Page Two: Bye Bye Social Safety Net
Tearing down the social safety net will be a lot easier than building it back again when it is realized how necessary it is
Returning to the discussion of those so disgusted with the Democratic Party and its candidate that they followed their conscience either by choosing a third party candidate or not voting, what is troubling is how they became so hostile. That though driven by progressive politics, they dismissed the consequences of their decision, even though Trump's stated ambition was the diametric opposite.
The fear of Trump's presidency is not partisan. It is not that he is conservative and a Republican, which would not be a problem, but that he really is neither. He lacks political identity. Rather promiscuous with promises and guarantees on the campaign trail, Trump was a master of sound bites, but was also devoid of ideas. Especially concerning is rather than as with most populist demagogues where the audience both need and expect only to be told just exactly what they want to hear, he's proven his ability to get away with saying anything.
Historically, conservatives, even when decrying liberal dominance, have held sway. The Kennedy and Johnson presidencies were followed by Richard Nixon's hard shift to the right, an even sharper reverse when Jimmy Carter was replaced after one term by Ronald Reagan. When successfully passed, leftist legislation is vulnerable, with reversal always a possibility.
Many of those who followed their conscience rather than the Democratic Party, sharing a humanist idealism, found themselves finally unable to handle politics as usual, especially as practiced by liberals. Elected serving legislative Democrats' consistent failure to pass legislation began to seem deliberate, suggesting that the cowardly officeholder would always rather pull back when they should be pushing forward.
Older veterans of progressive causes, having been so engaged most of their lives, had far more modest expectations concerning legislation. Understanding that laws are not enacted in a vacuum, they appreciated that the conservative right was always there pushing back hard. Routinely, even when enacted, invariably it would seem too little, too late.
Still, there are those who loudly proclaim that settling for anything less than desired utopian leftist vision is selling out.
Not to get too deep into a Sanders discussion here, the anti-Washington message of his progressive campaign certainly resonated with many who ended up voting for Trump. As an actual candidate, his landslide victory would have been nowhere near as assured as some of his supporters insist. Yet considering the cross-cultural potential indicated by his progressive politics should be crucial when developing future strategies.
Certain the next president will achieve his loftiest goals – bringing jobs back, while forcing illegal immigrants out; sealing the borders, while also resurrecting manufacturing – Trump's supporters believe this is a permanent shift to the right, the silent majority finally vanquishing the welfare warriors. Certainly pleased that America will be great again, they seemed even more excited about gloating at Trump rubbing liberalism's face in its failure. You can almost see how in their imaginations, trumpeters are savoring the complete rout: liberal professors driven off campuses, left-leaning media dismantled and political correctness dispatched, fully silencing minority, feminist, and LGBT activists.
Don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but the country's ideology has never settled in any extreme permanently. Instead it has always slowly swung back and forth, moving like a pendulum to the hard right for some time then drifting left.
Many of Trump's supporters seem pleased at the forthcoming mauling and destruction of the welfare state. With denial triumphing over reality, they clearly believe that diminishing government aid won't affect them.
The corruption and failure of government is one of the few things on which the left and right agree. Sweepingly condemning its corruption and inefficiencies, they ignore its successes and the aid it provides. Taxpaying Americans, dismayed by government welfare, aggressively denounce this redistribution of their money to poor neighbors clearly too lazy to work.
When Obamacare passed, Alabama militiaman Mike Vanderboegh was furious at its outrageous message: "We, the Imperial Federal Bureaucracy, have determined what is best for you and you will get it regardless of whether you want it or not. You will be FORCED to play or pay in our wonderful new system of good intentions."
He urged "all modern Sons of Liberty" to "send a message that Pelosi and her party cannot fail to hear, break their windows. Break them NOW. Break them and run to break again. Break them under cover of night. Break them in broad daylight. Break them and await arrest in willful, principled civil disobedience .... But BREAK THEM."
Evidently it never occurred to him that, dependent on his Social Security disability payments, he was living off government aid. As is all too common, he knew in his case he had earned the money, rather than it being the kind of handout given the parasitic welfare class bred by liberals.
Over decades the social safety net has been painstakingly built. But now too often its successes are taken for granted, and its failures exaggerated.
It will prove far easier and quicker for Trump and his team to destroy, ironically cheered on in the process by many who, though dependent on it, think they are somehow exempt. Once dismantled, eventually it will be rebuilt, because it is not a communist intrusion or bleeding heart liberal wet dream, but necessary to society's healthy functioning.
Once torn down, however, think of how much more expensive and difficult it will be to rebuild.