Sunday, June 18, 2006

Unity in Disagreement (Part II)

Just to clarify something: The point of my previous post was not whether the Democrats have plans or ideas but that those plans and ideas cannot coalesce into a unifying platform for the party so long as major segments of the party are simply unwilling to engage other segments seriously about the very serious problems this country is facing. Unfortunately, some of those segments reflexively reject such engagement because they think even acknowledging the other segment is somehow a surrender to their position.

And this isn't just an indictment of the "Peter Beinart wing" (though I can see how my previous post could be seen that way). I've met plenty of anti-war leftists who are are similarly unwilling to engage seriously with those with whom they disagree.

Democrats have allowed critics, both internal and external, to define what are "acceptable" ideas to discuss, needlessly hobbling our ability to even begin to form a serious, unifying vision for the party.

I'm not calling for anyone to embrace anyone else's ideas on what should be done about Iraq. I'm simply asking people to call bullshit anytime someone requires them to reflexively condemn certain positions even if (especially if) they really do disagree with them.

Republicans want Democrats to fight with each other about the ground rules for the discussion. They know that this will prevent us from having the discussion. Democrats should not fall into that trap. They should reject outright the suggestion that to talk seriously with someone about his ideas is, ipso facto, an endorsement of those ideas.

Adults discuss their disagreements. That is what makes them adults.

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