28 June 2011

Losing a Generation

I am I claim, a conservative.  I believe for instance that government should intervene in our lives as little as it can consistent with our ability to live together.  I want every level of government every year to face the requirement of a balanced budget.  I want to see the set of those things the government may borrow to fund sharply limited.  I still like two spaces after the end of a sentence and think of the word processor as a smart typewriter.

I am also a dinosaur.  Conservatives like me, people who want liberty to ring not only for straights but for lgbt citizens;  who want the State out of our bedrooms completely, and out of the business of favoring some bedrooms and disadvantaging others; who want a government that wages peace not intervention, and yes decency not torture, are going extinct.  When the last of us dies, the tombstone should read, "killed by "Christian Conservatives" who were neither."

Jesus, Paul, Peter, and James never once called on us to make everyone behave.  Not once did Jesus nor his  disciples ever tell us to impose ourselves on a theocracy.  Only by rather questionable logic can anyone claim that one of the four, Paul, said anything much about homosexual behavior, but we can find lots of things they all said about other behaviors common to the so-called "Christian Right."

Today, the battlefield between those who would make us behave and those who want to follow Jesus and proclaim liberty is marriage equality.  I do not know where most of the conservatives have been, to their credit a few Republicans acted as conservatives, and voted for the new equality law in New York.  What we have seen instead is the Puritans, those who would expand! government and its intrusion in our lives claiming to represent God and demanding disadvantaged families.

In the process these foolish people are losing the ears of an entire generation.  Most young voters simply do not consider who sleeps with whom the State's business.  Most of them are more interested in the depth of the commitment than they are the gender of those making it.  (I suspect this reflects on their experience with divorced parents.)

But they are busy people and not inclined to distinguish between conservatives and puritans.  So as they turn away from Falwell, Christie, and Bachmann (as they should!) they also turn away from real conservatives. They do not hear the late Senator Goldwater, "Every conservative should line up to kick Jerry Falwell in the ass."  One look at the fools picketing funerals from the "Westboro Baptist Church," which is neither Baptist nor a church, and they are ready to find liberals and non-Christian liberals at that.

This is how political realignment happens.  Strident haters like Bachmann and Phelps repulse anyone with a brain and a sense of the Gospel.  People run away.  They find left wing groups that make sense on human rights.  And so the democrats become more liberal, more big government oriented, and more popular.

This is why when my son says he is a Christian, his contemporaries step back.  It is also why Mr. Obama will win a second term.  Nominating one of these puritans, and I am convinced they will, assures the Republicans of a loss.   Unfortunately two things are true: voters tend to set patterns and stick to them; and politicians seldom learn the correct lesson.  So four years from now the puritan politicians will think that the answer is to shout more homophobia instead of shelving it forever.  And the generation will in fact be lost to conservatives.



Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Obama won't have a second term if I have anything to do with it. I'm writing in Bernie Sanders from Vermont in 2012 and no one can stop me. :)

Anonymous said...

PS: I think there's a difference between a "paleo-conservative" which would be a pre-Reagan conservative and a "neo-conservative" which are conservatives starting in the Reagan years and moving forward.

Although some of these modern "neo-cons" make Reagan look absolutely liberal.

JimB said...

I am not an Obama fan, but if the Republicans offer Bachmannn I shall vote for him as the lesser of two very bad choices.


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