Monday, October 4, 2010

One Nation Really IS What It's All About

If you were in Washington, DC this past Saturday - and especially if you were on the National Mall - we're fairly certain you would have been hard-pressed to miss the "One Nation Working Together" march.

While the crowd is estimated to have been about 175,000 - nearly 100,000 more than was estimated at the ultra-conservative Glenn Beck-organized rally about a month ago - this crowd also had a significantly different makeup. Instead of being mostly white, older, politically far-right conservatives, this gathering seemed to include a racially, economically, generationally, and politically diverse group.

Old labor groups like the AFL-CIO mixed with new ones, like the SEIU, the New York City Democratic Socialists rubbed elbows with the National Baptist Convention - even the mine workers and the environmentalists seemed to be  getting along at Saturday's Washington DC event.

We point this out in light of a syndicated column by Thomas Friedman published over the weekend. Friedman's opinion piece calls for some amorphous, new third party to come to power that could cut a middle course between the left-leaning Democrats, and the far-right Republicans. It's not that we think such an idea is impossible or implausible; we've even discussed amongst ourselves that such an idea might not be bad for the nation.

The problem lies in Mr. Friedman's premise that some third party would be able to solve the massive array of issues that face America by somehow pushing both long-established parties out of the way, and grabbing the mantle of change. That idea is simply ridiculous, on its face.

As we've mentioned before, the soul of government is compromise - and our own government is set up specifically to work best when compromise occurs.

A great many Americans foolishly convinced themselves that Mr. Obama would be able to provide the kind of instant change they've become used to seeing in TV and movies when he and the Democratic Party were swept into power just a short two years ago.

Instead of instant change, forced upon the country, what Americans have received is the kind of gradual change achieved through hard-fought compromise, change that - if allowed to work - will likely lead to longer-term prosperity for all Americans, as it did when Republicans and President Clinton worked together on effective policies in the 1990s.

As the march this past weekend in Washington, DC displayed very well, when different groups work together for common causes, the effect is usually greater than when groups of one ideology work alone.

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