Who am I? I’m a non-theistic advocate of secular governance and societal well-being. And when I look around, a lot of my cohort are fighting the reactionary battle against incursions into freedoms we already have, rather than fighting to build a vision of what we should have.
When I look at those I consider my political opposition, I begrudgingly begin a slow clap in acknowledgment of their successes, achieved over the long haul. Whether it’s the School Voucher proponents, Republican Party, the Christian Right, or Political Islam, they all have a long, slow, generational strategy for achieving their aims. They keep their eyes on the prize, though through my eyes, I surmise my demise.
Mind you, I have to do a bit of forensic analysis to come to my conclusions, and while some would call this “conspiracy theory” I have to ask if anyone can come up with better explanations for what we see in the world.
Vouchers: With a toehold in Milwaukee in 1993, advocates for vouchers have quietly been pushing for 21 years, seeking that tipping point that will move them from 20 states in 2014, to the universal expectation that choice in US public schools is a right for all citizens.
Republicans: Vouchers are just one small branch of the long term Republican, or “neo-con,” agenda to defund all government. In the words of Americans for Prosperity leader, Grover Norquist, their goal is to make government so small you can drown it in the bathwater. Privatize everything (student loans, schools, electricity and water, Social Security), demonize “government” as a pejorative term associated with failure, slash funding until systems fail and then point at the failure while tsk, tsking that government just can’t do anything right. The grand strategy, perhaps unspoken is “We must make the phrase ‘good government program’ seem laughable.” They basically want this site to be unthinkable.
The Christian Right gets elected to school boards, leads textbook selection committees, and files law suits to push teaching of Creationism into public schools using the “Wedge Strategy.” They fund law schools, erects monuments in public spaces, argues for the continuation of or addition of religious monuments pushes for inclusion of “Under God” in the pledge and “In God We Trust” on paper money back in 1954-56, all with the goal of rewriting history (with the help of devoted historians like David Barton), to claim that “America is now and always has been a Christian Nation.” Each miniscule victory goes toward bootstrapping the next win via the precedents of the last one.
Political Islam: Re establishing a caliphate, and ruling all the world under Sharia law. It’s a goal… and willing to pursue that goal directly (terror, jihad, war) or over the long haul (emigration, followed by demands of respect and accommodation of their faith in the law, beyond mere equality or tolerance.) Demanding separate faith schools is already under way in Britain. Demanding segregated swimming from non-believers is happening there as well, and special Muslim women only swimming times are being requested in the US. If you cannot take over by the sword, swiftly, take over slowly by assimilation and attrition, as you demand that your “faith” is more important than your nations’ laws.
All of these groups clearly articulate their goal and have the strategy to achieve it. The political, secular left cannot cohere long enough to agree on, let alone articulate the long term goal. We have GOT to get it together, and find and articulate that “trigger” motivation or “belief” that will allow us to pursue the goals over the long term, the way our gentle opposition does so marvelously. What do we have that is like “individuality”, “faith,” or “choice in schools”? How can we return our eyes to the prize of social justice, equality, societal betterment?