Many are arguing these days that President Obama has forged a new majority coalition of women, minorities, young people and upscale cultural liberals so large and durable that he can do what no president has done before—pursue a very liberal agenda without serious opposition or defections from his own party. Demography is destiny, this argument holds, and it is irrevocably on the side of Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party.
Demography as destiny certainly seems the principle behind he current push on immigration. It is almost naked in its efforts to capture a voting bloc. But as Rove concludes:
Demography isn’t destiny because nothing is permanent in politics…
So, what changes things? Well Hugh Hewitt is on to something in his push to link immigration reform with school choice and education reform. More here:
A grudging acceptance of immigration reform does nothing to communicate the reality of the conservative hope for immigrants. Putting the education of the newly regularized immigrants at the heart of the GOP response to immigration reform puts a moral response at the center of the conservative contribution to the debate.
Hewitt’s point is vitally important. Education and social morality changes, and this is a smart way to lead that change. And yet I am uncertain of the potential for success of these endeavors. For one thing, as Daniel Henninger pointed out this morning, Obama is playing for serious keeps:
Marcuse called this “the systematic withdrawal of tolerance toward regressive and repressive opinions.” That, clearly, is what President Obama—across his first term, the presidential campaign and now—has been doing to anyone who won’t line up behind his progressivism. Delegitimize their ideas and opinions.
A Marcusian world of political intolerance became a reality on U.S. campuses. With relentless pushing from the president, why couldn’t it happen in American political life? Welcome to the Thunderdome.
I am concerned that we are playing subtle long term strategies while Obama seeks to obliterate us. I am worried that we do not have the protection of the English Channel while Obama blitzkriegs his way through the nation. Can we marshal our forces before they are overrun and conscripted?
But I also have deeper concerns. Moral and cultural change must precede political change. And while education is one institution to produce such, religion is the other. Hewitt is rightly promoting a way to try and recover one of those institutions, but what about religion? Can it recover?
There remains serious infighting amongst religious groups. The argument about who is and who is not a “Christian” continues unabated – in some cases exacerbated by the results of the last election when it should have been truncated by it.
The majority of churches today, particularly Evangelical megachurches which are the growing edge of faith at the moment, focus on TV show like worship services and do not build the sorts of infrastructures (schools, community centers, etc.) that can truly affect culture. I worry that if Hewitt’s goal of vouchers for normalizing immigrants comes to pass there will not be the necessary capacity in educational alternatives to public schooling to put those vouchers to use. And if there is such capacity, I wonder what the quality will be.
When busing was ordered in the south, private schools sprang up like weeds. Because the best teachers wanted out of the public schools as well, these private schools tended to be pretty good. I wonder if that will be the case should this come to pass. With the teachers unions being as strong as they are will the best educators want to make the move? Moreover, will the private schools be able to compete in salary and benefits?
These are questions that need to be answered now and in conjunction with efforts like Hewitt’s. Churches should be forming educational committees right this minute and beginning to explore the possibilities. The massive facilities that have come to exist around the megachurch phenomena need to be put to this use, and it won’t be easy. You can bet your bottom dollar the teachers unions will make licensing and permitting for such private endeavors as hard as possible. If they do not already exist, regulations will rapidly come out that will make the overhead of such an operation huge. BIG money will be needed.
BIG money takes time to accumulate and in this situation, continued flow of money will be needed – that’s even harder to set up.
And that may very well mean that we have to set aside our theological differences to pool our resources to get the job done. The Roman Catholics, and to some extent the Lutherans have well developed educational systems. The Mormons have well-developed supplemental education. There’s some great shortcuts. Do we have the wherewithal to take them, or will we be too busy decrying their theological impurity?
We’re in Thunderdome folks. I, for one, want to leave.