Monday, October 31, 2005

Unity Is Overrated

Some of Democrats’ harshest critics in the blogosphere and among the legitimate press are Dems, liberals and left-leaners. While it’s laudable when one can recognize and admit the flaws of one’s own constituency, many a fallacious notion is being perpetuated through this self-examination.

The grumble from within the ranks is that Democrats are disunited and lack a true platform.

Dems are clearly not united on all issues, but the GOP can hardly claim a monopoly on unity. That’s never been truer than in recent times. Just look at what the Miers nomination, John Bolton, Iraq, gay marriage, Social Security reform and Plamegate, for starters, have done to their much-ballyhooed harmony.

The GOP’s unity is not to be envied. There are some issues they seem overwhelmingly united on – tax cuts for the rich, laws that favor businesses over employees or individuals, etc. That’s NO model for Democratic unity, because the GOP are united on bad ideas. The Machiavellian notion that “unity is unity” is below us and should always stay there.

Also referred to as “unity” is the GOP tendency to unquestioningly defend their guilty, or at least to downplay their transgressions, while attacking their detractors. The smearing of Tom DeLay’s prosecutor Ronnie Earle, even though DeLay has repeatedly been censured for ethics violations and Earle has prosecuted many more Dems than GOPs, is a perfect example.

The most egregious instance is undoubtedly their shrugging off of Plamegate – with its documented connections to the deceptive rationale for war in Iraq – even though they impeached a president for a far lesser offense.

At the heart of American political disunity is our two-party system. We are actually a very diverse people in terms of values and viewpoints, yet we give ourselves basically two choices on election day. Is it any wonder our politics is so contentious most of the time?

In certain respects the GOP are indeed united - in spreading half-truths and distortions about their challengers, in handing our law books over to corporations, and in undoing many basic protections and freedoms we take for granted. They’re no standard for Democrats to aspire to when we grow up.

If the state of today’s GOP passes for unity, I’ll take chaos.

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