American consciousness shifted to a different political value system and we can call it purple. It’s going to ripple through the American perception like a drop into a bucket. The changes won’t be imminent but they’ll be inevitable. You could call it a shift to collectivism but (hopefully) it could transcends that and becomes a celebration of autonomous achievement. A celebration of scale. We can operate a peaceful, humane society not just within a closed house, but in our closed neighborhood, our closed town, our closed region and also in our closed world.
The beauty of a closed community is that it is by definition open within. This requires a certain faith in tolerance. A faith that the current power structure did not have. John McCain was, at the end of the day, the old power structure and Barack Obama was the change.
This election was a rejection of intolerance. Not intolerance of gays, but intolerance of opposing points of view. Bush was a closed leader and closed leaders have opened up to their inner circle but not to the outside. They naturally dislike dissent. Ask Leo Strauss, the hidden godfather of neoliberal/conservativism. (It can be called both neoconservative and neoliberal because it is, essentially, neoism.) David Harvey’s “A Brief History of Neoliberalism” defines it as a political-economic system that “proposes that human well-being can be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices.” (Harvey, 2)
Neoliberalism, as a philosophy, has a glaring omission in the realm of foreign policy. Neoconservatism fills the void with an aggressive, interventionist one. Neoconservatives do not deny advocating American power projection.
Of course, the vast majority of Americans don’t know this. They know that things have been very unnatural for a while. Living around farmland and buying food at Walmart? Living around towns with no stores? Seeing a bunch of people on TV that don’t?
Since the 60s-70s we’ve been living in a reactionary world, a closing world built under the specter of communism. The quicker we realize that our closed system is geared towards the wrong struggle, the quicker we can neutralize the next threat. The Republican Party followed the old fear too far and now they’ll suffer. The Republican party has not been the conservative party since Barry Goldwater in the 60s. He couldn’t buid a coalition in 1962 and he was left in the dust and his principled followers scattered. Hilary went to the Democrats and a gaggle went into the Republican party. Ask Ron Paul how many friends he has and you’ll see how solidly Goldwater‘s vision was scattered: except for his furious anti-communism. (He later rejected his aggressive foreign policy stance.) That scattering never got to see their vision fulfilled but there is always the next generation.
Is Barack Obama that leader? Yes: not because he’s so special, but because the times are special and he was selected by the mass for his amazing narrative, clarity and calm. He is a void: he isn’t closed to anything and that makes him a centrist: ready to listen to and rule all.
The Purple Coalition is a group of Americans who said no to closed systems and yes to an open ones. The New York Times tells us that this is a collection of people whom the closed system didn’t work. It’s a collection of marginalized people: women (53%), 18-29 years old (66%), racial minorities including with Hispanics at 67%, single people and alternatively sexual, people who didn’t graduate high school (63%), urban residents (70%) and Jews (78%). We all know that when the Jews pick ’em, they either succeed or don’t.
This coalition isn’t as easy to break down as yesterday’s Republican coalition of traditionalists, nationalists and libertarians: it’s a bunch of Americans who decided to agree with each other so they could create change. This means that Obama isn’t going to rule for his party but for ALL Americans because when you’re selling ‘change’ to people, you’re selling to anyone might like it. When you sell fear you’re removing ‘scary’ people from your audience.
Obama is going to frame his change for as many types of people as possible. He is going to try and convince us all that his change is great and it’s going to get better. That is fundamentally different than Bush and his closed political environment where he was trying to convince his constituency that change was to be feared. Terrorism and pessimism are the tools of closed worldviews, celebration and optimism are the tools of open ones. Nationalism and Traditionalism are, by definition, closed. Libertarianism is not. It’s newest iteration could escape it’s current closed iteration and advocate a layered system of governance: an onion of natural jurisdictions. This is the path forward for the Republican party, and what I’ll discuss in Part 3 of the Purple America Series: Tomorrow’s Republican (or Yellow) Coalition.