Conservatives and the Culture of Resistance
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Remember the leftist protest group “Not in Our Name” active during the Bush administration? They believed that the United States over reacted to 9/11 that resulted in the murder of 3000 Americans, by going to war inAfghanistan. ”Not in Our Name” also opposed the war inIraq. In fact they opposed all war. They also protested the arrest of suspected terrorists, the Patriot Act, wire-taps, you know the whole ‘War on Terror’ thing.
The protestors of “Not in Our Name” believed that President Bush was not speaking for them when he took actions that they did not approve. According to their website they wanted to create a ‘culture of resistance.’ “Not in Our Name”, along with other leftist protest groups were very successful in demonizing President Bush and the war effort both inAfghanistanandIraq. Barack Obama was elected largely as an anti-war President. “Not in Our Name” disbanded in 2008. On their website they encourage their followers to join similar groups like “Code Pink” and “United for Peace and Justice.” Whether they will re-emerge to protest the widening war inAfghanistanwill be an interesting family food fight for the left.
That phase “Not in our Name” now makes sense to me after months of disastrous foreign policy and domestic actions by the Obama administration. They made me angry enough to admit the Left’s concept was correct. Conservatives need to develop a “culture of resistance.”
My anger began with theCairospeech when the President equated the slaughter of six million Jews in the Holocaust with the alleged daily humiliations of Palestinians. Then came the ‘World Apology Tour’. The President apologized for the past sins ofAmerica’s ‘arrogance’ all over the world. It was embarrassing. But this cringe producing rhetoric is the basic leftist ‘blameAmerica” mantra. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is apologizing too. The Left really believes that any foreign policy issue we are facing can be traced back to some reprehensible act of the United States that was committed prior to Obama’s transformative election! I wanted to shout “you don’t speak for me”
On his trip toRussiathe President should have pressedRussiaon their aggression inGeorgia, nuclear proliferation inIranandNorth Koreaand missile defense in a dangerous world. Instead the President wanted to offer concessions in order to cut back on Russian nuclear weapons which are no threat to us.
But it got worse.Iranerupted in protests against their own government over a rigged election. The brave people in the streets ofTehranwere being beaten and killed. What was the President’s emotionless response? “That’s not how a government should interact with its people” Would any American say that after they stared at bloody pictures fromIrantransmitted by cell phone or Twitter. It took a lot of complaining for the White House to finally use the words “shocked and appalled” to describe it.Americahas always been a beacon of hope to oppressed people in the world because it stood for democracy and personal freedom. Ronald Reagan was not afraid to call the Soviets an “Evil Empire’ at a time when they had nuclear weapons pointed at us. What has happened to our moral compass? In the Honduran crisis, the administration sided with the Castro brothers and Hugo Chavez and against the constitution ofHonduras. Since when do we support the efforts of a leader to extend his term in office outside the law. Do you think Obama would have supported a right wing South American President if he wanted to extend his term? After all of that I understood why “Not in Our Name” was formed.
Americans voted for “change we can believe in” not the dismantling of the capitalist system in favor of a state run economy. Many independents and Republicans said in justifying their support for Obama in the belief that he was a pragmatist not an ideologue. He would use the smartest people to come up with the best solutions to the problems facing us. Those of us who said he was a leftist radical were ridiculed. But actions speak louder than words.
All the legislative and administrative actions on the domestic front are geared to consolidating the power of the state. Obama has appointed 34 separate Czars of everything who usurp the powers of the Cabinet Secretaries and Congress and report to the White House. It is a parallel government. The President has pushed the stimulus package, cap and trade, health care through so fast that no one can read the bills. All of these policies have been tried inEurope. Their governments are moving away from them.
The recent push back from Democrats on health care has created panic in the administration. The public is waking up to what government health-care rationing would mean and what it would cost. Conservative Democrats have to go back to their districts and explain their votes. The Tea Party movement has decided to take on health care as an issue. I am sure they can come up with some creative signs like “Don’t let Grandma die, we still love her!”
Actions by the President make me respond to the phrase “Not in Our Name” also regard something as basis as our religious heritage. When the President spoke atGeorgetownUniversity, the White House requested that the initials IHS, a symbol for Jesus, and the cross above the GU seal be covered during his speech.GeorgetownUniversitywas founded by the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. Its Catholic faith is a vital part of its history and identity. By accepting the invitation, the President, a Christian, should have shown respect for its heritage and the place of religion in our country. Does this mean that if the President speaks at my graduate school-Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he will request that the Star of David or the Ten Commandments be covered? Has the White House forgotten that ‘endowed by our Creator” is in the Declaration of Independence?
All this has made me conclude that the Left had the right idea about protest. They have always been better at it than our side. It’s a group thing. Conservatives prize individualism. So it is against our nature to do this. But we can learn from their success.
The Left learned organizing in the 60’s when they protested against the Vietnam War. They were always on the side of resisting the establishment which included our parents. I remember a party atBostonUniversityin the sixties. I was dressed in my coordinated skirt, sweater and matching flats. The other students were not as well dressed. But the grungy guy I was with was cute. We sat together as a few of his friends agreed that the “revolution” was coming soon. As I sipped beer I didn’t like, I was straining to understand. I thought to myself “what revolution are they talking about?”
In the 60’s college kids were protesting the establishment- the war machine, government, parental authority, the constraints of the culture-remember free love and drugs. They wanted the breakdown of existing authority which was deemed to be evil, to create this free utopia where they could do anything they wanted.
The real Left, the older radicals, knew the truth. The new order had to be authoritarian to put in place a socialist form of government. The college kids didn’t get that part. Socialism has to be authoritarian to be effective. The power structure has to control the means of production and services. It is always an elite group at the top that makes the decisions.
The Left is still expecting the “revolution”. But now they control of the government. They are making the revolution happen from the inside. The radicals that were the counter-culture are now the establishment. Therefore conservatives must create a “culture of resistance” and become the counter-culture. We must resist the authoritarian system. We must call for “freedom”. We must demand choice in health care, freedom from taxes that fund programs we don’t agree with and freedom to celebrate the religious heritage of our country. We must also say loudly “you don’t speak for me” when the President does not put the national interests of theUnited Statesfirst!
Our “culture of resistance” must be an aggressive constant thorn in the side of the new radical establishment. Let’s see how the Left likes being on the other side of the barricades!