American liberals in the 18th century led the political movement for independence from Britain. They were opposed by the conservative Loyalists.
American liberals in the 19th century led the political movement to end slavery. They were opposed by conservative Southern Democrats.
American liberals in the 20th century led the political movement to grant women the right to vote, and later they led the civil rights movement. Their success caused a mass defection of Southern Democrats to the Republican Party. Throughout our history, liberals have sought to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, and they have been opposed in every case by conservatives.
Over the course of the last century, the Republican Party evolved from the moderate party of Teddy Roosevelt into the ultra-conservative party of Ronald Reagan. That same movement put George Bush in the White House, and continues to dominate the Republican Party today. It accounts for the utterly Machiavellian behavior of modern Republicans.
The true nature of conservatism is intentionally obscured by conservatives — not by the rank and file, but by those at the top, who probably know better.
Enter Barack Obama. His election was not a rejection of conservatism, but rather a rejection of its fruits. Conservatism itself hides from us, disguised as its opposite.
Obama’s programs are bringing us back from the economic brink, but we remain on the political brink. As long as ultra-conservatives are running the Republican party, our democracy and our future will be in peril.
Russell F. Davis