What is The Real American Exceptionalism…And Why It Exists
Tell me, Republicans, if you go into a meeting to negotiate a new contract with a supplier or a potential business partner, do you demand that every detail be your way or are you open to getting most of what you want while giving the other party most of what they want so that while neither side wins, neither side loses? Are you open to seeing the arguments and needs of the other side to make a profitable, agreeable arrangement for both sides? Or would you choose to blow up the negotiation in order to get your way?
Essentially, what the two parties traditionally do is negotiate in a collegial way that enables both sides to come away with something that they could be happy about. Neither may not have gotten everything they wanted, but they each got enough to be happy with the results of the negotiation. That’s the way business works.
Moreover, by sitting down and talking to each other as companions, rather than as evil-minded, destructive combatants, different ideas, thoughts, and competing interests are exchanged, discussed, and common ground are found. In other words, different viewpoints are aired, all of which leads to better outcomes.
That meeting of minds also has caused government to work over the long term, from George Washington forward because neither side of the political spectrum has all the answers or is absolutely correct.
The idea that only one party has any good ideas and that only one party is correct and that all other ideas are wrong-headed, destructive, and evil only leads to fascism or civil wars as history shows. The Arab Spring is a perfect example of what happens when only one party or one element of society rules.
Democracy means that government is open to the voices and ideas of all people and that negotiated settlements are made which give all people, regardless of political stripe, a feeling of inclusion, value and importance, and worthiness of ideas.
When I hear Republicans attempt to de-legitimize and demonize Democrats or any other group, I can only think that fascism is just around the corner. Certainly that is not the goal of those speaking; it’s probably not even in their minds or hearts. But human nature being what it is, it could easily happen…because that is what happened in far too many other countries around the world throughout history when one party or group sought total control of the political process. When political opponents in toto are characterized as evil, it’s only a short road to all kinds of fascist policies…and fascist politicians.
The great and truly exceptional concept of the United States, from the very beginning, was that all voices partook of decision-making, and an open and freely accessible ballot box enabled all voters to decide the direction of the country, steering the country away from the excesses of either party and towards a more prosperous and just center for all citizens.
Remember that Adams and Jefferson had radically different ideas about the nation’s economy and the direction of the country, and even fought a bitter, ugly campaign for President; yet, they both remained friends until the day they both died.
They were able to maintain their relationship, albeit strained for many years, because they never saw each other as enemies to be hated and despised and utterly destroyed. The phenomena of political opponents as evil enemies, as nearly all of us know, is a recent construct, beginning with Lee Atwater, Gingrich, Cheney and Rove…and which has now been adopted by some on the left.
A healthy democracy, even a democratic republic, requires many voices and negotiated policies; a healthy sense of morality tempered with justice, fairness, caring, and opportunity; and the opportunity for citizen to speak via the ballot box. Without these vital ingredients, democracy fails as does true competitive capitalism.
To my way of thinking, a true Patriot understands the tensions inherent in a true democracy and would never want to change its’ nature of inclusion, argumentation, and negotiation to arrive at solutions about which most citizens can feel content. The current GOP ideology as espoused by Mourdock, however, goes against everything that has made this country exceptional and unique in world history. His is the language of fascism. Unfortunately, that language has become all too common within the GOP over the course of the last 20+ years. It is destructive and dangerous to a healthy democracy.
As a result, that philosophy of exclusion, political dominance, and oppositional hatred must be rejected by every freedom loving American patriot if our democratic republic is to remain viable and exceptional for generations to come.
The political language of divisiveness and hatred as advocated by Gingrich, Atwater, Cheney and Rove must be thoroughly rejected if the best of the American Exceptional tradition of open and free Democracy are to survive. One party fascism has no place in the United States.