Democracy and Parties

Much has been made, especially in the recent press, of the “civil war” going on in the Republican Party, with the proximate subject being the contest over tactics for handling Obamacare while funding the government.

Think about that for a moment, though.

One party demands submission to the party line.  Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, UT) are well known for their ability to enforce party discipline, and they have the able help of their seconds, Congressman Steny Hoyer (D, MD) and Senators Chuck Shumer (D, NY) and Dick Durbin (D, IL).  This party’s decisions are made behind closed doors, and the results are presented to the public with no discussion of alternatives.

The other party openly debates, often with considerable zeal, the party’s position on strategy and tactics, on particular issues, and on the party’s defining principles.  No decision is taken secretly; the debate is right out front for the public to see—and to participate.

Both parties claim democratic principles as their core.

One party actually lives those principles.  There’s no civil war going on.  That’s the messiness of democracy.  That’s democracy in action.

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