January 15, 2018

You're getting the American Zeitgeist wrong

Democrats want the national zeitgeist to forever remain that the Republicans are the party of the rich, while the Democrats are the party of the working class and the poor.  They are wrong, and that notion must be dispelled or it could return Democrats to power someday and re-orient the nation on yet another ruinous path.  And while the Democrats have historically been pretty successful at perpetuating that myth, it means that you're getting the American zeitgeist wrong.

Republican's fairly or not, once were considered the party of the rich.  They no longer are.  From Goldwater to Reagan, Republicans have stressed individual liberty as the most important thing that they value, and that America's founders valued.  It is a unique enshrinement of such a principle in human history. Sure, other countries have varying degrees liberty and will certainly pay lip service to it, no other country has ever been founded on the principle of liberty and justice for all. Clearly, Republicans have got that right - liberty is innate and not a government given right; if government can give it they can also take it away. Indeed, Democrats have never stopped the march towards taking away those rights, at least during my lifetime.

Back prior to the 1920's and in the 1930's Americans faced a different set of challenges than they do today.  There were indeed companies that took advantage of workers. It was never all companies to be clear, but there were sweat shops and unsafe conditions and poor wages.  And then, there were few jobs, and the Great Depression.  It heralded the start of government as the solution. Minimum wages, social security, safer job conditions, unionization and welfare.

At the time those things were necessary. The biggest threat to the individual health and welfare and liberty was big business, but now it's big government. They are the oppressors of the working class. As much as 70 years of various forms of welfare and social safety nets have not lifted the less advantaged out of poverty.  It has not eliminated slums, or made everyone well off.  America has progressed not because of welfare but in spite of it. 

The very fact that government overreach has been viscerally realized by tens of millions of Americans is the reason Donald Trump is now president Trump. His efforts to put money back in the hands of corporations, and the wealthy and the working class is about to explode what remains of the Democrat myth that really does not reflect the American zeitgeist. They nevertheless, continue to push that notion hard.  It's the only narrative they have to offer.

Conservatives understand that the economy and well being of individuals is not a zero-sum game.  Republicans not so long ago understood that you can help the rich at the same time you help the poor, that helping business is helping individuals and vice versa.  Republicans understood the notion of interdependence and that helping one is actually helping all.  They may have forgotten that in some establishment corners in recent years.  But president Trump in his vulgar, unpolished and uncouth way has dragged Republicans, and to a lesser degree so far, America in general, back to that reality. If the price for the realization is a vulgar president, you are getting of very easy America.

As unseemly as president Trump might be, he is a painful medicine for America; his presidency, if the economic success that follows his Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is as expected, will lay the foundation for an understanding that freedom is paramount, that a strong economy with a level playing field benefits everyone, and that government is not the provider of liberties, or even the the sole protector of those rights and the opportunities they offer.  That's the American zeitgeist and has been since it's founding in a rebellion against taxation without representation. Americans are finding that truth again, and it's about time.

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