Thursday, August 25, 2005

Democrats and the 21st Century

An interesting confluence of ideas have come before me in the last 24 hours. First George Will poses some of the problems for the loudest voices of the Democrats. Essentially, he argues that they are starting to become the equivalent of the John Birch Society in their rabid desire to avoid intelligent thinking. Relying instead on accusations of treason, greed, avarice, and, well, just about all of the seven deadly sins.
When you think about it, who in the Democratic Party is getting all of the press at the moment? Think Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, MoveOn, Howard Dean, and Chuck Schumer. Where are the Harold Fords, Obama Baraks, and Evan Bayhs of the Party? Kos seems to be doing his part to rope in all of the moderate voices of the Democratic Party, and he is not alone.
Which brings me to the other branch of the confluence, heretofore referenced previously. (Sometimes, when I feel like a jerk, I write like a lawyer.) Dave and Matt seem to be using the same page, although I think that Matt really is going somewhere that Dave is not, and Matt seems a might confused as to why Dave isn't following.
Conservatism, as a political theory is often labeled racist, anti-woman, anti-poor, etc., but that is not the true definition of conservatism, any more than liberals are all anti-American, -white male, -business, etc. If you consider the original theories of these two necessary positions, you might find that they are not incompatible. We need liberals to provide the motive force to change society. And we need conservatism to keep the forces from being taken too far in the wrong direction.
In the letters to the editor in our advertising supplement called the Missoulian, someone is saying that Conservatives were the ones who opposed the Equal Rights Act. True, but I think that the letter writer is conflating conservatives with Republicans. After all, the majority of people who opposed that Acts passage were Democrats, and the majority who supported it were Republicans. So, you can't say that all Democrats are liberal nor that all Republicans are conservative. And while I'm on it, can someone explain to me how liberal is supposed to mean that you are tolerant of other views, except Republicans, Libertarians, white males, etc.? I have listened to Air America on occasion for my much oft stated reason that we should consider all opinions. Randi Rhodes seems to be the equivalent of a broadcasting Brown Shirt. Al Franken and Janine Garofolo are the headliners, and seem to be conducting some sort of marathon for stutterers, they are so angry.
This is not to excuse the Pat Roberts et al. who are on the right. But if you argue that the Frankens, Kos and Air America are just a reaction to those on the Right, you are agreeing that you are no different from them, if anything, less artful.
I quit going to horror movies after Exorcist 2. Mostly because I realized that the moviemaker was manipulating me especially through the use of music, to try and keep me frightened. Ever since then, I have resented anyone trying to manipulate me through fear. For me, political parties are just like the movie makers. I suppose that like any marketing campaign, you always need new and improved attention getters to keep the public buying your products.
The future is going to belong to the group who realize that the person they are promoting is more important than the party. Whoever selects intelligent, thoughtful people as their candidates, (Those who can say 'I disagree with you, but can understand the basis for your opinion') will be the party of the future.
With the greater access to information from cable and the Internet, individuals will have more power, and organized group think collectives will lose it.
Give me a man or woman of principles and character, and not just some telegenic sock puppet, and even if I don't agree with all of their positions, I will probably vote for them because I am sure that they will make the right choices for the greater good. Don't tell me that Democrats or Republicans have my best interests at heart, because I am cynical to that line of reasoning. My experience has taught me that they are only interested in their own power, not that of me, my community or my country.

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