Thursday, January 19, 2012

The “M” Word- Putting Moderates in the Bull's-Eye

Seemingly not content with attacking the views of progressives, or liberals this they call them, it appears that some candidates campaigning to gain the Republican Party’s presidential nomination are now going after moderates as well.

Having purged the vast majority of moderates from their party, conservatives now feel safe in using that term as a pejorative, just as they've done for decades with the tradition of liberalism which ironically was the ideology of many of the founders of our country.

I assume, if that is successful, ultra conservatives in the party will then take aim at just run-of-the-mill conservatives. Aiding those with these non-inclusive views is the fact that the majority of Americans alive today do not remember or choose not to remember that this line of thinking in the 1980s put an end to the great era of middle-class growth in this country.

Maybe it's because I've always read a lot and been intrigued by viewpoints different than my own that I've always been suspicious of movements based on so-called ideological purity, whether it be those  that claim to be "the only true church or religion" or "the superior race” or “the only valid way to think or believe or feel” especially when the validity of those views is proven only by demeaning others.

If ultraconservatives or any other political ideology truly want to restore American values, they must accept that Americans have always had very diverse views and viewpoints. They must realize that this fact is inherent in “being American.”

I've already highly recommended the recently published book entitled The Price of Civilization by the acclaimed clinical economist Jeffrey Sachs. He notes that the divisions that have always existed in America “were muted by the circumstances” facing this country “during the 1930s and 1940s” when we were “in it together” facing the Great Depression and World War II.

Sachs notes that “these epochal events were great crucible of consensus building” and that “the Cold War created a sense of shared risks and responsibilities as well , meaning that Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson all could feel at least until 1965 or so that they were presiding over society that shared certain touchstones."

Maybe the current divide has been intensified, as some think, by some overreaching on social issues during 1960s and 1970s and the similar overreaching on economic issues since the 1980s. But I agree with Sachs that “there is much more consensus than meets the eye” especially judging by scientific public opinion polls, which today are the closest thing we have to true democracy.

Sachs uses the results from these polls to suggest that the great majority of Americans, contrary to what you would think from the political system, still have consensus around several core values such as “a set of national economic policies to promote overall efficiency, fairness, and sustainability [the environment].” Americans have consensus “that there should be equality of opportunity” for all citizens, and that “individuals should make the maximum effort to help themselves.”

We also have consensus around a core value “that government should help those in real need as long as they are also trying to help themselves.” Most Americans also “agree that the rich should pay more in taxes.”

I agree with Sachs that “our politics feel divisive, not because of the raging battle in middle America but because there is a vast gap between (1) what Americans believe; (2) with what the [corporate dominated] mass media tell us Americans believe; and (3) what politicians actually decided, no matter what Americans believe.”

We will restore American values when we  standup for “public policies [that] begin to follow American values.” Listening carefully to even the extreme viewpoints that seem to monopolize the news media we need to then elect politicians who give us views unfettered by powerful special interests including those who fuel biases with campaign financing or demand ideological purity.

The answer, as Sachs prescribes, is for the public “to exercise a new and higher level of political responsibility.” Special interests, including corporate interests are free to hijack the system only when we the people are “disengaged.”

1 comment:

Pharmacy Dropshipper said...

This is very great thing you have shared with us. Now I found enough resources by your tips about this issue, Thank you.