Monday, August 23, 2010

Privilege Has Its Rank

Steve Benen looks at a quote from Pete Wehner, a former Bush administration official, who is worried about the direction the country is going under President Obama, saying it is “beyond politics.”

“What we’re having here are debates about first principles,” Wehner said. “A lot of people think he’s trying to transform the country in a liberal direction in the way that Ronald Reagan did in a conservative direction. This is not the normal push and pull of politics. It gets down to the purpose and meaning of America.”

Basically what he is saying is that it was perfectly acceptable for the Republicans under Ronald Reagan to, as he put it, “transform the country” in a conservative direction, but if the liberals try to do it, it could destroy America.

This mindset is not new. In fact, it’s standard operating procedure for the GOP: the only people who should govern America are Republicans. Any other party is unacceptable. Oh, elections are nice things; they give us a chance to talk about democracy and “the will of the people” and all that claptrap, but when you get right down to it, we all know that things like “equal protection under the law” applies only if you’re white, male, Christian, straight, and rich. Everyone else has to live by their rules. That’s why you hear people like Mitch McConnell say that the only way they will work with the White House is if they cave into their demands: “Be reasonable — do it my way.”

As some of my more liberal friends would say, “If only Obama was as ambitious to transform America as Ronald Reagan. So far he hasn’t done squat.” Be that as it may, the right wing will never be satisfied until all vestiges of progressivism have been expunged, until the rightful balance of class and privilege has been restored, until we give up this wild idea that all men and women are created equal and everyone is entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as the ruling class. After all, elections only count if the right people win them.