Willing Stooges: How the Far Left Has Openly Adopted Republican Anti-Government Sentiment
Current Republican ideology is based entirely on the idea of big government.
It is this big government that is the cause of all our problems because a government that is too big will inevitably overreach and infringe upon our freedoms. We have seen this concern time and time again, most recently with Republican objection to the Affordable Care Act. After the law was enacted in 2010, Republicans preceded to express concern that not only would the law cause runaway spending and kill jobs but that the law itself would go so far as to have death panels that would literally decide the fate of people in need of healthcare. The belief that the ACA would be a "government takeover" of healthcare remained a powerful narrative that played a large part in the astroturf-backed Tea Party Movement, started by Charles and David Koch. The Koch brothers, with their long history of anti-government beliefs, were more than willing to clandestinely coax a new generation of Republicans to echo those same beliefs.
These beliefs are actually nothing new. In fact, they follow a historical trend that the Republican Party has followed over the past 80 years. The root of their modern disdain for big government comes from the Great Depression and the actions of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Like President Barack Obama, FDR was given both a veto-proof Senate and a democratic majority in the House to enact his progressive agenda. And it was this agenda that truly represented the good that big government could accomplish. Though FDR's actions didn't end the Great Depression (we have America's entry into World War II to thank for that), there can be no doubt that his actions helped reverse course and get America back on a path that was trending in the right direction. The best way he saw fit to do this was to create new agencies and programs that would benefit everyday Americans.
FDR's actions during the implementation of his New Deal were a progressive dream. Finally, the federal government could address societal ills that had previously been left unattended by the states and local governments and FDR saw and seized this opportunity. His "alphabet soup" of new federal bureaus and regulatory agencies provided a way to address concerns of unemployment, working conditions, job creation, home construction, financial security, and refinancing among other things. These agencies helped everyday Americans in ways that no previous government programs had ever done before. Although many of the agencies FDR created faded over time, several have endured to this day including the Social Security Board (SSB), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Tennessee Valley Association (TVA). These agencies continue to make life better for everyday Americans.
For Republicans, that was a problem.
Because if you have a major political party that shows how government can be used for good, then the question becomes why government isn't always being used for good. And, more specifically, why previous Republican administrations hadn't helped the people en masse as Democrats had just done. Moving forward, Republicans needed to find a way that addressed this question. How could they show that our government actually wasn't acting on behalf of the best interest of the people without seeming unpatriotic? They couldn't go out and say that government shouldn't help people. What they needed was a way to somehow prevent Democrats from using goverment to help the people.
And so the myth of big government was born.
From that point on, Republicans made an overt, conscientious choice to paint every meaningful decision Democratic administrations made to enact wide-scale social change as government overreach. Not only that, but they masked this choice under the guise of defending state's rights. Starting under the administration of Harry Truman, Republicans fought against his "Fair Deal" that included both aid-to-education measures and a national health initiative. These were both successfully blocked by the Republican-controlled Congress. In 1965, Republicans opposed the creation of Medicare during President Lyndon Johnson's administration under the fear that it would be "socialized medicine." Fast forward nearly thirty years to 1993 where Bill Clinton would attempt to address America's failing health system once again in a health care reform bill that would eventually be defeated, in large part due to a campaign run by the Health Insurance Association of America which willingly took the Republican concern of big government overreach to millions of home viewers. In less than fifty years since the death of FDR, Republicans had successfully convinced Americans that a goverment trying to help its people was one that was overstepping its boundaries.
And it is this very Republican idea that government cannot be effective that has now percolated into the mindset of America's far left.
Because like Republicans, the far left now honestly refuses to see how government can be a force of good in people's lives. They have willingly adopted this mindset because they don't see progress being made at what they deem to be an acceptable pace. They don't understand why we can't wake up to a country with universal health care, a national $15 minimum wage, and free higher education. Rather than learn about our country's history and having an understanding of its march toward slow, gradual, progressive change, the far left has instead chosen a scorched-earth approach that denigrates and degrades anyone whom they identify as an enemy of progress. Rather than working on compromise and finding common ground with what has become a powerful Obama coalition, the far left has become perfectly happy to play with matches and go after those who don't meet their criteria for what a progressive should be.
And the far left has taken up language that is remarkably similar to that of mainstream Republicans. Rather than express faux outrage over government overreach, the far left has expressed faux outrage over a "rigged system" they feel is designed to discourage any potential insurgent candidate. They consider any candidate or organization that doesn't meet their progressive purity test to be a member of the "establishment." Current members of this dreaded "establishment" include not-very-progressive-folks like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Lewis, Dolores Huerta, and now Tom Perez. It doesn't matter that these individuals are lifelong champions of civil rights and social justice. At one point in time they have wronged the far left and because of that, they are obviously part of the nefarious "establishment" which does everything in its power to subvert the will of the people.
And it is this notion of the "establishment" that goes hand-in-hand with the Republican notion of big government. Because essentially what the far left is saying is that anyone who is part of government won't be working on your behalf. John Lewis, lifelong civil rights advocate, has been part of government for decades and because of that, he can no longer be seen as an advocate. Hillary Clinton, lifelong champion for children and families, has been corrupted by her time in government and because of that, would have been an ineffective president. Tom Perez, civil rights attorney and Republican enemy, has been corrupted by his one term in government and because of that, will be an ineffective chair of the Democratic National Committee. No matter what someone's background actually is, if they anger the far left then they're automatically part of the insidious "establishment."
Because like Republicans, the far left doesn't want to actually see America succeed. For all the far left's talk of "political revolution" they have done nothing to enact any sort of political agenda. Their chosen candidate, lifelong career politician Bernie Sanders, lost the Democratic nomination by nearly 1,000 delegates. Several candidates endorsed by Sanders lost in November, including Sue Minter who was the Democratic candidate for governor running in Sanders' own backyard of Vermont. Through their attacks on everyone they have deemed the "establishment", the far left has alienated the majority of the Obama coalition, a necessary alliance for any progressive candidate hoping to attain either a statewide or national office. If the far left took time to actually look around, they would realize that somebody like Tom Perez, a second-generation immigrant and civil rights attorney, would be exactly the kind of person who can help regenerate state and local DNC chapters and help organize and mobilize voters.
So from now on, when you hear the term "establishment" being used by the far left, realize what you're hearing. You are hearing a Republican-inspired smear, designed to delegitimize Democratic candidates and organizations that are working to improve the lives of the American people. And remember too, that the far left is more than happy to use this smear to anyone who has the audacity to disagree with them. Each time they use it, they are playing right into the Republican idea that government, and more specifically those in government, cannot help everyday citizens unless of course that person is lifelong politician, Bernie Sanders. And since Bernie Sanders has stated that he has never been a liberal Democrat, what the far left is actually saying is that Democrats in government aren't looking out for the people and thus should be removed from office.
Sounds an awful lot like a Republican talking point if you ask me.
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