Party Conformity

I consider myself a liberal.

AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) is America’s premier pro-Israel lobby. They’re considered — across the board — to be a pretty right-wing group in terms of Middle East politics and America-Israel issues. A few weeks ago, during the heat of the Biden-Settlements dispute, I went to Washington for its annual Policy Conference. I went to the conference to hear AIPAC’s view on the issues and try to learn about Middle East politics and maneuverings.

It’s interesting to me that each time I’m in a discussion with another liberal on the topic of Israel, or settlements, and Palestinians, they almost always say something like, “Well, you were at AIPAC, so we know how you feel about this,” as if my mere presence at an AIPAC event sculpts my ideology or defines my political principles, and that I am somehow being unfaithful to the Democratic party by listening to speakers who unconditionally support and defend the State of Israel.

This is a problem with America today.

American political ideology is too centered around allegiance to a specific party platform. Conformity has become the norm, and more and more people have begun to settle for less. I don’t believe that there are two Democratsor two Republicans in the country who agree unreservedly on every single issue. But still,Democrats vote for Democrats, republicans vote for republicans, and congress is deadlocked.

We saw this conformity in action just a few weeks ago when Rep. Bart Stupak, an anti-abortion Democrat, came to a compromise with the White House and allowed for some pro-abortion language in the healthcare overhaul. Right-wing groups who had hailed him as a unique hero dropped their endorsements of him, and the Democrats rejoiced in his “change of heart”.

It’s all about the party platform. It’s a skewed system. Because if someone’s slipping off of it, they’d better hop back on quickly: or someone’s going to push them off.

UPDATE: Bart Stupak will be retiring from congress this year.


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