I realize often think about things differently than others. What seems obvious to me doesn’t seem obvious to so many people I might agree with on various issues.
Many liberals fear the Republicans which I find odd because Republicans are weaker right now than they’ve been in my entire life. Many liberals fear Ron Paul, but what they don’t understand is that most Republicans and conservatives in general fear Ron Paul even more. It is people like Ron Paul who are forcing the Republican party to run toward the center, Romney being the most centrist GOP presidential candidate in a long long time. For a half century, Democrats have run toward the center as Republicans ran to the extremes. But now the complete opposite is starting to happen (or that is what I sense, the future will prove me right or wrong).
Why can’t the average liberal see this as the first real opportunity for reform they’ve had in decades? This is the new liberal moment. We should take advantage of it while we can, rather than hold to the center out of fear. What I fear is that a centrist Democratic party will continue to disempower the liberal movement from making real change and instead help to reinforce the status quo alliance between neoliberals and neoconservatives, between big business and big government.
It seems to me that all of the older generations, maybe including GenX as well, are afraid of any and all change at this point. The irony is that by resisting change the negative changes already made become even more difficult to reverse. It seems the only hope we have left in this country is from the younger generation, Millennials, who are the most liberal generation in American history. All the older generations are too afraid to fully challenge the status quo, whether of partisan politics or of corrupt capitalism.
I’m hoping that there will be enough left-leaning GenXers, especially the youngest GenXers, to form an alliance with Millennnials to force change. 2012 will be the first year Millennials will be eligible for running for congress and so this will be the first opportunity to dislodge the divisive Boomer majority since they took power a decade ago. This is an opportunity to be seized if people can just see it and take the chance of seeking real reform of the kind not seen since the Great Depresssion.
There is a class war going on. The demographics most affected by the class war, the young and minorities, are also the demographics most strongly pushing for left-leaning reform. The Tea Party represents the older established demographic that grew up in a prosperous white America during a time when economic inequality was low, economic mobility was high, college and housing was cheap, jobs were high-paying with good benefits, and opportunities were plentiful. This older demographic just wants to cling to the few programs left that benefit themselves while wanting to deny anything that will help anyone else. To put it simply, they are reacting out of fear and so creating a politics of fear where everyone loses.
So, this class war is ultimately a generational and race war. The fastest growing demographics are the young and minorities.
This conflict is even seen within my own generation, GenX. Older GenXers grew up in Reagan’s America when politics and society was dominated by the GOP’s Southern Strategy and anti-communist Cold War rhetoric. Younger GenXers grew up in Clinton’s America during a time when the Cold War had ended, when immigration was at its highest in a century, and when Democrats advocated moderation and the right-wing was offering ugly culture wars and militant violence (terrorist bombings, abortion doctor shootings, etc). It was in the middle of GenX that America hit a turning point.
Young GenXers like me are hardly spring chickens. The very youngest of GenXers are in their thirties while the oldest GenXers are moving toward middle age. Still, the divide is clear in that younger GenXers seem to have more support of such things as the Occupy movement while older GenXers either support the Democratic Party status quo (Obama being on the oldest edge of GenX) or support the Tea Party partisans (Beck and Palin also being first wave GenXers). It’s the older GenXers who are goading the already divisive Boomer majority.
I’m curious how this will play out. From here on in, Boomers will be losing power and they won’t go out easily. Nonetheless, the stupidest and ugliest of older GenXers (such as Beck and Palin) have already lost their popular support which leaves room for younger GenXers to take their place. I’ll be on the lookout for these younger GenXers who will be able to speak to the Millennials who desire real change. It is important to keep in mind that Millennials are the only generation, according to recent data, that has more positive views of socialism than capitalism.
“A Pew Research Center poll in December found that only 50 percent of Americans reacted positively to the term “capitalism,” while 40 percent reacted negatively. Among Americans ages 18 to 29, more had a negative view of capitalism than a positive view, the survey found. Those young Americans actually viewed socialism more positively than capitalism. In other words, America’s grasping capitalists are turning young Americans into socialists.
“The Financial Times recently published a series about “capitalism in crisis.” It noted that the Edelman Trust Barometer, a survey, found that only 46 percent of Americans had confidence in business to do the right thing (and only 25 percent trusted banks).”
“As a result, in the public’s evaluations of divisions within American society, conflicts between rich and poor now rank ahead of three other potential sources of group tension—between immigrants and the native born; between blacks and whites; and between young and old. Back in 2009, more survey respondents said there were strong conflicts between immigrants and the native born than said the same about the rich and the poor.
“Virtually all major demographic groups now perceive significantly more class conflict than two years ago. However, the survey found that younger adults, women, Democrats and African Americans are somewhat more likely than older people, men, Republicans, whites or Hispanics to say there are strong disagreements between rich and poor.
“While blacks are still more likely than whites see serious class conflicts, the share of whites who hold this view has increased by 22 percentage points, to 65%, since 2009. At the same time, the proportion of blacks (74%) and Hispanics (61%) sharing this judgment has grown by single digits (8 and 6 points, respectively).”