We have principles, dear

In the wake of the Republican losses, and the Democrats’ win, we have heard the first round of the analysis. Statistics abound about who voted for whom, who turned out and who stayed home. We’ve heard the anger, disappointment and vitriol that have formed the basis of wild conspiracy theories on the right. On the other end, we have seen the left heap blame and bile, rooted in gloating, on the right. All of this excess in misbehavior has made the calls for compromise, civility and tolerance seem a little bit naïve as we regroup after the resultant facts are in.

Karl Rove would not trust the channel that feeds him when presented with the reality that his beloved party had lost. Mitt Romney has reverted to what must be his unscripted self, believing that votes from Democrats were bought, pitched to ignorant receivers of handouts. Newt Gingrich didn’t approve of Romney’s comments, which is like the wicked witch admonishing a winged monkey. Those guys are all the pigs wrestling with each other – they both get dirty, but the pig loves it. None of that should matter to a sensible person, and doesn’t to me.

But let’s look at what might be some more modest and considered opinions. These are the Bobby Jindals, the John Boehners, who advise their party to moderate and entertain some possibilities of
compromise. “But we should not lose out principles.” Well, that all sounds fine. After all, the Democrats have their stance, and so should the Republicans maintain theirs. But this talking point about principles is loaded doublespeak. The term has instant appeal to the general populace. But is it a principle to protect dubious wealth? Is another principle that certain people deserve privileges that others do not? Is it a principle that some people are a little more equal and entitled to vote? Shall we abide by the principle that women should not have rights to make decisions about their bodies, and some families must rely on the emergency room for health care? Does Grover Norquist get to keep his No Tax Pledge principle?

Use of the term principles is a sad attempt to unify a party that still tries to unite a wild swath of views. There are Ayn
Rand-worshipping die-hards, evangelical anti-abortion fanatical evolution-denying Tea Party crazies, who have drunk a kool-aid of reactionary policies that only resolve in a fantasy land. There are the David Brooks moderates who would not mind a resurrected Eisenhower or Gerald Ford in office. And there’s everything in between.

The Republicans are a curious potpourri of sense and nonsense. No appeal to “maintain principles” will make this party become less than a sad, twisted self-contradicting amalgamation. Republicans, you need to deal with the purists who refuse to compromise in your ranks. Shed them or swell them. Until you can resolve this, there are no principles to hold dear.

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About Jim

I've been leading outdoor environmental education in the YMCA since the 1970s. I love teaching nature, history, current events, being a dad, fixing stuff, groups, and general thinking.
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2 Responses to We have principles, dear

  1. JP says:

    Good points on principles! One question I had; You write, “We’ve heard the anger, disappointment and vitriol that have formed the basis of wild conspiracy theories on the right. On the other end, we have seen the left heap blame and bile, rooted in gloating” Then you procede to give examples of those on the right doing what you just said–Rove and Romney. And then you procede to your argument, giving no examples of those on the left heaping bile or gloating. I only ask because I have seen plenty of analysis on the left, and I know it is a blind spot of mine so I look to you for examples, but I didn’t see any bile or gloating from the left. Did you simply neglect to give those specific examples, as you gave for those on the right, or were you just saying as is so often said that “really, both sides are the same, just on opposite extremes, and that is why I am in the center”?
    I actually am genuinely curious about this, and if there were pundits or politicians on the left heaping bile and gloating, I do want to know and I want them taken to task. For I know there is no time to gloat. The money that funds the right will rise again, and be better organized in 2014 and 2016 when they won’t have an opponent who has the advantage of being the incumbent. Far from gloating, this is the time for everyone on the left and in the center to get to work and hold our government accountable.

    • Jim says:

      Who is behaving badly on the left? I’m not able to give examples of any famous pundits, except those who restrict their commentary to “they lost, we won, get over it.” I have seen some less famous people – comments on Facebook and trolls in the comments section of some opinion columns. Sorry, I can’t drop a name so you can sic the dobermans on them.

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