Riley Parr: Republicans must start righting progressive agendas

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Riley ParrIt’s taken less than 100 days for President Biden to reveal that he has no intention of actually uniting the country, instead aiming to join the ranks of FDR and LBJ.

Two trillion dollars for a coronavirus relief bill—never mind that was more than a year ago, or that we should be encouraging people to go back to work rather than the opposite—and that’s just the appetizer. There’s the $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan,” as well as the $2.3 trillion “American Jobs Plan,” most of which is as much about infrastructure as the space program. If the spending weren’t enough, channeling his inner FDR, Biden has created a commission to study expanding the Supreme Court.

At the center of Biden’s agenda lies the core belief of progressivism: The governing elites know better than you. The governing elites know how to run the economy. The governing elites know how to organize your lives. But, of course, you would never hear any of them openly admit it. The polemics of politics gets tiring, but if Biden gets his way, it would be the largest expansion of the federal government in the last half-century.

This should surprise no one who has paid attention to the political winds of the last 15 years, which are an acceleration of the natural trend of the radical wing (which is an ever-growing segment) of the Democratic Party for the last century. First, it was Woodrow Wilson, then FDR and then LBJ. The Reagan Revolution caused a temporary course adjustment for the left, but the Obama years brought a renewed vigor for progressives.

That energy has now metastasized to the point that the truth has been relegated to a secondary consideration. If history does not meet our current standards of decency, then to the chopping block.

Ideas like critical race theory—rather than considering individuals as exactly that—distill everything about a person into something entirely outside anyone’s control. Ideologies that led to the needless mass slaughter of hundreds of thousands of fellow humans are celebrated as “kind,” “humane” and “caring,” all because nobody takes the time to move beyond the superficial emotional response to examine the actual effects. And somehow among my colleagues, socialism and communism are viewed more favorably than the economic power of individual choice that has raised millions out of poverty.

The responses, at least with a year of hindsight, to the coronavirus pandemic strain credulity—despite Texas and Florida (with no restrictions) having fewer cases over the last month than locked-down New York, Michigan and California. Truth has become an endangered concept.

It doesn’t help matters that much of the media, and virtually all social media, parrot almost exclusively one side of the political aisle and show little to no interest in engaging in serious, legitimate discourse about any of the pressing matters facing Americans today.

In 1964, Ronald Reagan gave a speech known as “A Time for Choosing.” That was three years before he became governor of California, and 16 years before he would win 44 states on the way to becoming the 40th president. Imagine: It took 16 years from Reagan emerging on the political scene before he started to stem the tide of overzealous social-engineering policies going back to the Great Depression. Whom do the Republicans have now to even come close? (Hint: It’s not a former president) And 16 years won’t do.

Maybe it doesn’t have to be just one person. I suspect another time for choosing is fast approaching—because, if the last several years are any indication, if people don’t, 2+2 will soon equal 5. And we’ll wonder how it came to be.•


Parr is a practicing attorney in central Indiana. Send comments to

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