Letters to the Editor

America has lost its ability to inspire

Not too long ago real conservatives called for raising taxes to cover exigencies like war. The idea was that if the nation goes to war, it is right that we all pitch in to pay for it. Remember war bonds and such. It was real patriotism.

In 1993 John McCain argued against the Bush tax cuts saying “We should not be cutting taxes in time of war. Our military is going to need those resources.”

It was also recognition that government debt is a threat to national security.

Today so-called “conservatism” has turned patriotism on its head. Hating the government is “patriotic.” Opposing taxes while insisting on war is “patriotic.”

The new “conservatism” is anti-egalitarian. It revels in might-makes-right and celebrates plutocratic inequality as “natural law.” The tyranny of the majority is now seen as democratic. Majority Christians may persecute minority religions. The conservative party may try to win by any means, even collusion with inimical foreigners.

What we see of despotic government in other places, it is unstable. Hegemony cannot be maintained by perversions of the political process or by twisting the law. But the day of correction that is coming on account of this travesty is going to be painful. It may well mean that America loses its premier standing in the world, and that could have economic and geopolitical consequences. America’s chief power has been its ability to inspire. With that gone, we may not recover our power and that could mean a diminished and poorer nation going forward.

Stephen Jellen, Edwardsville

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