Partisan politics

Written by: Connor Stangler

Please click this link to read E. J. Dionne Jr.’s article:http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/hearts-and-minds

In this despairing and admittedly accurate evaluation of the current state of American partisan politics, E.J. Dionne (a very respected and often-left-leaning columnist for The Washington Post) indicts Democrats on the grounds that they are losing a political battle they should, logically, be winning. Buoyed by a juggernaut of populist support, the Republican Party is capitalizing on the Democrats’ mistakes and tapping into the anger of the average Americans. Dionne is right when he says that the Republicans used a misleading and fallacious political syllogism to publicly denounce the Democrats’ efforts for better health care. The Republicans are imbuing the Tea Party movement with messages of “freedom” and “patriotism.” The leaders of the movement claim they devote their lives to defending the Constitution and their country, but how can they claim to love American when their very words repudiate the sacred beliefs of our Found Fathers, beliefs that serve as the underpinnings of our democracy? There have been calls for anarchy and, most appalling of all, civil war.

Pam Stout, Tea Party contributor and resident of Idaho, says that she has begun to seriously consider the possibility of “another civil war.” She says “peaceful means are the best way of going about it. But sometimes you are not given a choice.” What would be the rationale for a civil war? The encroachment of big government? The radical Obama administration (note here Dionne’s point that Republicans ever rejected the moderate proposals, not for the ideas themselves, but because of the origin)? As American citizens who have sworn to obey the Constitution and devote themselves to the preservation of the Union, it is the duty of each and every one of us to peacefully settle disputes via the constitutional channels our Founders established. You cannot flippantly mention the possibility of another civil war and simultaneously claim to love America. If you really had a sincere desire to fix the system, then abide by the beliefs you are willing to defend. Negotiation, petition, assembly, and legislation: all are peaceful means to finding realistic solutions.

If you want to have serious discussion about the future of America, then don’t enter the room waving a copy of the Constitution and screaming for nullification and civil war. If you’re ready to sit down and talk peacefully and thoughtfully about what we can do, that’s fine. But don’t enter the august arena of American politics screaming invective: if you love your country, prove it. I, too, love my country, and if you claim to love the Constitution more than I do simply because you would give in to the capricious whims of revolutionary spirit and resort to internal violence and bloodshed in order to putatively defend it, then you have dealt a serious insult. This is America: don’t suppose yourself a patriot when you are clearly ready to dismiss peace.

Dionne’s point should be well taken: the Democrats have not done the job with which they were entrusted. We need to regain the trust of the American people. Honesty, candid discussion, and bipartisan solutions are all beginnings. Come on: let’s fix this country. Together.