Monday, January 21, 2008

Clean Your Own House

There’s been a lot of discussion about bipartisanship lately; I got into a discussion (okay, mostly it was me ranting) over at Sharon Cobb’s place yesterday with someone pleading for an end to partisan divisiveness. There’s even been mention of it in comment threads here.

It’s just really hard to take these pleas for unity seriously when conservatives play the same old games and pull crap like this:
The Tennessee Republican Party has chosen this occasion to diminish Dr. King's message of peace, hope, and equality and instead use it to score political points.

From their weekly message:
It was the Democrats who fought to keep blacks in slavery and passed the discriminatory Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. The Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan to lynch and terrorize blacks. The Democrats fought to prevent the passage of every civil rights law beginning with the civil rights laws of the 1860's, and continuing with the civil rights laws of the 1950's and 1960's.


Today, Democrats, in pursuit of their socialist agenda, are fighting to keep blacks poor, angry and voting for Democrats. Examples of how egregiously Democrats act to keep blacks in poverty are numerous.

You know, liberals have been getting kicked in the teeth by an elephant for at least the past 10 years, and as the above example proves, the right is still dishing it out. This goes further back than the Clinton impeachment, and continues today with such blatant examples as Jonah Goldberg's fact-light book calling liberals and liberalism “fascist.” (And that is almost a complement compared to what Ann Coulter has said about us in her books: Godless, Slander, and Treason.) The Republicans in Congress have been more obstructionist and threatened more filibusters than in any other period in modern Congressional history (Digby wrote the definitive post on this back in December), prompting "unifiers" like Trent Lott to gloat: "The strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail … and so far it’s working for us.”

Apparently when liberals defend themselves against such absurd things, it’s divisive and partisan. But doing these absurd things, well, that’s okay. I just don’t get that.

Look, I’m just as sick of living in these Divided States as the next person, but I don't think any of this is anything new. Partisan sniping has been part of politics forever. In 1952 presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson uttered one of my all-time favorite quotes on the campaign trail: "I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them."

You think a line like that comes during a campaign of unity, hugs and kisses?

People are tired of the “lack of civility” in our public discourse I get that. I’m tired of it too. But these pleas from the right for Democrats to put aside partisanship for the good of the country just sound an awful lot like “shut up!” when the GOP and its henchmen in outter wingnuttia keep dishing out the mud.

Don’t tell us not to complain "in the spirit of unity" when the Tennessee GOP calls us racists and blames us for oppressing minorities, just in time for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We have every right to be offended.

Instead, get on the phone and call the TN GOP office and tell them you don’t think it honors Dr. King’s legacy to use him as a partisan tool. Threaten to withhold donations. Tell them to cut it out, “for the good of the country.”

How does that sound? If people really want unity, if people really want an end to partisan sniping, then let each side demand it from themselves first.

Because otherwise, all you’re doing is telling the other side to shut up. And that’s not in the spirit of unity, is it?

(h/t, Tennessee Views)