I never though I would see the day when many conservative, red-hat wearing Americans, would so quickly do an about-face on so many of the core beliefs of modern conservatism– especially on socialism and some progressive ideas.
From long insisting that the free market is designed to self-correct without interference, talk of fiscal conservatism and avoiding deficits, distain for “big government” or looking to government to solve our problems, and an absolute disgust for “government handouts,” those wearing red hats in America are singing a different tune these days… even if they haven’t caught on to the song they’re singing yet.
Who would have thought that during an election year which was expected to be spent by republicans flogging anything that smelled of socialism or big government, that we’d find them so enthusiastically embracing it… at the hands of Trump, no less?
Goodbye days of, “Trump is gonna stop those stupid socialist libs from getting power and ruining the country by handing money out to people.”
Hello unexpected era of, “OMG, thank you Trump. When does my check come??”
On one hand this turn of events is the opposite of what we expected to see this election cycle. On the other hand, the fact that so many people can instantly change their tune on socialist or progressive ideals (even if they can’t yet see they’re embracing the very thing they claim to hate) is not surprising at all. And there’s a really good reason for that:
“Socialism,” big-government solutions, safety nets, and financial handouts, feel a lot different when you’re the one desperately struggling and the check is made out to you.
I think the current situation demonstrates a profound truth: most American’s feelings on government handouts, especially those who find themselves red-hat-socialists this morning, are probably less of a matter of unwavering principle, and far more situational.
Core principles don’t change just because society and the times change– that’s what the far right always taught me. Were those in red hats truly opposed to big government handouts on the principle of it, or principally opposed to government stepping in to control more of the economy instead of letting capitalism regulate itself, that core conviction would not change.
And yet, functionally speaking, it did.
That tells us it’s not about principle– it’s about empathy. Mostly a lack thereof.
So for those of you on the right who have spent your days opposing big government, for those who talk of socialism being ‘godless,’ or who previously never missed an opportunity to express disgust when the poor and vulnerable got money or assistance from the government, let me tell you a little secret:
You know that anxiety that set in when you found out you didn’t have a job to go to?
Do you remember the heaviness in your stomach when you realized that running out and getting another job or replacing income wasn’t something that was so simple to do?
What about the moment when you realized you might not have enough money to hold it all together between now and a return to employment, and that if anything else unexpected came up, you’d be totally screwed?
Can you remember those trips to the grocery store when that silent angst started to turn into a growing feeling of nauseous panic, because you realized that you did not have the power to buy everything your family actually needed?
And do you remember how hard it was to totally lie to your kids and tell them that you had everything under control, and they had no need to worry because everything was going to be fine?
Yeah– those feelings. Those moments. I want you to think about them.
I want you to remember them.
And then I want you to know this:
That’s exactly how America’s poor, unemployed, disabled, and vulnerable feel EVERY SINGLE MONTH– even without a national crisis to make it all worse.
Socialism feels kinda different when you’re the one struggling and the check is made out to you, huh?