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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Conservatism Is Officially Dead - R.I.P.

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 09/02/17 12:04

by Dave Mindeman

Let's make the declaration. Conservatism is officially dead. We no longer have to deal with the flag waving...the references to Constitutional governance... the ideas of smaller government...the caps on spending.

All of it..every last piece...has died.

Part of the demise is Donald Trump. The Republican capitulation to a government devoid of integrity is one thing. But conservatism lost its way long before that. It sold out to Christian conservatives. It winked and nodded to the alt-right. It acquiesced to foreign policy Neo-Cons. It all took its toll.

Let's look back at the 11 Reagan Principles of Conservatism that came from a book by Paul Kengor in 2014 - as outlined in the American Spectator.

1. Freedom - A loosely defined word. It's definition has been usurped by flag waving nationalism. The Tea Party. And extreme libertarianism. Freedom is important except when it comes to gays...to immigrants...to choice.

2. Faith - Faith has been extorted into a Christian only totalitarianism. Faith is a moral principle; but outside of the Christian faith - morals do not exist. The Family values of the Reagan area are now Trump values today. They are NOT the same thing.

3. Family - Conservatism trusted the family, but then began to use its own definitions. Single parent families were welfare baggage. Gay families are considered an abomination. Only anti-choice advocates need apply.

4. Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life - The pro-lifers of the Reagan area have morphed into Trump lemmings. And the ALEC organization has used abortion legislation to punish rather than promote. Human life is sacred except when it comes to war and capital punishment. And quality of life is degraded by poverty and discriminatory legal status.

5. American Exceptionalism - This was a Reagan hallmark. America would prevail in all things, because America was an exceptional, moral world power. But in the era of Trump, America is not exceptional. It is reviled and in chaos. The words of America are not trusted and are even viewed with suspicion.

6. The Founders Wisdom and Vision - The principles of the Constitution would always be upheld in conservative ideas. But once again, it is Trump that stretches the credulity of that idea. The Constitutional framers considered America a welcoming country - we no longer are. The flawed, slave owning founders still believed in equality (in a somewhat limited sense) - but even that limited equality has been eroded by Trump ideas on race and sexual orientation. And the founders believed in majority rule - and even that has been manipulated by gerry mandering and Citizens United.

7. Lower Taxes - Even Reagan's firm belief in lowering taxes was qualified by balancing budgets. Conservatism know longer recognizes the balanced budget idea. Current absurdity talks of massive tax cuts in the face of a boondoggle border wall and the need of South Texas. You cannot balance a budget by massively reducing revenue and increasing spending.

8. Limited Government - This is still the rally point for conservatism; but just cancelling regulations is not an answer to anything if people are poisoned and the air quality is compromised. Is government limited under Trump? Is he being challenged on conservative principles? And how would Reagan react to a President that adds to his personal fortune via government payments to his company? Would Reagan build a stupid wall? Would Reagan have staff and advisers that use their position for personal gain? A President who believes that only his opinion matters is not going to promote limited government.

9. Peace Through Strength - Trump tells us that he follows this principle, but strength is not a matter of building up the military. You can spend the money to do that without question. But if our diplomacy is compromised because the President is not respected and has lowered our standing in the world - then our strength has been weakened as well. No amount of military hardware can make up for that.

10. Anti-Communism - Even though communism as a method of control in a country has been defeated. Its totalitarian remnants still remain. Can you imagine Reagan standing by while Trump cozies up to Putin? Can a true conservative even fathom that?

11. Belief in the Individual - Reagan didn't believe that he alone can fix anything. He believed in each individual American controlling or working to control his or her own destiny. Donald Trump does not believe in the destiny of every individual in American. He only believes in those who agree with him. Only he can fix it. Only he and his ideas can prevail. Everything else is "fake news".

Conservatism is dead. Those principles are dead. No matter how many times they are verbalized - Trump has destroyed all of it.

And if true conservatives still really believed in those principles themselves then you would think they would fight for them. That they would challenge what the Republican Party has become. That they would never capitulate to such an obviously flawed and unprincipled President.

Conservatism is no longer even on life support. It is dead.

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Regarding DACA

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 09/02/17 00:11

by Dave Mindeman

This Labor Day weekend, the big brain of Donald Trump is trying to contemplate DACA. He says it is hard for him.

The initials in DACA stand for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This is not an amnesty. It does not remove them from their current status. But it does recognize a very important truth. They had no intent to commit an illegal act. They are no more guilty of criminality than you would be if bank robbers hijacked your car and forced you to help them escape.

It was their parents that brought them into this country. What child has the ability to choose not to follow? What child can have the conscious thought that their parents are causing them to commit an illegal act?

The DACA decision is the compassionate alternative. DACA recognizes the special circustances. DACA makes perfect sense.

Yet, Donald Trump has leaned toward the tough decision to uproot people who have known no other country since childhood. They have acclimated to this country completely because they consider it THEIR country. They really are as American as any of us.

Yet, they are now in jeopardy. Facing the potential of being deported out of this country to a place they have never really known.

And what is incredible on its face is that DACA people are, in many ways, the best of US. They are valedictorians, college grads, entrepeneurs, and hard working, intelligent members of this society.

The DACA order that Obama signed had a clear provision:

When the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was first announced, it was clear that individuals would have to meet some sort of education requirement in order to obtain the program's many benefits, including a two-year renewable reprieve from deportation, work authorization, a social security number, and--in nearly every state--the chance to apply for a driver's license.

They have met that obligation and exceeded it in many, many instances. They kept their part of the bargain and now, just because we have a President who thinks deportation is a virtue, they stand in legal jeopardy during this weekend. Their lives could be turned completely upside down with one of those Trump signing ceremonies and his usual grotesque display of the document to the press.

Frankly, DACA never went far enough. This particular group of immigrants should have been granted legal status long ago. Their younger siblings are citizens. Many relatives are citizens. They should be as well.

President Obama could not grant them citizenship. Only the cowards in Congress could do that. But they have been cowering in the corners of Congress for decades - unable to act and unable to find a method of solving a broken and unfair immigration system.

If Trump rescinds DACA it will join the ranks of unpardonable actions which this President is indeed guilty of and morally wrong about.

Think long and hard about this, fake President. Maybe some part of that "big brain" of yours has the capability of honest compassion.
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