So, when I see conservative types who I used to find quite problematic--David Frum, Jennifer Rubin and others--saying stuff that is smart and right, I have to recognize it. This morning, Frum had a series of tweets:
The revelations are occurring -and have power- not because of a decline in behavior but a rise in ethical standards.— David Frum (@davidfrum) November 11, 2017
It’s disgust at abuses of power that is new.— David Frum (@davidfrum) November 11, 2017
The reason things seem to be getting worse is that people are demanding better.— David Frum (@davidfrum) November 11, 2017
That a conservative is realizing that more folks speaking out at a traditional behavior is something to recognize. To me, it means that the terms of the debate are shifting to places that favor progressives. Yeah, it is not good that it takes the Trump era and Harvey Weinstein-ian revelations about abuses, but as Frum points out, that stuff is not new. What may be new is a growing consensus that this abuse of power is wrong and that we need to take seriously those who report such abuses.
Maybe I am just looking for stuff to be optimistic about as rebellions are built on hope and all that. But if I nod my head and agree with the folks with whom I have disagreed, I need to recognize that. We are not going to get to the changes we want by not recognizing the positive shifts by folks "on the other side." While turning out the base is apparently the key to electoral success, the long term survival of our political system depend not just on winning elections but building consensus across the political system on basic values and norms.
As Trump reminds us, the US political system works when folks follow the norms and not just are bound by institutions. I don't know if there was a magical time where most folks followed the norms, but I do think we have had far more violations of late (McConnell and the Supreme Court seat). So, if conservatives and progressives can agree on some stuff, it probably makes things better especially when the conservatives are moving towards the progressives. College Senior Spew would say it ain't fast enough, and she'd be right. But I will take some progress at this point, as the past year has seemed to be one of damn near infinite regress.