Sunday, April 5, 2015

Corporate America Hangs a Left

All of the tension that's been building in the grand Republican coalition, that uneasy mix of practical business, low taxes, libertarianism and the uncompromising religious sector is now being released. And it's not working out for the most conservative of the party's members.

Just a week ago it seemed that at least two new states, Indiana and Arkansas, would pass religious freedom laws that would, in essence, allow people to claim that a robust religious objection to a state or federal law was enough to nullify it, at least for the objector. By the end of the week, both states had to backtrack and add key provisions that did not allow religious people from discriminating against gays and lesbians, among others. Why the change?

Corporations. Walmart. Angie's List. Axium.

Big business has seen the light and it's a bright one. No, not the one that people who have near-death experiences talk about. This is the one that shines into the deep dark corners of discrimination, hatred and prejudice.  Yes, corporations do love they money, but they're also getting a bit of a soul. After all, corporations are people too, right?

But uncovering the cloistered minds of the far right isn't the only move forward. Major national businesses are also starting to...wait for it...raise wages. Yes, I know that it's only a dollar more an hour for now, but the prospect of rising wages for those most in need is a positive step.

Despite a conservative movement that's made great inroads into American political, economic and social culture, the basic democratic ideals of tolerance, respect for diversity and fairness have endured and are now beginning to emerge from an era where they were somewhat battered and bruised. Americans truly want a government that will stay out of its bedrooms and workplaces even as they want to make sure that there is a safety net for life's perplexities.

This is why I think the GOP will end up nominating another more moderate candidate in 2016. That won't make the conservatives happy, but it really is the best hope for the party. And the Democrats had better not take their supporters for granted. The economy is better, but job growth seems to have slowed and the deal with Iran is not a slam dunk, nor should it be.

For now, though, business seems to be on the side of a wider, more inclusive market. And that's good news.

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