Friday, June 17, 2016

The Need For Two Strong Parties

We need a strong, healthy two party system. So said Barack Obama on The Tonight Show last week. He was expressing sadness at what he sees happening in the GOP. Two healthy parties are necessary for the dialogue that is part of America's greatness. We have not had that in a number of years.

The current version of this started with Newt Gingrich and his Contract With America during the Bill Clinton presidency. The ideologicalizing (my word) of American political parties really expanded to a mania. Everyone had to pass a litmus test for their party. As time moved on, compromise became a dirty word, a sign of capitulating to the ideological enemy. Good and bad, right and wrong, all became political fingers pointing to the opposite party.

This election cycle has brought to light all the dysfunction in the GOP and, to a lesser extent, the Democrats. I am not so deeply versed in political history, but I have a hunch it has been a very long time since the leaders of a particular political party try to support and distance themselves, simultaneously(!), from their party's standard bearer. That is a deep division! If they lose in the fall, they will blame Trump (and probably Obama) for their defeat. They will not see how 20+ years of deepening ideological litmus tests they have brought it on themselves.

The GOP convention starts one month from tomorrow. The sideshow will continue as it appears Trump has no plans on easing-up his message, become more "presidential" or even seeking to truly bring his party together. What will happen next month? In this election cycle, all bets are off.

In the long run we, as a nation, need two parties that can work together to govern in spite of differences. We need leadership! That is what has helped us remain the United States.

My wife commented the other day that perhaps we are on the cusp of a new reframing, a new adaptation of the American Dream. There was, obviously, the Civil War with post-Reconstruction taking a step backward from some  of those gains. There was the Great Depression leading into World War II that realigned many idea. That began to fall apart in the 60s and we are now seeing the results of that era, Watergate, etc.

Each time we have made positive strides. We need to work together on doing that again.

1 comment:

Gregory Chamberlin said...

T'would be a divine gift to actually have TWO parties instead of the liberal and conservative wing of the Party of Business