Response to a Conservative
This blog post is a response to a young conservative who has recently written a column lambasting Democrats and their record on supporting minorities, human rights, and economic assistance to the poor. She asserts that Republicans, and not Democrats, have always and continually been the true defenders of human rights and freedom. Moreover, she goes on to argue that in pursuing policies as stated above, Democrats have engineered a de facto slavery among those who their policies are aimed at helping (this is all done with a nice little picture of handcuffs).
Democrats do not criticize Republicans for their stance on minorities lightly, it is done so with great seriousness. The reason for this is simple: Republicans continually display a stunning lack of both empathy and concern for the conditions of minorities. During election cycles, both Hispanics and African Americans are paraded around as being the heart and soul of the Republican Party, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have both related their stories to conservatism. What happens when it comes time to govern? The interests of minorities are completely forgotten. Simply put, minorities are tokens and props used to convey the image that Republicans care. Well, guess what? They don’t.
How do we know they don’t care? The 2012 election returns are a very good place to start. If, as Elissa says, Republicans do care about minorities, they would have done better than losing Latinos to Obama by a sweeping margin of over 50 points. Republicans oppose immigrant reform, they oppose the DREAM Act, they oppose social safety nets, they oppose SNAP programs, and they oppose every other attempt by government to improve the standard of living of all Americans.
The most laughable point in this entire column is the notion that Republicans have been the true defenders of freedom throughout history. This is simply not true. She cites the founders, President Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan as heroes in the human rights movement. I hate to burst her bubble, but the founders were radical leftists, liberals who believed in such absurd (at the time) ideas as equality and fundamental rights to freedom. In the 1700s this wasn’t a conservative idea; it was a radical left one. Moreover, President Lincoln may have been a Republican, but he was a progressive. From fighting slavery to women’s rights and to civil rights, the battles for freedom have been waged by those on the LEFT, by progressives, not Republicans. Finally, her notion that President Reagan supported human rights should be considered a joke by anyone with a mind. Both President Reagan (and Margaret Thatcher, since she started this post by quoting her) supported the murderous regime of Augusto Pinochet in Chile (which resulted in the deaths of over 100,000) as well as the tyrannical dictator in El Salvador. Human Rights Watch frequently said President Reagan uses human rights as a language of convenience rather than conviction, because he does not stand on the notion that human rights should be supported, he uses it to create the illusion that he does.
Freedom must mean more than the symbolic idea that you can earn more money. The more we praise capitalism and allow markets to control our lives, the more we become enslaved to them. This is why, in the entire history of the world, nothing has enslaved and harmed more people than the free market. Its greatest product is the United States, the most unequal advanced country on the planet. Her definition of freedom is so one-sided and simple. If freedom only means you can earn more money, then our founders’ idea of freedom is lost forever. Instead, freedom must mean ensuring that everyone lives a dignified life and EVERYONE has the ability to pursue their own interests. Capitalism doesn’t allow this; it allows the funneling of wealth and opportunity straight to the top. In light of this reality, Democrats have pursued policies to address this and assist those who are affected most by it: minorities. They don’t do this to buy votes or call de facto racism on opponents. They do it because they, unlike their heartless counterparts on the right, care about more than themselves and recognize that unless we look out for everyone, NO one is really free.
The post, by Elissa Roberson, is linked below: