Thursday, April 20, 2006

Way out

Digby addresses the Tomasky piece. He applauds it, but he also expresses reservations that it isn't complete enough. I was particular struck by the following comment:

I don't mean to be dismissive. I think it's important to embrace big ideas and big philosophy and reach for some inspiration. The Democrats have been issuing stultifying laundry lists for as long as I can remember and I couldn't be happier that people are thinking in these terms. But I can't help but feel that we always end up back at the same spot somehow. The unions, the womens groups, the civil rights groups, trial lawyers, consumer advocates --- the whole array of narrow special interests being held responsible for the fact that half of this country really resents the hell out of minorities, women and working people getting a fair shake. And the Democrats continue to pay the political price for that resentment.

I'm all for finding our way out of it. Tomasky's message has real resonance; I like it very much. But I think that if the party stopped trying to figure out ways to get the "special interests" to shut up and started giving them some respectful assurances that they aren't going to be the sacrificial lambs in whatever the new paradigm turns out to be, they might find a little bit more cooperation.

Digby is looking for a way out of the conundrum he describes. Well, what if there isn't a way out? What if that contradiction that he so ably describe is inherent in the kind of "common good" political philosophy that Tomasky describes?

What if, instead of looking for a "way out" of the problem, we simply embrace it as part of the load we have to bear for working for a better world?

There is no magic formula that will allow all the disparate interests that make up the Democratic coalition to work together in peace and harmony. There will always be conflicts. What we need to do is understand that the existance of those conflicts does not require that the coalition shatter.

Stop looking for a way out. Start looking for a way up.


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