Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Flying On One Wing
There seems to be a lot of discussion among both Republicans and Democrats lately about how the Republican Party is going to become little more that an afterthought in American politics if they don't reject their Conservative ideology (and / or those who hold it) and become more like moderate Democrats.
I have to say that I find all of this rather curious. From the Democrats, who seem to normally be rather savvy political strategists, my curiosity is simply that of political competition. "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." said Napoleon Bonaparte, who was not a bad strategist himself. So why are the Democrats trying to interrupt the Republicans from self-destructive behavior. Behavior which, if it should succeed, would leave the Democrats in power indefinitely? Why would you do your political enemies the favor of presenting them with advice to keep them from failing?
Not being a Republican, I have no stake in whether they pay heed to advice from their political enemies, but I would caution them as Virgil once did, remembering Troy, "I fear Greeks, even when they bring gifts".
As to the Republicans, rejecting what is supposed to be the core Conservative beliefs of your political party in the name of political victory likewise seems a bit self-destructive. It also seems adopting the beliefs of your sworn political enemies might be more than a little self-defeating. For assuming that you do so, even if should win the electoral battle as a result, you would lose the ideological war in the process.
This is not to say that I believe that only those who hold a strict Conservative point of view on every subject should be allowed to call themselves Republican. There are many kinds of Conservatives: fiscal and social to name but a few. All of those who call themselves conservative in one area do not necessarily call themselves conservative in all others should not lose the title as a consequence.
I would likewise say that calling yourself a Republican while rejecting all of the core beliefs of the party does not make you one any more than calling yourself a Catholic while rejecting the leadership of the Pope and the precepts of the Church would make you one. In order to be a member of a given group one must at least give credence to those basic principles.
So to Democrats who would like to assume a liberal tone and tenor and lean as far to the left as they can, I would applaud your efforts even while disagreeing with you to my very core. It is your right and none may take it from you. For Republicans (and again let me state that I am not one), I would tell them to lean as far to the right as you chose and ignore the naysayers from within your party and without. This too is your right and none has the ability or authority to make it otherwise. Perhaps after all, we need more than a bland center to politics that some seem to believe is the ideal.
We need both the left and the right to precipitate lively discussion of the issues, to excite the electorate in what can otherwise be a rather tedious process, and to inspire a spirit of competition that brings out the best of both the left and the right.
Actually, all of this reminds me of the heady, but politically incorrect days of my youth, when drinking to excess was not only considered normal and accepted; but quite frankly was almost expected. In those days, one of the constant crowd challenges was, "Come on kid, have another. You can't fly on one wing." So my advice (for what it's worth) to both the Democrats and Republicans is, forget complaining about all of this right wing / left wing factions of your parties, because after all, you can't fly on one wing.