Sometime during or after the 1970s, the Democrats left the working class behind as they began to favor those with college degrees over those without, thinking that as everyone became better educated the playing field would level. But, they overlooked essential workers, vocational programs and apprenticeships. The right did the same thing by over rewarding the entrepreneur at the expense of the workers.
Legislators on both sides began to favor big business with tax cuts and deregulation at the expense of the working class, everyone’s safety and the environment. This resulted in the undermining of labor unions, lower wages and decreases in benefits including healthcare and pensions. There were just fewer good paying jobs after that.
The American promise used to be that if you were willing to work hard and do the right things, you would be respected and financially sound. When this promise was no longer kept, people wanted to know why. They began to blame minorities, immigrants, free trade, globalization and the liberal elite while overlooking the consequences of automation. These aggrieved and disenfranchised Americans found their feelings affirmed in right-wing media which provided them with a villain, the “liberal elite Democrats,” even though, the right was just as complicit in the anti-working class legislation and the detrimental policies that have been implemented.
The consumers of right-wing media are taught to hate liberals who are, of course, scary socialists who want to destroy the country, and, conversely, to uphold, so-called, conservative values that are, of course, the very definition of American patriotism. What is liberalism and conservatism in reality? Liberalism advocates freedom of the individual, governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties, nonviolent modification of political, social or economic institutions to assure unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor. Conservatism endeavors to preserve or restore what is established and traditional and to limit change and maybe to even go backwards.
As our society became more diverse than ever, and that diversity is necessary for our economic growth, voters were more likely to be Democrats. Instead of trying to win these voters over, the Republicans engaged in voter suppression, gerrymandering and creating a false narrative of conspiracy theories demonizing the left. This is nothing new.
The right has been demonizing the left for more than 70 years. It has inaccurately accused the left of being socialists, communists and “Antifa” today and just pure evil in an attempt to stop change, change that is dictated by advancing scientific knowledge and the social/emotional evolution of human beings, change that is necessary to stay viable on the world stage. In the 1980s, the religious right joined in declaring secularism as the enemy as the right opposed abortion, gay rights and feminism.
The right has convinced itself that the left is so evil that it justifies extreme behavior (lying to their constituents) on their part. It seems that their only purpose is to fight evil liberals not real policies and governance. Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and other right-wing sources have created this information bubble of falsehoods to assemble a base of Republican voters who are believing the lies and who don’t see the dangers to our democracy as we are being pulled into an autocracy or plutocracy.
Historically, the right was against the New Deal, Medicare, tolerance, civil rights, women’s rights and Brown v. BOE, while supporting anti-semitism, segregation and white supremacy. For the most part, the current Republican administration has only given tax cuts to the wealthy and packed the courts with conservative judges, while hundreds of proposed bills that would help ordinary Americans sit idle on McConnell’s desk. Compromise and governance has been replaced with hate and paralysis.
This right-wing bubble created the space for the rise of Donald Trump and the cult of personality that developed around his “brand” which is based in lies. His campaign of lies and hate got my attention, and then his continued lies and attacks as President led me to wonder how anyone could support him. Outside the bubble, the ineptitude, immorality and corruption is downright existentially frightening. Several of my friends have entered this bubble of propaganda. The creators of this bubble are motivated by self-interest, money and power, not in a fair system of governance.
We need to work together to make our country great. We need to honor all work and value everyone by respecting all and paying livable wages that keep up with the cost of living. We need to recognize trigger words that instill unnecessary fear. For instance, “socialism” is government ownership of production and nobody is talking about that! The right is simply using the word “socialism” to scare you and keep you from seriously looking at policies that will benefit everyone. Please give the new administration a chance and question your sources. Most of us are centrist, just average hardworking folks who want the best for our families. We are not enemies, we are fellow Americans.