Dear Mr President: A Few Words about Acrimonious Partisan Debate

You said recently that “we” must stop arguing from partisans’ standpoint and come together on what’s good for the country. I am not completely sure who the “we” refers to. It probably includes the media, citizens, and the politicians they elect.

In what follows below, I would hate to sound supercilious; I am trying to be compassionate, in fact. I hope you will appreciate, not hold it against me although I confess I am a conservative Republican who did not vote for you and probably will not in the future.

We are having acrimonious “partisan” discussions because Americans don’t all agree about what works or about what’s moral. Those are two excellent reasons to disagree loudly. Disagreeing loudly is how it’s done in a democracy. It’s hoped two good things will emerge from loud disagreements:

1 The nature of the disagreements will be better understood than otherwise would be the case. In other words, unseemly partisan discussion is expected to help us fight over real issues, rather than over misunderstandings,

2 When each party voices its viewpoint loudly and clearly, it’s easier to reach an agreement than would be the case if everyone stayed politely quiet.

To summarize: The political arena is not your bank vice-president grandmother’s living-room. Oops ! I should not have mentioned the fact that your grandmother was a middle-class person. That was a low blow. I am very ashamed.

When it comes to the parlous economic situation of this country, there is a Grand Canyon separating you and your team from people like me. I am glad to be able to help you measure the chasm.

You seem to believe in heaping more debt on our children’s and grand-children’s heads, and perhaps beyond. We believe that public borrowing interferes with the normal economic forces that create both income and jobs. This is not a minor difference of opinion. If one of us is right, the other is terribly wrong. There is no smoothing this over.

Your actions and statements of members of your team, and of your party (not so much your own statements) lead me to believe that you think the expansion of government is a good thing. People like me think it’s a bad thing. This for two reasons. The first reason is that letting the government do for people what they should do for themselves is debilitating. It’s injurious to their moral fiber. When I say ; “…people should do for themselves,” I mean singly or through their free association for limited purposes. I also refer to the things they can just buy on the open market if they are allowed to.

The second reason I think the expansion of government is a bad thing is that it entails government taking from people by force what they acquired through their efforts. That’s always immoral, of course although it may be necessary for a limited time and for limited purposes.

So, referring to the speech on jobs you are going to make in a few days, here are examples of some of the things you should say if you wanted my side to talk less loudly and with less acrimony. Those are just examples. I will give you a longer list if you ask.

1 Declare that you eliminate the federal Environmental Protection Agency or, at least pare down its budget. That’s not because we are against pure water, unpolluted air, or the Valley Salamander. It’s because my side has become convinced that the EPA’s main job is to interfere with the creation of jobs. Besides, I can’t find the place in the Constitution that puts the federal government in charge of protecting “the environment.” To be precise, I would not necessarily be against it. I think there should be a constitutional amendment allowing this.

2 Declare loud and clear that public employees unions have become too powerful. Even if we accept the dubious “right” of public employees to unionize, there is a big moral question about whether it should be combined with the job tenure public employees in fact enjoy today. Of course, I am thinking about teachers’ union but not only of them.

3 Declare unambiguously the American “right to work.”

If you don’t do these things, or similar things, there is no reason for you to expect that the partisan clamor will subside on my side. And, of course, if you don’t join us, we will try to defeat you in the next election to replace you with someone whose ideas about what works and what’s moral are closer to ours. That’s the way it works in a democracy.

Thank you for your attention. Don’t hesitate to call on my again, Mr President.

Sincerely.

About jacquesdelacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
This entry was posted in Current Events, Socio-Political Essays and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Dear Mr President: A Few Words about Acrimonious Partisan Debate

  1. Gary Kimes says:

    Jacques

    It is always an irritant to me that people, especially republican people, start a political reply blog or opinion with “how it’s done in a democracy”.
    This is, and we are, NOT a democracy. We are a constitutional republic and the very reason that we chose NOT to be a democracy is the very reason that we are losing our republic. Democracies have never worked for very long and when we call ourselves one and act as one and try to promote such to other nations we start to act the part that has us forget that we are a constitutional republic. Just what the globalists want. GK

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Gary: I think the technical difference between “constitutional republic” and “democracy” is unimportant in this context. The difference is of interest to a few political scientists and to adults who have a good memory reaching back to high-school
      Incidentally, although I am a man of immense culture, I have trouble recalling a historical example of a “democracy,” as you use the word.

  2. Bruce says:

    I’m less concerned about getting the right answer on a political theory question like this as I am about what is happening to our counrty. Fact is, there is a double standard in America for what is considered acrimonious speech that depends entirely on who is speaking. Does it really matter whether I live in something called a democracy or a constitutional republic or a representative democracy? It’s more important to recognize that there is an insidious disease infecting our society. Take the following example. A white person, regardless of political affiliation, is not even permitted to utter many words in the English language in public. If you don’t believe me, try it. If you do it at work, you can be fired. A Black person has immunity in this regard and does not have any such restrictions. Reverend Wright, Obama’s pastor (oops, his “former” pastor who he never actually listened to for 20 years) was not hate mongering in his sermons. (AmeriKKK) He was just being passionate and actually loves being an American.
    The double standard also extends to the political arena. When the state media comments on a gaff by a liberal politician they often explain it away by saying “he miss-spoke and was just being emotional about an issue he cares so deeply about”. A conservative better not even spell potato wrong or it might be the number one thing for which he’s remembered. (Dan Quale) The state media defines civil debate. Advantage liberals. As a conservative you have one arm tied behind your back in order to level the playing field. (fairness)
    Look on the bright side, there’s hope when Obama pleads for civility. He only does it when he’s on the ropes. Our president is a self absorbed man child who is a product of the entitlement America this country has been nourishing since the New Deal. His vision for our country is big government socialism. Thank God he’s lazy.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Bruce: I don’t disagree. I just have another hill to die for. The double standard has been a fact of life for years. Everyone sees through it. I think it does not matter except with respect to the education of children. I don’t know what to do about the latter.

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