Why the Republican model can't move this nation forward.
Published on February 29, 2012
Republican conservatism: It's a 1700s, out-of-date style of politics. Less government, less regulation, less infrastructure. Sounds liberating in theory, right? But in an increasingly interconnected world, nothing we enjoy exists in a vacuum. This very computer I'm writing this article on has parts built in China, materials and minerals mined from across the globe, invented and engineered by folks in the U.S., Japan, and the content from this machine broadcast to an audience of readers from every corner of the planet. When we reach a society with that level of sophistication we can no longer keep whining about "big government"--rather we should ask for "better government." It's not about cutting and slashing. Government funding for NASA sparked incredible industrial growth, new inventions, creativity and put us well into the future technologically ahead of competing nations. If as a country we become so paranoid of debt and so nostalgic of a past that never existed, I fear we will fall into obscurity. Countries like China are getting it--invest in infrastructure, hire people. Don't just trade commodities, make invaluable items the world cannot live without.
By no means am I saying we should replicate China. We have our way of doing things, but only the growth of government, the right kind of government that truly represents people rather than only those at the very top, is what can get us out of our economic troubles. Just as in colonial times, Americans felt suppression by a British empire an ocean away, we feel suppressed by global corporate interests out of reach even to those of us that feel wealthy. Only the tiniest sliver of folks are enjoying this pie. Modern day billionaire CEOs are kings and queens. The royals and the peasants. Most of us are peasants as much as we hate to admit it, and we have it pretty good in this country compared to many places, but if we continue down a path of divided politics, and this admiration of impoverished nation style politics where you're on your own and if you can't succeed, too bad, I don't see things getting better any time soon. Gated communities sprouting up and the rest of us fighting for whatever scraps are left. We need to get over this idea of lifting oneself by their own bootstraps when those straps were made by some kid in Pakistan. It's out of touch. Republicans have this model of an America that can't. They don't seem to have a vision for the impossible, for the future of possibility. We need to get back to the JFK style dreamer political paradigm. Who cares if JFK was or wasn't sleazy, I'm talking about the inspiration of going for the gold. We need leaders that embody that spirit. Not President Scrooge, the frugal billionaire that makes you pay for coffee when you meet with him even though he made it to the coffee shop via helicopter while you had to ride a bike.
A Republican model that would slash government only opens the door for the next most powerful entity to take complete control and that would be the corporate, wealth interests.
I love capitalism. I started a web business in high school because of how free and open this country is. I don't want to see that go. But, if we allow corporate interests to make it harder and harder on the little guy to compete, opportunities will disappear. It's time Democrats start touting not just moral superiority and family values--you know, family values like healthcare for everyone, and a decent standard of life--but economic values. Those at the top don't care if the system sinks, because they already have their life rafts, and with less competition they won't have to worry so much.
I find it hard to imagine that the founders, who cared so deeply about freedom and individuality and a fair distribution of power would approve of today's setup, where foreign global corporate interests control so much. It's not time to kill the corporation, but it's time to enpower the people that work for them. If "corporations are people," they should start acting like them and show some humanity.