Thursday, September 6, 2012

Burying The Hatchet

No matter how much times change and people change, some things remain the same. On Wednesday, in the midst of a surprisingly positive Democratic National Convention, we were reminded of that old Will Rogers quote, "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."

A small scuffle over some changes to the official Democratic Party Platform happened on the convention floor on Wednesday. Any member of the media, politician, or political pundit who refused to lie to themselves or their audience wasn't truly surprised by this kerfuffle. That said, more than a few media whores - especially those on the highly biased and barely professional right - attempted to make the molehill of a scuffle into a mountain of discontent.

We can assure you, from multiple contacts on the floor of the convention, Wednesday's platform tussle was not a big deal. The fact is, from time to time, we all fight with those we care about, over the topics we care about most. For example, our staff doesn't always agree about who's more to blame for the death of bipartisanship in American government - though the historical and statistical data gives significantly more blame to one side.

Those of us who care deeply about the truth even disagree about facts sometimes, on important topics like jobsdebt and deficits. That doesn't mean we want each other dead.

It was not so long ago that President Clinton himself held a grudge against Barack Obama. We can't say we blame him. Mr. Obama defeated Mr. Clinton's spouse, Hillary Clinton, in one of the most contested presidential primary elections over the last century, just four years ago.

Last night, however, it was clear that President Bill Clinton had chosen to take a different path than those who continue to drag out long-held grudges in the media, or frankly, many of those in the differing factions of each major political party.

President Clinton's primary address at the Democratic National Convention lauded and listed the many achievements of President Obama, and made it clear - there is no question as to where Clinton's support is in this election. Mr. Clinton's spirited and forceful defense of Mr. Obama's policies was not only brilliant, but a brutal smackdown to a Republican Party that has effectively made cooperation a political crime.

"What works in the real world is cooperation," said Clinton, as he praised Obama's history of bipartisan outreach, even while denouncing the scorched earth policies of the right. "Democracy does not have to be a bloodsport."

The barnburner of a speech - the second in two nights at the DNC - was less of a partisan beat down than one might think, though. At his best, President Bill Clinton is still a progressive moderate, the kind of folksy but honest politician who can act more as a referee than as a player.

In short, someone who can confirm the truth that Obama has been a bipartisan President, in an era of extremist Republicans.

There are still those who say the idea of bipartisanship is dying or is dead - that America itself has become so divided along party lines, economic lines, color lines, and any number of other divisions, that we should simply shovel the dirt into the metaphorical coffin, and bury the idea.

As was evident last night at the DNC, if we choose to follow our better angels, as President Clinton did, we may be able to bury something else instead - the hatchet of division.

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