As almost every politically aware American will tell you, the Republican party is in rather dire straits. They appear out of touch, out of date, and a whole host of other “outs” as well. There are many reasons for this, but I think that one of the biggest ones, or at least the one that is most likely to seal their fate and prevent them from returning is the growth of the new liberals.
Who or what do I mean by “the new liberals?” Why, just what it says: the newest additions to politics, the young.
I wasn’t around for past generations’ youth, so perhaps it seems this way only due to my skewed impression, but I think that on a very fundamental level my generation’s politics are different from past generations. We to a large extent take for granted that everyone is equal. It really doesn’t occur to many of my generation that it even could be otherwise. The inequality of the past is shocking and horrifying to us, but also bizarre. It doesn’t make sense to us in a way that, to older generations, it probably does. We can’t see why people ever thought that way, or how they could have. This is why, I think, the young so overwhelmingly support gay rights: because why wouldn’t we?
Today, those daughters of the revolution…often roll their eyes at their mothers’ generation for making “such a big deal” out of gender issues. They can afford to roll those eyes, of course, because of the dragonslaying their mothers and grandmothers did. -Dale McGowan at The Meming of Life
To most of my generation, equality doesn’t seem like a big deal. It just is, and how could it be any other way? Why make a big deal out of the obvious and unchangeable? Females are just as good as males; blacks are no worse than whites; gays are just like the rest of us. How could they not? They’re people, right? It never occurs to many of us to think otherwise. If you’re making such a big deal out of tiny perceived inequalities, it seems to many, you must be a little bit silly, because everyone knows females are just as good as males, so tiny little things probably aren’t real, right?
The same to a lesser extent goes for other parts of liberalism. My generation just assumes, for instance, that you should be able to speak freely. It being otherwise isn’t even considered. At the borders of freedom of expression, with things like Skokie, it’s stretched a little bit sure, because it’s not a well considered position, but more of us than you might think fall on the freedom side even in such cases. And the very fact that it’s often not a well considered position reinforces my point: many of my generation don’t even have to think about it to believe in such freedoms.
This is what killed, or at least sealed the fate, of the Republican party as we know it. They are not getting new voters. They are hemorraging voters in all age groups, certainly, but the flow of new voters is almost entirely to the Democrats. This is not through the often over-the-top activism seen in my generation. Quite the opposite; this is through the passive, automatic liberalism of much of my generation, where conservatism isn’t really even an option that one could consider because it’s so incomprehensible. Who killed the Republican party? Martin Luther King, Susan B. Anthony, Fredrick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and all the others who slew dragons so that, some day, their children’s children could not imagine how we could be anything but equal.