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Dems, Republicans need each other? YES!

March 9, 2011 - Lee Smith
The New York Times columnist David Brooks offered the nation something simple and profound recently. On The NewsHour on PBS, he said something that will flabbergast the vehement and self-righteous. What he said is this: Democrats and Republicans need each other.

He meant it too. And he wasn’t making a cynical pitch about enemies being good for political gain. Instead, he suggests that in the ongoing experiment to see whether man can govern himself (democracy), there has to be a perpetual exchange and clash of ideas, with a winnowing out of bad ones. No Democrat, nor his ideas, is right all the time. No Republican, nor her ideas, is right all the time.

Fundamentally, this means the United States, in a political sense, is on a long, pragmatic search for objectivity. What works, what doesn’t, and why?

Obviously, it is a frustrating effort. When you feel like you have an answer, or THE answers, and others object and fight you, you question their facts, motives and even sanity. When such a clash reaches the greater public, it is amplified. Eventually, there is a settlement, perhaps a compromise. But in the long run, there is the ultimate goal: resolution. This is something that becomes accepted by a strong consensus as a beloved principle, as if it were never fought about. Perhaps something like women’s suffrage or acknowledgement that prohibition (of alcohol) cannot work.

From what Brooks offers, citizens should take encouragement. While the United States government is in a financial mess, settlement and resolution are inevitable. The political process works things out. While the process can avoid reality for periods of time (as we have seen until now), it cannot avoid it forever.


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