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The Big Tent Democratic Party

by on September 26, 2010

I had the pleasure of attending the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner, hosted by Clallam County Democrats, last night.  Why Democrats would want to have a dinner named after the Roosevelts I will live to your guesses.  It was, I should describe, a wonderful affair with about 175 attendees, including Senator Maria Cantwell, State Senator Jim Hargrove, State Representative Kevin Van De Wege, retiring State Representative Lynn Kessler (the dinner was in her honor), and County Commissioner – and candidate for state representative – Steve Tharinger.  But I’m not writing to describe to you that people attended an event.  Say, it would be strange if I should write about an event that nobody attended!  No, I write because the dinner had a purpose, and a story to be shared.

As so often happens, when I attend a gathering where there are many people, I become lost in thought, and those thoughts are deep and metaphysical.  I heard some words while I was thinking hard, and they were spoken by the aforementioned Lynn Kessler and others.  “We should have disagreement without being disagreeable;” those words, spoken by a politician whose job is to resolve disagreement, should be words we do not forget.  It was mentioned last night, it has been mentioned in the past, and it will be mentioned again, that political discourse has strayed from the pleasant disagreements to the raucous disagreement for the sake of argument.  Let us remind ourselves that it was not always that way and that that view is not held by both parties.  Nor indeed am I arguing that only Democrats seek progress.  There is a mixture within both parties of wanting pleasant, resolvable, debate, and some within both parties that would  like to play partisan politics.  Whatever problems we have, though, whatever disagreements must be resolved, must be resolved by both parties, not by one.  I see no clear way to do that except disagreement without being disagreeable.

Now, as I said,  deep thoughts sometimes enter my head, especially when I am in a large crowd, thinking.  Well, I was listening to these politicians speak of politics, and have mentioned that discourse is growing louder and more raucous (sort of – I shall return to this thought).  It appears to me that our national thought process of our international relations closely mirror our domestic discourse.  There’s a lot of noise.  And when we start yelling about losing our country in an internal manner (there are people yelling that), there are simultaneously, and often the same people, yelling about losing our country to foreigners – both in terms of immigration and broad international policy.  Fear the Koreans!  Fear the Iranians!  Fear the pirates!  And while you’re at it, give me back my country!  Just a thought.

Well, some people are growing louder and more raucous.  Then again, that’s what the media likes to cover.  The media doesn’t have any interest in telling you that granny sat at home today and watched some news.  Unless it’s their news channel.  So there is, frankly, and last night is not the first time I have noticed, a silent majority.  People don’t yell and scream and attend marches for fewer firefighters – after all, that’s what happens when there are fewer taxes – but rather people who go about their day and even if they’re unemployed and their life sucks you won’t hear about them.  They’re not yelling and screaming.  They’re a silent majority doing their thing.  I know a lot of these people.  So do you.  (And sometimes I get frustrated that they’re not yelling and screaming and making lots of noise about the improvements they want just as much as the people who yell).

Hey, did you notice we have a newish president?  He’s been in office most of two years now.  He’s supposed to have fixed the last thirty years of policies in a jiffy.  We want action and we want action now!  The problem is, there’s this thing called time, and we’re going to have to have an input of time to either fix of screw up (depends on your political views) the situation we’re in now.  So give him some time, Democrats.

A note: the title of this post is also from the dinner; Maria Cantwell talked about the Democrats being a big tent party, welcoming all views and all peoples.

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From → Politics, US Politics

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