The Left's dilemma: daring to pull together (and daring not to)
September 4, 2011
"I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." --Will Rogers
As evidenced by this all-too-familiar quote, the problem of party unity is hardly a new one for the US Democratic Party. Rarely has the problem been more evident than the current day, when Tea Party Republicans can so thoroughly dominate US political discussion while Democrats -- who control a rather larger portion of the federal government -- struggle to make their ideas heard, much less implemented into law.
Despite campaigning on the issue of jobs in the 2010 elections, Republicans have successfully deflected any action on the issue -- themselves or by Democrats -- by loudly marching in lockstep on a carefully determined series of issues: abortion, unions, debt/gov't spending. As long as Democrats are content to allow themselves to be shouted down, Republicans will continue to control the nation's conversation and agenda.
Media complicity in this matter doesn't help either; Tea Party branding makes for easy, no-effort stories. When Tea Partiers crashed Democratic town halls, it was news -- but when progressive Democrats make their unhappiness known at Republican town halls, without a "brand name" to hook the story around, news just doesn't get made.
On the other hand, there are those who say, to support President Obama, one must support him wholly and unreservedly, and any act of criticism against him by a Democrat is no less than an act of treason. The danger here is that to emulate the Republicans too closely is to become them -- or at least to live down to their preconceptions of liberal values as nothing more than mindless chants of rote like their own. Shall the Left exchange being shouted down by one voice on the Right for being shouted down by one voice among their own?