Here’s what’s wrong with American politics. The first of our letters to the editor on today’s page summed it up pretty neatly:
…(W)hile Sen. Barack Obama is an incredible orator and inspires hope for a
post-partisan future, the reality of American politics is partisan.
Astute voters realize this and want the candidate who is best suited to
fight the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton and her team have gone
toe-to-toe with the Republicans and beaten them more often than not.
What’s wrong with American politics, of course, is attitudes such as this letter writer’s. I say this not to endorse Barack Obama or condemn Hillary Clinton. Nor do I mean that this writer is a bad person. In fact, I think it’s a friend of mine (it’s a fairly common name, but I didn’t bother to check; who wrote it is irrelevant).
The problem is the staggering fatalism set forth in that paragraph, the refusal even to allow the possibility of something better than the madness these parties inflict upon our country: "The reality of American politics is partisan." Well, yeah — as long as neither you nor anyone else wants to try for anything better.
But the essence of what’s wrong is the next sentence: "Astute voters realize this and want the candidate who is best suited to fight the (fill in the blank) Party."
The worst candidates are the Democrats who are all about fighting the Republicans, and Republicans who are all about fighting the Democrats. The very best candidates, whatever their labels, are the ones who can see how pointless most of that fighting is, and have the vision and ability to lead us past it.
We need the UnParty, now more than ever.