There’s an old saying in politics – Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line. And it’s never been truer.
All of my left-leaning friends, people who normally agree about everything, are deeply divided over the Al Franken resignation. Facebook and other social media platforms were a veritable blood bath yesterday as Democrats passionately argued over Franken’s decision to step down in the face of mounting accusations of sexual misconduct. It’s a good thing when good people disagree. It’s evidence that actual thinking is happening.
For a sharp contrast, consider what’s happening, and what always happens, on the Republican side in the face of far more egregious examples of sexual abuse. Silence. Acquiescence. Complicity.
Serial sexual assaulters Donald Trump and Roy Moore are surrounded by an impenetrable wall of defenders. Where’s the deep and passionate division in the Republican Party? Where’s the in-house fight for the moral soul of the right? Crickets.
Sure, a few outliers like Mitt Romney and George Will have cried out from the wilderness, hoping to ignite a chorus of dissent. But again, crickets.
Imbedded deep within Republican consciousness is the imperative to win, no matter the cost. Democrats, as evidenced by the fact that 75% of Democratic Senators called for Franken’s resignation, would rather do the right thing than win. Democratic Senators like Kirsten Gillibrand are taking the long view. Sure, we lose Al Franken, a beloved and effective Senator, but we win the long war, the war for the soul of America.
Never let them tell you that “both parties are the same.”
Look at how good, smart, reasonable Republicans fell in line when Donald Trump secured his party’s nomination. And look at how Democrats fought each other tooth and nail, (and still do), over the Bernie/Hillary divide. We Democrats love what we love, and we’re willing to commit fratricide out of loyalty not to each other, but to our passions. Republicans, on the other hand, lick their finger, lift it into the wind to see which way it’s blowing, and fly like a flock of geese in unison toward victory, morals and principles be damned.
To Democrats, Republicans look like heartless, amoral monsters – locusts descending in a cloud to destroy all that is good and true about America. To Republicans, Democrats look like hysterical children imprisoned by their emotions in a never ending cycle of ineffectiveness. Both portraits leave something to be desired. But like all caricatures, they contain more than a grain of truth.
Yet the fact remains, no matter how lofty and noble your principles, you cannot turn them into policy from the sidelines. If you want to change the world, first get elected.
Democrats could learn a thing or two from their brothers and sisters across the aisle. We could do a better job of pragmatically unifying into an unstoppable force. We outnumber them. Young people overwhelmingly align with our core, Progressive values. So do the growing minority communities. In a way, we have every advantage. The only disadvantage is ourselves.
Let us hammer our hearts into weapons. Let’s weaponize love. Let’s take what has been our liability and wield it like an asset. There’s nothing wrong with Democrats that cannot be fixed by what’s right with Democrats.