April 8, 2020

Problems with Partisan Politics

Guest Opinion
By David Frederick | Feb. 29, 2020

I could not in good conscience be a Republican. There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is the circumstance that they have been shamefully duplicitous in presenting a false pretense that GOP policies favor any group other than the wealthy. Unfortunately, Republicans are intelligent as well as politically astute. Those assets have enabled their divisive scorched-earth efforts to achieve a regrettable level of success in governing by extreme partisanship.

In today’s Republican world, propaganda prevails. Disinformation provided by Republicans defending a corrupt president — who is almost certainly treasonous — has consistently displayed contempt for the sentient abilities of the governed. During recent impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives, as well as in the mock trial in the Senate, the Republican Senators’ support for the continued attempts to corrupt our electoral process was itself an attack on our system of governance. 

I also cannot be a Democrat. That, too, is true for any number of reasons. Not the least of which is the manner in which the Democratic Party has allowed itself to be redefined in the last half century. That redefinition has resulted in the Republican Party almost effortlessly improving its standing among voters. Today, instead of seeing the GOP for what it is/has become(?) — the party ‘of, by, and for the rich,’ — significant segments of the population believe the policies of the Republican Party best represent the nation’s social, political, and economic values. 

How is it that the Democratic Party allowed this to happen? Democrats have actually done far more than Republicans to support legislation and programs beneficial to citizens. By the late 1940s, the recovery from the Great Depression was complete. World War II was won. The soldiers, marines, and sailors were home. Good jobs were available. Laws had been enacted enabling hourly workers to have a collective voice in determining the terms of their employment. Working-class blue collar families were the core constituency of the Democratic Party. 

The prospects for a better life seemed unlimited. The Social Security Act President Roosevelt signed into law in 1935 provided social insurance for the disabled and retired. This was accomplished in spite of vehement Republican opposition that continues yet today. “Happy Days Are Here Again” was not just a song; it was the Democratic Party’s anthem.            

During the 1960s and 1970s, Democrats expanded their focus on social justice issues. This resulted in additional segments of the population receiving the attention and support of the Democratic Party. The common thread binding these minority groups together was their shared exposure to social, political and economic discrimination. 

These expansions of the Party’s focus were appropriate; there is no justification for American citizens to be discriminated against because of their minority group status. However, there was a problem with the manner in which it was done. Instead of expanding the Party’s base, the Dem’s working-class blue-collar families were largely left behind as the focus of attention transferred to others. That was an unnecessary and consequential mistake. 

A newly added group, of particular significance to this article, was the Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM). By the late 1960s, the WLM’s efforts to increase public recognition of injustices confronting American women had gained substantial momentum. It was an exciting time, but in 1973, after the Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade that the U.S. Constitution protects a woman's liberty to choose to have abortion, the issue of abortion rights — and a new source of political divisiveness — was born.  

The WLM, Planned Parenthood, and Democratic Party have consistently taken a hard-line pro-choice, stance on a woman’s right to end an unwanted pregnancy. Supporting abortion as an unrestricted civil right has proved to be problematic.

Many regard abortion as the termination of a human life. This position, the "pro-life" stance, was quickly adopted by the Republican Party. It has been effectively used by the GOP in attempting to assert its moral superiority. Doing so brought Republicans the support of evangelical Christians, an immense single-issue anti-abortion voting bloc — which has frequently had a deciding impact on close elections. 

The issue might not be so much about abortion as it is with unrestricted access to abortion. It is almost certainly true that a majority of people, even those who oppose abortion, would at least privately concede that circumstances exist wherein an abortion might be the least wrong solution to a difficult and/or tragic situation.   

However, supporting unrestricted access to abortion carries a quite different connotation. Senatorial Candidate Gordon Douglas Jones, a Democrat from Alabama, reportedly stated during a 2017 interview that he favors legal abortion, without restriction, right up until the baby emerges blue and flailing from the womb. 

Senator Jones, a former prosecuting attorney, should recognize that the ‘right without restriction’ he supports is not for abortion; it is, rather, infanticide. Unfortunately, variations of his position are often regarded as defining the "pro-choice" message. 

The issue needs to be readdressed for the purpose of defining reasonable and realistic abortion policies. Unrestricted rights simply do not exist. The existence of social order is built upon norms and mores — i.e., rules and regulations respective to virtually everything people do. 

Presidential administrations such as those of George W. Bush and Donald Trump are too high of a price to pay for the Democratic Party’s allowing itself to be branded by Senator Jones’ definition of abortion rights. 

Republican concern for the unborn begins at conception and ends when the baby emerges blue and flailing from the womb. Give that some thought; it’s an excellent example of their continuing duplicity.     

David Frederick, a centrist-based Independent, regards extremist political partisanship as a dangerous threat to the well-being and security of middle-class Americans. He further believes reestablishing coordinated grassroots truth-to-power messaging is a prerequisite for diminishing that threat. dcf13343@gmail.com

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