Most view the damage that conservatives have done to the country as most apparent in the form of the oft-described 'narcissistic man-baby' that occupies the highest seat in Washington right now. However, the problem is much less obvious. Conservatives have attempted and succeeded at brainwashing a nation into supporting them, and I'm not just talking about those that support them. How did they do it?

They changed the meaning of the word 'conservative'

Step 1 in the plan was to change the meaning of #Conservative entirely. Donald Trump's win, with huge swaths of support from the evangelical community and "conservatives" everywhere, was the clearest indication of how far south the word has gone.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Part of this change came from the Tea Party, which changed the dynamic of the Republican party from governing to obstructionist.

To paraphrase comedian Jon Stewart: "One party of the government has decided that their message is: Government doesn't work. And so they destroy it, and point to their own destruction as evidence of their thesis."

This allowed the meaning of "conservative" to slip from whatever it meant before to "the opposite of whatever Democrats are doing." It transformed into a machine wherein, instead of people gravitating towards a party that aligned with their beliefs, the party dictated that if they didn't think Obamacare was the worst ever or believe abortion should be state-blocked, or didn't believe that climate change was a hoax by the Chinese, they weren't really conservatives.

Advertisements

I certainly wouldn't be the first to point out how un-conservative the president is, what with his liberal spending on lavish "winter White Houses" and rounds of golf every weekend, or the cost of keeping Melania in New York City. His non-nuclear family, his extramarital affairs, and his near-pathological extortion of most people that have ever worked for him certainly clash with the picture of the Christ that threw money-lenders from the temple.

If Jesus was actually the poster boy of the Republican party, Trump never would've made it through his first speech before they abandoned him.

They changed the meaning of 'free speech'

This one has even the staunchest liberals messing up. A recent example would be Bill Maher going out of his way to book a vacuous provocateur on his popular show. Through vignettes like these, we're shown that the people who tell us how "on our side" they are fall prey to extremely basic error.

I don't remember #free speech ever being defined as "having to have someone on your show." Or get a book deal. Or have to speak at a campus. But conservatives successfully changed the landscape of American politics to convince us that not allowing those things was not nice, not reasonable, and hostile to the idea of free speech.

Advertisements

I know I'll have to say it until I'm blue in the face, but when Richard Spencer talks about afro-centric eugenics, that is not free speech; it is a threat.

The more insidious part of this change in lexicon is that brow-beaten liberals who feel afraid to be seen as unreasonable or uncompromising show up with their jelly spines to announce that, "Well, we may not like what he says, but he has a right to say it," as if that means on your show. As if that means on your news network. As if, even if someone was barred from every late night show and no publisher picked up their book, their free speech rights would have been abridged.

Conservatives successfully convinced people that free speech meant validating their rhetoric. As a result, people like Maher are swinging in the wind trying to accommodate people who take that legitimacy and support from people who don't agree with them and use it to crush everything those "liberal" people claim to care about.

They reaffirmed 'whiteness'

The latest victim of this is liberal messiah Bernie Sanders, whose apology tour to the forgotten peoples of the Appalachian is as racist as it is tone-deaf.

2016 featured a horrifying ending to a grueling election, in which scores of black and brown people feared for their lives, their futures, their homes, their water, their children, and their rights the moment that a man explicitly endorsed by the KKK won the presidency. Sanders took to this new world with vigor, and immediately began defending...poor white people?

Since November 9th, Sanders has engaged himself in the noble task of exculpating white voters from the burden of shame of electing Donald Trump. Every day brings a fresh defense of voters that were supposedly tricked or stuck between a rock and a hard place, of voters who did not realize the consequences of their actions.

This is, to quote deceased Justice Scalia, "pure applesauce." The gall of Sanders and his ilk to implore disenfranchised people of the U.S. to "consider both sides" is infuriating, but not surprising.

The third way that conservatives transformed #America was to reaffirm whiteness. The same thread that causes otherwise liberal people like Maher and Sanders to give "outs" where none are merited is the same reason a poor white person can look at Donald Trump and believe he has his best interests at heart - white supremacy.

White supremacy is the glue that holds the fabric of racism in America together. So, intentionally or not, every time Sanders decides to go to bat for poor white people who voted for Trump, to defend them from warranted allegations of racism and sexism, he drives a wedge between himself and people who refuse to see white supremacy as simply another valid political opinion.

By reshaping culture to fit a specific narrative of free speech, conservatism, and by gaining allies, intentional and unwitting, to fight for and defend notions of white supremacy, conservatives changed the political landscape for the foreseeable future. The only question now is who will wake up, when, and what cost will have been paid by that time.