BY BOB BEARDEN
With the death of one of the greatest jurists ever, the Notorious RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we are learning the difference between what used to be conservative and what now, in the age of Trump, passes for conservatism. And it ain’t pretty.
Senators calling themselves conservatives fall all over themselves to genuflect to their Nero-like godman, prostrating themselves upon his altar of shamelessness. Conservative has now lost all meaning.
“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt
That explains modern conservatism movement pretty plainly. Old-line conservatives had their problems, but they did have a modicum of integrity and they did practice what they preached, even if at times it didn’t make a lot of common sense.
The current crop is conservative in name only. They lack any semblance of what is right or what is wrong with this nation. Their allegiance stops with the 1%. They have no concern for those among us who toil for a living.
To the modern conservative, it is all about reversing all of the civil rights, voting rights and any upward mobility that the ordinary citizens of this nation have gained. They look upon the “great unwashed” as people who are lazy, shiftless and who do not deserve the same rights as the people they serve, which is the upper 1% who hold 90% of all the wealth of this nation.
The modern conservatives owe their fealty and allegiance to the richest of the rich and all others need not apply. They prefer to keep workers and their families toiling in low-wage jobs and seek always to deny them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Or any semblance of what our Constitution pledges, which is “to promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty.”
They would – and will if allowed to continue their form of governance – deny We the People health insurance, unless, of course, you pay the going rate. Since We the People have been deemed shiftless and lazy, then we don’t deserve to have health insurance.
They don’t believe that our most sacred document, the Constitution, applies fairly and equally to all. They believe that there is no gender equality. That minorities have less rights than whites. They believe that “rights” in this nation translates into who has the most money has the most rights. They now equate that [in their own minds and hearts] rights and liberty belong only to those among us who can afford to pay for them. They have dipped their souls in bigotry and racism.
They believe that women are not equal and have no rights beyond what a man will allow them to have. They believe that religious freedom only applies to those who worship as they do and anyone who doesn’t adhere to their religious beliefs has no right to freedom of religion or freedom from religion. They do not believe in the right of anyone who lives a lifestyle that is different from their own.
They believe that our founders never intended that our Constitution be inclusive of all citizens regardless of their gender, race, color, creed, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation. Their vision ended at the end of the Revolutionary War. If they have their way, they will strike down all the gains made in the name of progress, because they are at odds with any progress that is inclusive for all.
As far as modern conservatives are concerned, the Preamble to our Constitution has no relationship to what our Constitution says and stands for. And as they have with the Second Amendment, they seek always to explain our most sacred document only in terms that fit their skewed backward thinking beliefs.
And here we are at another crosswords in our history. Paraphrasing Lincoln and his words spoken as part of his speech at Gettysburg – “testing whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure” – we are being assailed from within by a person and a party he leads, testing whether or not we as a nation and as a people shall remain free.
Whether or not we will be able to endure the crisis he and his party have created will soon become clear. A Constitutional crisis created because of their desperate desire to retain their power at whatever the cost to our experiment in democracy.
It is a scary time and it is up to every citizen who believes in our Constitution and in the Rule of Law to go to the polls on Nov. 3 and vote to repudiate all that he and his enablers stand for.
– Bob Bearden is chair of the Board of Trustees of the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation and a member of Mayflower Congregational Church UCC in Oklahoma City.