The power brokers of the conservative movement are fighting a viscous, and dieing battle to hold onto the white, male power structure they feel is slipping away. It is almost painfully easy to illustrate that the fight from the top of the conservative movement is not about our countries greatness. In fact, movement conservative elites are trying so hard to hold onto power they would even destroy the country in the process. Let me explain.
The first piece of evidence comes from the unofficial spokesman for the conservative movement. Rush Limbaugh said, "When women got the right to vote is when it all went downhill." Let's pull this apart a bit. What is the "it" that went downhill after women got the vote?
Since women got the vote, America experienced the Golden Age of Capitalism. Obviously women voting was not a direct cause of this, but one certainly cannot describe America as the conservative "it" that went downhill when we were about to experience the largest capitalist economic expansion in the history of the planet.
Women got the vote in 1920. Just a short twenty years later, Henry Luce penned a seminal essay labeling the century to come, "The American Century". So, when Limbaugh and other conservatives say it all went to hell when women could vote, it could not have been America they were really concerned with. Heck, those woman who got the vote in 1920, they literally birthed what has been called "Our greatest generation".
What are movement conservatives lamenting the decline of, if not America? In their zero sum game of power it can be only thing. In their minds, giving power to women, must automatically by default take power from them. I will quote directly another movement spokesperson, Bill O'Reilly. "They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure,...", and John McCain's response was, "No, you're right." So, on of the top mouthpieces for the movement and the movements last political choice for president both support my premise. Enthusiastically.
Carefully examine everything that is being done by Tea Party Congresses, State Legislatures, and Conservative governors. We literally spent the American Century trying to expand access to voting booths. It wasn't just women. Our leaders broke down barriers to voting for the poor, minorities, and women. A rational person would conclude that giving power to minorities and women does not diminish your power. In fact, it made our country stronger, and by consequence all people stronger. Logically the only ones who could fear losing power by increasing voting are the white males. The ones who always had the vote. So, if the American Century and our Golden Age of Capitalism were typified by an expansion of voting, what does it say about those trying to make it harder to vote?
The conservative movement wants nothing less than a repeal of the 20th century. Look what the leading conservative literature recently said about when things were great. In the National Review they said, "“most of the world worked better in colonial times,”. Worked better for who? Answer that question and I am pretty sure you cannot deny my premise.
What else can you possibly say about a movement that has spent the first part of this century trying to dismantle the American Century. What can you say is their goal, when they tear down everything our Greatest Generation did. Whose power are they trying to protect? What do they really care about?
We experienced the American Century and the Golden Age of Capitalism AFTER women got the right to vote. We experienced the greatest rise to power AFTER the New Deal. We rose to greatness AFTER child labor laws were enacted. We rose to greatness AFTER Medicare reduced senior poverty from 1 in 3 to 1 in 10. We rose to greatness AFTER the the Labor and Civil Rights movements.
Certainly none of these accomplishments hurt America, and were part of our greatness. Our conservative movement wants to get rid of all of these. What are conservatives fighting for when they try and dismantle the New Deal? What group feels threatened by Child Labor Laws? The expansion of voting rights in the 20th century certainly benefited many new groups, but who are the only ones who might feel threatened? Those who had a monopoly on the franchise before.
In conclusion, our last century saw a tremendous rise in power for our country. We have a far ways to go, but we added entire classes of people to the American dream. Historians, economists, and journalists all documented this rise. Now the conservative movement wants to repeal almost ever major thing involved in our century of greatness. You cannot logically conclude these movement elites care about securing American greatness. You can only logically conclude they are trying to protect their own power.
Update Right on cue, the Nuge goes ahead and adds to the Patriotism of returning to pre-greatness America. A time that was great for a few. You know, when the correct folks had freedom. Ted Nugent wonders if we would have been better having lost the Civil War.
Cross Post at MNProgressiveProject