Jillian’s comment that conservatives are different than Republicans is a very interesting – and possibly even laughable – point of view in our day in age. While there once was a class of Republicans known as moderates, that level-headed type of legislators who actually want to make progress on the issues affecting Americans, there are so few Republicans left in Congress who are not conservative that the two titles are fast becoming synonymous. We have discussed in class the reality that our members of Congress are actually becoming more polarized and partisan, so this holds true for liberal Democrats as much as it does for conservative Republicans.
The conservative argument that continues to fascinate me the most, however, is the point that Jillian herself reiterated when questioned about it: conservatives are opposed to progressivism. While her argument would have benefited from a self-proscribed definition of “progressives,” I find it hard to believe that anyone in a democracy would oppose progressivism. Progressives, after all, gave women the right to vote and advanced the cause of civil rights. They are behind policies of economic equality that attempt to design a fair tax code for those of lesser incomes. Progressivism, in my opinion, is not a partisan agenda, but an American ideal, which is supported, upheld, and maintained by our very Constitution.
That being said, it was very apparent that the ACU is an umbrella group, as Jillian mentioned. It is obvious that there are various viewpoints voiced within the Union, many of which are not held by all “conservatives,” or even most. Such umbrella organizations pose great challenges in wrangling together a cohesive group, but at the same time offer great opportunity. Umbrella groups bring more people into the conversation, and give them a place in the organization, enfranchising them and their opinions while growing the numbers of the organization. This was, after all, the goal of Ronald Reagan’s GOP, which sought to expand the party and move the conservative agenda forward.