Progressive Republican? Is there such a thing?
It is becoming painfully clear that the Republican Party is a lot like the plate tectonics that progress ever-so-slowly under our feet. Their base, the nucleus of their central mass is as stubborn as a 200 million ton piece of crust. As most of us well understand, it takes a persistent, overwhelming force to move that much volume of fear, stupidity and intolerance. That is where progress factors in.
See, most people view progress as an abstract, a social construct if you will. I however take a different approach to the idea of progress. For me, progress isn’t a concept we developed to quantify our forward thinking, it’s a fundamental element of the human condition. To put it another way, progress is to humans as gravity is to the earth. It is part of our fundamental composition, like the blood in our veins or the hair on our heads. We are drawn to it without being told that we should be; which brings me back to our right-leaning brethren.
If you take a quick glimpse at the recent history of the conservative party in this country, you’ll see the markings of an ever-so-slowly glacier-like slide towards contemporary thinking. It wasn’t all that long ago that the “progressive” party left the right behind with the signing of Executive Order 9981 by Harry Truman back in 1948(1). Once Truman desegregated the military, the right began to catch on.
Just look no further than the Little Rock Nine, which were successfully integrated into Little Rock Central High School in 1957(2), only nine years after progressives lead the way. Now granted, the desegregation was at gun point but let’s not get caught up in the details. How about the Presidential race of 2012, it appears that conservatives are now open to the idea of reform after losing by a few million votes, in fact I heard Rush Limbaugh use the term “militant blacks” only twice a few weeks ago. But race is only one example of the slow creep towards new ideas for the republicans.
Take global warming for instance (I’m sorry conservatives, I meant climate change). The left has only been warming of the impending climate crisis for about 36 years, since Stephen Schneider first proposed the idea back in 1976(3). Now there has been a lot of debate over the reality of said climate change and it only took conservatives three decades, increasingly unstable weather patterns, the hottest summer on record, severe droughts and an out of season storm twice the size of Texas which obliterated the coast lines of nine states to begin entertaining the idea that humans are influencing climate…now that is progress.
As with all elements of the human condition, it seems some of us are more adept to the forces that drive us than others. But fear not progressives, somewhere buried under all that tonnage is the tiny whisper of progress inching conservatives’ ever-closer to relevance. Anyhow, you wouldn’t want to rush the conservatives or as with the tectonic plates they mirror so finely, any brunt shove could result in the fracturing of the foundations they stand on and their party may collapse…we wouldn’t want that now would we.
(1) “Executive Order 9981”. Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Retrieved Febuary 8th, 2013
(2) “The Little Rock Nine” http://www.crmvet.org. Retrieved Febuary 8th, 2013
(3) “History of the greenhouse effect and global warming” http://www.lenntech.com. Retrieved Febuary 8th, 2013