May 26, 2005

I saw Senator Joseph Lieberman on the TV last Sunday saying that the serious problem in America now is that partisans are driving the agenda. The American people are supposedly fed up with all the bickering among politicians.

Does it matter to them whether or not the bickering is about important issues?

I guess to be a partisan is a bad thing. But ask yourself. Would it have been wrong to be an anti-National Socialist partisan in Germany when Hitler was first rising to power?  Was it wrong for Martin Luther King to be an anti-segregation partisan in the 1960's? Was it wrong a few years later to oppose sending tens of thousands of young Americans to their deaths in order to intervene in a civil war that was none of our business? That was really partisan, wasn't it?

The hardest thing in politics is to decide whether your opponents are reasonably honorable people who simply have a different vision of life from your own, or whether they have become so vicious, greedy, or stupid that you have no honorable option other than to oppose them. I'm all for talking things over, but when somebody tells me, for example, that he would rather see thousands die than to undermine the sacred principle of the highest possible profits for drug companies, then, maybe, the time for talking is over and the time for partisanship has arrived.

Joe Lieberman can be a smug moderate all he wants but until he gives me a better sense of what he won't compromise away in the name of nonpartisanship, I'm going to continue to be a bit nauseated when I see his self-satisfied smirk beaming at me from my television screen.

©John R. Turner

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