BY SHARON MARTIN
Extreme divides are deadly. More than 600,000 American soldiers died in the fight over slavery and states’ rights. Even after Robert E. Lee gave up his sword at Appomattox, the South continued its ideological fight. Forty acres, a mule, and commitment to human rights would have solved a host of problems, but the South and the supremacists dug in their heels. They are still digging. And they’re not just in the South anymore.
They do this under the banner of conservatism.
What are they trying to conserve? The racial divide? Second-class citizenship? A ruling class? The power of rich white males?
Today’s self-described fiscal conservatives aren’t. They give away huge sums to corporations and the wealthy while complaining about investments in health and education that actually return money to the treasury. No matter how many times a recession follows a big tax cut, they just have to try it one more time.
Investment is fiscally conservative. Giveaways to cronies and pet causes are not.
Are they trying to conserve a power structure of some sort? Of course. No one gives up advantage easily.
In their struggle to maintain the flawed status quo, people on both sides of the aisle are dying. They’re dying of addictions that aren’t treated. They’re dying of preventable diseases.
Immigrants are sent back into war zones. Human rights are violated. What are the long-term consequences of snatching children from their parents? What kind of world are we shaping with this hideous turn?
Families here at home are broken apart because of a sexist, racist, classist, underfunded corrections system. What are the long-term affects of incarcerating mothers and fathers instead of treating addictions and addressing the root causes of poverty?
America has never been a perfect union, but we can sure do a lot better than we have been doing lately. Let’s reclaim real conservatism and conserve the living, breathing document that is our Constitution. Let’s conserve the spirit of independence. Let’s refuse to bow to a king or to a ruling ideology.
It is time to get off the ideological bandwagon and come together to find solutions. I pray it isn’t too late.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. Her latest book, Not A Prodigal, is available through Barnes and Noble. Her recent children’s book, Froggy Bottom Blues, can be purchased in hardcover or paperback from Doodle and Peck Publishingand in paperback from Amazon.