fought hard for the privilege of posing in a picture with Tom Delay over the last eight years. Show me a Republican Congressman who voted against the PATRIOT Act, or against the war in Iraq.
Of course, our elected representatives are just the head of the spear. Of course, the main body of the weapon has more mass, and should contain many more compassionate conservatives. Of course, of course. I have no doubt this is true. So, show me the compassionate conservatives who are taking homeless people into their own homes, or donating money to homeless shelters. Show me the compassionate conservatives who are adopting or fostering unwanted children, or who work on runaway hotlines. Show me the compassionate conservatives who are going to City Council meetings and demanding that low income housing and drug rehabilitation centers be built in their neighborhoods. Show me the swelling tide of young patriotic compassionate conservatives who are joining the military, or the Peace Corps, for that matter.
These are not idle or rhetorical questions, nor are they mere propaganda. Conservatives have no trouble turning out in large numbers when they feel it’s important enough. Thousands of conservatives have no trouble getting together in vigil for Terri Schiavo, in support of Roy Moore, in angry remonstration against Planned Parenthood centers. Conservative crowds similarly have no difficulty gathering in boisterous support of El Jefe wherever he travels in this great land.
So where, then, are the crowds of compassionate conservatives lining up to adopt unwanted children? To feed and shelter the homeless? To provide stern but loving examples of shining hope, faith, and succor for drug addicts and derelicts? Where are the compassionate conservatives demonstrating against child labor, against exploitation of undocumented immigrants, against illegal detainment and torture of prisoners, and for dealing with global warming before we have too many more disastrous hurricane seasons?
Well, a conservative reader might well sputter, those are all liberal causes! You can’t expect conservatives to take up cudgels for junkies, bums, unwed mothers, foreigners, terrorists, and other criminals and degenerates, for God’s sake!
And I say again… show me these compassionate conservatives.
Show me the compassionate conservative candidate who is running for any office anywhere in America on a ticket of anything but hatred and exclusion. "We need stricter immigration policies and a higher, better defended wall around America." "We need a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage." "We need bigger, better weapons to fight the war on Terror." "We need caps on lawsuits." And always, always, always, the clarion call to those who want to live in a civilized society but not pay for it -- "We need lower taxes."
Conservative candidates run on these slogans, conservative voters vote for these slogans. Where is the compassion in any of it? Where is anything, except “That offends us, you can’t do it, don’t spend our money on anything but us?”
Once more, with feeling – where are these compassionate conservatives?
Well, perhaps they’re to be found in the right wing blogosphere. Yes, surely we’ll find some compassionate conservatives here. Let’s go to Google and punch in “Cindy Sheehan” along with the name of any well known conservative bloggers… Michelle Malkin, say, or Jonah Goldberg, Peggy Noonan or that crazy woman over at Atlas Shrugged, any of the Power Tools crowd. Sure we’ll see some compassion here, some empathy, some sympathy for a mother who lost her child in battle…
Hmmm. No, no… not unless ‘whore’, ‘tramp’, ‘bitch’, ‘cunt’, and various other epithets can be considered compassionate…
I don’t know. I look for ‘compassionate conservatives’, but I mostly find a lot of mean, selfish, hateful people. Which, I suppose, is why I tend to try to stuff them all in the same little box (and oh, if only I could really do that, what a wonderful world it would be).
Now, as to various civil outrages being committed on Clinton’s watch, well, I suppose maybe that’s true. I might have just missed it. Maybe Clinton lied us into a war that half of his constituents and everyone else in the world, nearly, was vehemently opposed to, that violated international law, and that needlessly killed 100,000 plus foreign nationals and 2000 plus American troops… and counting. No, wait… Clinton supplied troops to a U.N. sanctioned police action, none of them died, and the world praised us for our humanitarianism as a result. Um… okay… maybe Clinton authorized indefinite detention of enemy combatants? Um… no. But Clinton certainly set up a network of secret facilities on foreign soil where foreign detainees could be tortured? Uh… nope, sorry, he didn’t do that.
Well, he must have done something. Did he send FBI agents around to see what books American citizens are checking out of the library? Well, no. Did he reserve the right to disobey every bill he signed into law, if he felt like it? Hmmm… no, no, I can’t see where he did that. Did he establish free speech zones? Push for Constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage and flag burning?
Well… no, no… and… no.
Geez. He’s like… what is that… zero for eight? What a slacker.
All told, I’m going to stick by my earlier analysis.
But I do, sincerely, appreciate all thoughtful feedback.