Miscellaneous Musings on Divisions Political and Otherwise:[Prefatory Note: This was originally put together and published in another medium on June 15, 2009. -ISM]
In recent months, my observations of many people who are opposed in various and sundry ways to the Democratic party found me reflecting on a quote that I want to share at this time. It pertains to the issue of religion in the public square and the approach taken by not a few people who though they mean well often do more harm than good. To wit:"There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus, God, or Allah, or whatever one calls the supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A,B,C, and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of conservatism." [Senator Barry M. Goldwater: From the Congressional Record (circa September 16, 1981)]
I have found that this quote resonates with me a lot more now than it did when I was younger. It is not an issue of principles of course that I refer to of course but the manner in how they are gone about more than anything. Maybe part of it is the longer one is around, the more they realize that to a certain extent the more things change the more they stay the same. For one thing, no one ever claims that they are living in "particularly good times" -indeed most of those people who make statements about their times as being particularly dire do so without knowledge of history or how often this pattern repeats itself. The biblical phrase "nothing under the sun is new" is quite accurate indeed as this quote could have been written today as could this one which was directed by Senator Goldwater at Jerry Falwell circa 1982:"Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them."
I am wondering if the opportunity of the next two election cycles to derail the Obama Express will not be squandered. For almost every issue you can find has a general consensus and also those whose approach to the matter is extremely narrow or otherwise extreme. And oftentimes you will find the latter people basically saying that only their interpretation of the issue is viable, correct, moral, etc.
and this ushers in needless conflict which leads to divisions that results in political impotence.
We all have issues we are particularly passionate about but the differences of view on certain particulars of various issues are a reality and one that is not going to go away. If there is not a conscious recognition that politically one may not be able to get everything they want, then the Republicans will continue for sometime to get nowhere politically. I have noted before
the irony of those who wave the banner of Reagan who really do not know what The Gipper stood for and did before and do not want to to into that again at the present time though those who buy into many of those myths would do well to consider what is written there because the underlying principle involved in that note remains; namely this:
Do we want to make effective and real progress politically or will continuing factionalism render us politically impotent???
Jesus once said that "a house divided against itself cannot stand" and Sun Tzu counseled his generals to divide enemy armies by sowing discord and creating various dissensions for a reason: it weakens the effectiveness of a cause. It matters not where or what the divisions are and the Democrats are seriously divided now. The haste with which they have sought to push issues that many of their voters do not want and the blatant hypocrisy and double standards they have manifested (not to mention being bitten by the "corruption bug") have got even many of their staunchest supporters confused or angry at them.
The political prospects for the next two election cycles are lining up to be favourable for an opposition movement but I will say right now it will fail as long as all of this factionalism garbage continues. The focus needs to be on broader issues where a consensus already exists and needs to be strengthened, not ancillary distraction issues which needlessly polarize and thus are fodder for political impotence.
Labels: B. Goldwater, Expository Musings, Pol/Elect/Sociopol/Geopol, Pres. Obama, Pres. Reagan, Reason/Logic/Ethics