Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Ideological Divide

Through a series of facebooky events, I've friended a real live small government conservative. It's good to get outside your bubble. It's good to see what makes the other side tick. It's good to see how you come across to the other side. And I'm starting to get what makes them tick: that old Reaganism about government not being the solution but the problem has moved from opinion to aphorism. It's as true to them as "absence makes the heart grow fonder" or "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." It is a truth so true it's self-evident, unquestioned and unquestionable.

To be fair, we lefties are as prone to converting our philosophies into fact as they are. The difference is, of course, we're right. [Can you smiley face a blog? I think you're supposed to rely on your skill as a writer to get across bloggy cheekiness. I, here, am doing what Senator Franken (god, LOVE how that sounds) calls "kidding on the square."]

As I've mentioned loads of time in this here blog, the function of government is to do the will of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority. And, I've gone just on and on about how it's the second half that's so hard to do.

And right there is the crux of the divide: we lefties believe in protecting the rights of those minorities NOW. And we believe it is the sacred duty of government to do that. Conservatives believe that society will move toward social justice on its own.

Look, it's true that we probably didn't need the Civil Rights Act to start moving away from our ugly American history of Jim Crow and slavery. But, we sure as shit needed it in 1964. And eventually every state in the union would have acknowledged the right for women to vote without the 19th amendment. But that would have come a hell of a lot later than 1920.

And eventually gay people will have the same marriage rights as straight people. But they should have them NOW.

My theory is that conservatives tend to be straight white men because straight white men haven't really ever had to wait for anyone to acknowledge their rights in this country. They have no history of wanting it NOW.

For a lot of years, it's been politically vogue to claim independence. Poltickin' bona fides are established when a liberal votes republican or a conservative votes dem. But, y'all, I'm a proud liberal democrat because I believe in government and I believe that government, federal government, has an obligation to... well, hell, let's just go to the text:

establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

And, dammit, that needs to happen NOW.