wherever you roam,
and admit that the waters
around you have grown,
and accept it that soon
you'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
is worth savin',
then you better start swimmin'
or you'll sink like a stone-
for the times they are a-changin'.
Yeah, I went there.
Let's talk about duty, boys. Get a little noblesse oblige goin' here.
There's a problem- it's called the GOP.
What Paul Beston fails to point out is that to many Americans, conservative/Republican is a false dichotomy. Conservative is definitely a dirty word where I come from, and I have the Republican Party to thank for that.Whatever the despair of the Bush years, conservatism does not come saddled with the hardened negatives that centrists and independents tend to associate with liberalism. For many, it still represents sensibility and practicality, as well as success, dating back to the presidency of Ronald Reagan. The Bush years have in fact not discredited conservatism, a point made suggestively--if, one senses, accidentally--by, of all people, Michael Dukakis.
"'What's conservative about invading Iraq?" he asked in a Washington Post story. "What's conservative about a $400 billion deficit?" Though Dukakis went on to say, shades of 1988, that "The terms have lost their meaning," his rhetorical questions underscore that even liberals don't connect the Bush administration's failures to traditional conservative principles. They criticize Bush by holding his policies up to conservative standards--and finding him lacking. What Bush has discredited is not conservatism, but the Republican Party. The number of Americans answering to that party identification has slipped markedly since Bush entered the White House.
Even when our President tries to be conservative, his own party holds him back:
Through a complicated and overlapping system of government-sponsored insurance, counter-cyclical assistance, disaster aid and legacy payments tied to nothing, the five-year, $307 billion bill lavishes cash on wealthy farm households, the main restriction on collecting it being a means test that applies to couples making more than $1.5m a year. And even that can be avoided by employing a reasonably competent accountant.I'm not the only one who's angry about this:
Mr Bush vetoed the measure on May 21st. But the bill won so much support in Congress that the legislative branch has enough votes to override him, thanks to Republicans voting with the Democrats against their own president.
The decision by the Republican Party elite, as proven by their vote Wednesday (May 23, 2008), to disentangle themselves and their party from the “onerous” burden of supporting the policies and beliefs to which Conservatives adhere (small government, low taxes, restraint in spending, strong national defense, and belief in the value of every life) in favor of the Democrat-light policies of the Liberal elitist “Country-Club Republicans” of the early 20th century, leaves little choice for Conservatives but to abandon the Republican Party to its eventual and inevitable death and (hopefully) eventual rebirth.A-fucking-men.
I'm angry with the GOP for claiming, then ignoring, then wantonly defaming the principles and traditions that direct not only my life, but the lives of my brothers, friends, and idols. I am furious with my fellow intellectuals for not standing up and doing something about it.
Conservatism has no home in the current American political system. It is our duty to carve one out- from walls of diamond with our sherry-stained molars if need be- we must shape the movement now. We talk about the Yale Man, the Great Man, leadership, passion, intellect; we worship in the Temple of Buckley, we tear up at the mention of Reagan, we canonize Goldwater and squeal for Paul- but I'm really fucking tired of all this masturbation, if at the end of the day we're going stay home on November 4th, or, worse yet, complacently cast a ballot for McCain.
Leaving the Republican Party is the first step- one I'm glad to see many people making. The next step is to delegitimize Republican authority, and to make it clear to politician and voter alike that the banner of conservatism is in new hands.
The blogosphere is good, and helpful, as are conventions, journals, and magazines. But we also need to get the message across more directly: we have to change our party registration, we have to vote for third party candidates, we have to confront these problems, and live our fucking philosophy. There's more than one way to be actively engaged in American politics- we need to distance ourselves from the Republican Party, yes, but we still have to be at the forefront of political discourse- embracing pragmatism is distinct from affiliating with that aging pachyderm.
The GOP is a brand, and one that you'll soon find "in the back in the discount rack, like another can of beans." Conservatism is a philosophy, a movement, a tradition, a lifestyle- and she needs a new dress. Pick up a goddamn needle.