As the BP oil spill unfolds in the Gulf and in our living rooms through our television screens, the coverage has focused on two major problems that it has created. One is the flat-out brutal images of oil soaked pelicans; the other is the crisis of the Gulf fishermen who have been forced out of work. One thing is clear, if you had to choose between being a pelican or a fish your choice is an easy one. At the same time everyone is rightfully heartbroken about the pelicans, we can’t wait for the fishermen to get back in the water and cast their nets to catch and kill as many fish as possible. While I am not by any stretch a PETA guy and I grant the fact that this is largely because we don’t eat pelicans, the point it makes is that we constantly draw large subliminal differences between things. In this case, though both are “wildlife,” we subconsciously dismiss the plight of the fish while granting a level of sympathy to the pelicans that compels some of us to set about capturing them and hand rubbing them with Dawn dish detergent. The same point could be made by asking the questions: Why do we eat turkeys and chickens but not pelicans; why cows and not horses? Why are mice disgusting but gerbils and hamsters cute? In large part the answer is: that’s just the way it is.
I suppose you might be asking yourself a question right about nowâ€”how does this relate to politics? While I’m quite certain that indeed everything relates to politics, the specific answer is the power of the mentally presumed. The United States is now and has always been a relatively conservative country. Our Constitution, laws, and values, as well as every poll ever taken on the subject, prove this. The problem for Liberals is that well . . . they are not. This presents a huge political task for them. In order to get the Country they envision, Liberals have to change a large number of long entrenched status quos, and over time they have developed a strategy and the tools to potentially get the job done.
In politics success in the long-view can be defined as a fight for the subconscious. Winning this fight takes time and, what I consider to be Liberal’s most effective tool, patience. Sacrificing in the short term for future benefit is counter to human nature, but seems to be an ability they have developed in spades. Having entered into every professional sphere for over 50 years, they have been undertaking the unscrupulous duty of chipping away at religion, the courts, the military, our school system, and our moral standards. They have a big task, big ideas, and an even bigger amount of gall in the way that they have gone about this business.
Your message entering the mainstream is not just the Holy Grail for marketers, but for obvious reasons, is also priceless if you happen to be a political movement attempting to transform a society. It is for this reason that the vast majority of lawyers, teachers, and reporters lean hard to the left. They have correctly determined that this is the surest way to achieve the political equivalent of a tissue being referred to as a Kleenex, a bandage being called a Band-Aid, or gelatin being Jell-O. In advertising lingo, achieving this is called an eponym; in politics I guess you would just call it “shrewd”â€”disingenuous but shrewd.
There is no need to win the legislative argument if you can turn a carefully crafted and well directed lawsuit into law. There is no need to win the moral argument on social issues such as gay marriage if you can impart it as the norm to a generation in Sex-Ed classes starting at the age of seven. There is no need to win the philosophical argument of the role on government if you can marginalize the Constitution in a college lecture hall and then have the issues pitched to the people by the media as questions of “empathy.” This level of subversion and the distance it creates from the substantive political debates that we should be having, debates that make this Country better, is infuriating and flat out scary.
Interestingly, this battle for the subconscious is one that Liberals have been fighting with no active resistance, and the reason for this is simple. The status quo has been held and assumed by conservative leanings for years. Past generations of Democrats, while certainly having political differences with Republicans, were at least in part buoyed by similar values and constraints as their political opposition. Not since 1933 has the Right been opposed by such a widespread and transformative-minded group as today’s Liberal Democratic leadership. Republicans have in essence been playing with the lead, and the scoreboard is starting to reflect it. Though alarming the question that this begs for some is, might it be time for the Conservative movement to counter by beginning to engage in these types of fronts?
For my part the answer is no. While I think it is important to be aware that this effort is afoot, publicly expose it and defend traditional realities and values, there is far too much relativism being employed by both political parties as it is. Any actions based on this are indefensible, as what is at stake is the moral high ground. Joining Progressive Liberals by wading into the oily waters of politically-motivated education, biased journalism, and judicial activism is not only unnatural but is dirty, dirty business. Come to think of itâ€”it’s about as dirty as an oil-soaked pelican.