Friday, November 05, 2004

Divide and Conquer

The rhetoric on both sides of the aisle has been very isolationist since Kerry conceded. The quote in my post yesterday about “the will of the people” is part of the official response, but it's showing up everywhere. I'm getting loads of emails from progressives advocating a re-alignment of North America, creating the United States of Canada and Jesusland, with Mexico to the south.

The worst thing we ever did was winning the civil war

Salon had an article, picking up on Harper's take on the subject, about the procedure involved in immigrating to Canada. I confess that the thought crossed my mind too.

On the other side, conservatives are fighting over whether it's still worth attracting moderates to their cause. In races like the North Carolina 11th, Kansas 3rd, and the Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Colorado Senate, they are trying to campaign on the principle that if they can just consolidate the very conservative base, they don't need moderates at all.

The Times has a memo from Richard Viguerie, saying :

Make no mistake - conservative Christians and 'values voters' won this election for George W. Bush and Republicans in Congress. It's crucial that the Republican leadership not forget this - as much as some will try.

By this argument, the 49% of the country that voted against the president, and the 53% who think the country is going the wrong direction, deserve nothing.

I think it's obvious that both sides are wrong. Chris, at MyDD, has shown that Democrats did relatively better in a number of states than they have before, and that says good things about the future. People under 30, more of whom voted this year than in many years, are comfortable with gay marriage, and don't give a shit about the issues that Republicans think they won on.

Being progressive means believing in progress. We favor civil unions, or even gay marriage. We want health care for every citizen. We want workers' rights to be respected. We want good public schools. We want fair trade policies. In a different era, we fought against slavery, and for a weekend. These are ideas that were all ahead of their times. People fought to make Kansas a free state, and then fought to keep the union together, because they believed in progress. We believe in America. We believe in an America that moves forward, that achieves great things, and we are going to make that happen. It won't happen with a United States of Canada starving Jesusland of our productivity. It'll happen through a fight.

This isn't a new fight. The details are different now than they were 100 years ago. The theological dominionism (Christian Reconstruction) that motivates many of the architects of the modern conservative movement, has only been formalized since the 1970s. But this is the same fight that has been waged in this country since we struggled to write the Articles of Confederation, and replaced them with our Constitution. In a particularly violent era of that battle, Abraham Lincoln said:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal”

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure.

That union has endured, and it will continue to do so. We can't give up the fight. We have to win. And we will.