Much like many others on Stout’s campus, I have been reading this semester’s Campus Book, E.L. Doctorow’s “Ragtime.” For those who don’t know, Ragtime is a classic story of an early 1900s American family. There are cameos from a few historically significant figures, one of which is President Theodore Roosevelt. In some ways, Teddy is a lot like Donald Trump. They are both what I would consider to be ‘reformation’ presidents.
A reformation is a changing of ideology for certain laws being passed. Currently, with both a Republican President and also a Republican Congress, it seems that many of the previous liberal ideas brought about during Obama’s tenure are going to change. This is natural, as liberalism and conservatism tend to balance each other out. Think of a small child: when they are still young they tend to stick close to their parents. As they age, they slowly start feeling out their territory. If they get too far from the parent however, they get scared and return. Another way to think of this concept is as a pendulum swinging back and forth. The further it goes to the left, the harder it will swing back to the right, and vice versa.
Our society works in much the same way. It has a base where it feels comfortable, as long as we are there. Think about current laws and ideas and where they are skewed. If we move from there, we are like the child mentioned above, moving into a more free and liberal state. This too can happen with conservatism, in the opposite sense. However, after some time we get scared or just can’t handle it, and we freeze. Other times we return closer to the base, resulting in a reformation period because the ideas have changed so much compared to the last state.
So in many ways we are heading back to a centered state right now. In some ways we couldn’t handle all the freedom set upon us, so we return with however many baby steps to a feeling of safety. If the majority feels uncomfortable with the changes made, it will always return to its base.