It’s time to admit that the ship of any sparse hope of party unity has sailed long ago.
There no such thing as “typical” in Washington anymore. The crossroads at which we find ourselves is one of many options, many grim and fatalistic prospects. Capitol Hill is a grab-bag, a random potpourri of eclectic figures, off-color parties, members of those parties who don’t necessarily fit any particular mold.
The right has moved right-er, the left has moved left-er, and the center–well, the center’s slowly evaporated into the already polluted air. Polarizing figure after polarizing figure has made the front page. For every thousand people who follow a radical Republican, a thousand more follow a deranged Democrat.
Harmony’s ship has sailed.
And so the question becomes: what are the practical implications of the emergence of such an atypical political climate? (Warning: I’m about to commend the Democrats. This may sound unusual, as they haven’t done anything right in quite some time. If this is not something that you can handle, please stop reading here.)
Today, in the wake of President Obama’s compromise with Republicans (that got the middle class out of the doghouse and extended unemployment insurance at the expense of allowing the top two percent of income earners off the hook), Democrats in Congress, understated as they may have been, displayed a distinct type of civil disobedience.
The Republicans held the middle class hostage. Why? Because they could. The White House put an apologetic stamp of approval on the Republican tax plan. Why? Because they had to. But today–knowing full well that in just a few short weeks, the tables will take a very sharp turn–Democrats stood on principle.
America, on this crazy journey over the past two years–during which steady duplicity has replaced morality and a dark blanket of fear has shrouded any remaining hope–we’ve lost our sanity. Like water from a sponge, politics has been drained of its conscience. But today the Democrats finally grew a pair and stuck to their principles. If they had committed themselves to their values–started protecting the middle class at a lesser expense–would we be in this position today?