Gibson: Break Left, America

According to the right-wing establishment in this country, traditional American values are under attack by the "fascist/Marxist/socialist/leftist" ruling party.

Conservatives clearly have a very loose understanding of those terms. Yes, the current administration is employing policies that are more liberal than their predecessors, which should not be entirely unexpected as President Barack Obama ran on the Democratic ticket.

But all of these extreme labels are unfounded. In any other developed democracy, Obama would undoubtedly be a member of the conservative party. Other European democracies don't debate about whether to provide health care for their citizens - not even the conservative parties dare to touch public health care.

And yet, in America, a health care bill that costs $100 billion a year for 10 years and is one-sixth of our yearly defense budget is "too liberal." A watered-down public option that only provides care for 5 percent of Americans is "too liberal," despite the fact that over half of the country is in support of a public option. And finally, the bill that has a significant portion of its cost in the form of subsidies for the private insurance industry is "too liberal." According to Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham, the House of Representatives' health care bill is "dead on arrival in the Senate."

There is a problem here: The political spectrum has shifted so far to the right since the Reagan administration that it is nearly impossible to pass any substantive progressive legislation, especially with the incredible power of a single member of the Senate to block any legislation that does not have the support of 60 other senators.

The problem extends into other areas as well. There are debates in this country that should not even be debates. Every day, Americans are failed by their education system that cannot come to a consensus on topics such as evolution or sex education. Every day, America causes untold environmental damage because the government cannot come to a consensus that climate change even exists, much less whether it should be addressed. Every day, our government discriminates against loving couples because of those who condemn same-sex marriage for no beneficial reason.

We exist in a precarious situation in which a particular shift in the balance of power may once again cause women to lose the right to choose.

The Democratic Party is not trying to attack American values. They are in the process of trying to provide health care to American citizens. The only way that the party can be seen as attacking American values is if American values are anti-science, anti-environment and anti-civil rights. That doesn't sound like America to me.

Our country doesn't need to shift back to the right. American politics needs to turn for the left and start undoing the damage that has been done since the Reagan administration.