Anti-Big-Government Movement in America
(I would ask my readers to please keep in mind that my analysis of the anti-big-government movement in the U.S. is only an analysis. In general, I do not reach the same conclusions that many of these sometimes disparate anti-big-government groups come to).
In a densely-packed essay in The Nation, Eric Alterman outlined his reasons why Obama and the Dems will never be able to get an untainted progressive agenda through the hollowed halls of Congress.
Alterman sees the problem as structurally rigged against such any progressive agenda: the media-controlled narratives; the filibuster threat; the supermajority rule; the ability of any one Senator to put a “hold” on legislation; the corporate/lobbyist money running Washington and now the media with a recent Supreme Court decision.
Admittedly, the structural problems are all there. However, I am going to throw my two-cents into the conversation by suggesting that the steamroller anti-big-government narrative, dominated by the right, appears to be gaining momentum. It is this narrative, I believe, that brought many white Americans to the Glenn Beck Lincoln Memorial rally.
And it is this anti-big-government narrative which I believe will continue to dominate the rhetoric of the right over the next few years.
It is no secret that the political right has a strong contingent of white, family-values followers. As whites, these followers cross over into many economic classes. The lower and middle class whites, in particular, have been building their historical resentments against minorities for decades.
One of the many starting gates for these resentment, I believe, began with government-driven affirmative action programs that left many whites feeling deserted into anonymity by what they continue to see as favoritism to minorities, particularly blacks—in spite of the fact that women gained more from affirmative action than blacks.
Now it is the Hispanic, brown immigrant invaders who the lower and middle class whites feel are “taking jobs” away from “real” Americans—a threat that many economists say is more perceived than real. The law-and-order group gives an added dimension to the you’re-taking-away-my-job group by focusing on the legal citizenship issue exacerbated by all the criminal effects of the drug scene on the Mexican-U.S. border areas.
Whether it is the white fears that Hispanics will take their jobs or the white, middle-class conservative fear of anarchy, both groups have more-than-a-dollop of fear that their white American culture will be devoured by the brown aliens.
That same fear of white anonymity and annihilation, underlies the strong reaction to the building of an Islamic center in New York City. Americans, by and large, seemed to have bought the media-framed madrasah narrative that all Islamic schools are underground venues for militant jihadist terrorism.
On the one hand, the lower and middle white classes continue to believe that the federal government either sold out to blacks during the heyday of affirmative action, isn’t doing enough to stem the tide of illegal Mexican immigration, or has made a blatant attack on the white majority by using the “freedom of religion” rationale to protect a non-Western religion.
In this scenario the big Washington government is viewed as an ally of the disenfranchised at the expense of mainstream white America. To many whites, Washington—read Dems here—continues to play on the wrong team.
On the other hand, the corporate class whites and the vast array of Chamber of Commerce groups continue to scream about excessive government regulations that they see as a threat to productivity, their wallets, or to their survival.
All three economic-class groups and the chain of small business supporters are joining forces with the states rights/10th Amendment supporters, the libertarians, and the 2nd Amendment right-to-bear arms supporters.
The common enemy of all of these groups, of course, is the big bad government in Washington.
I also believe that there is another contingent of anti-big government sentiment coming from the physically-fit, young, white-and-healthy health addicts who resent having to be forced to buy health insurance and who detest having to look at photos of obese diabetics who “just don’t take care of themselves.”
In the world of the healthy-diet-and-exercise crowd, everyone just needs a quick workout at a gym, to eat right, and to take lots of herbs and multivitamins. Sickness, mortality, old age are all the result of a society gone to Hell in a handbasket, nothing that a good walk around a mall or jog in the park wouldn’t cure.
Government mandated health insurance is anathema to this group of health-fitness Aryans. And Medicaid/Medicare recipients are often viewed by the fitness crowd as weak, lazy idlers and malingerers feeding off the teats of another federal government entitlement program.
And last, but not least, is the tabloid-reader-television-viewer group. This group is always finding some alien force about to do them in. Aliens, of course, are everywhere, even when you can’t see them. And these tabloid hangers-on continue to wait in every bar in America as they look up at a Fox newscast just waiting to hear about another government fuck-up.