Republicans and Democrats Need More Political Self-Awareness 

One of the most famous lines in the English language is actually of Scottish derivation, via the poetry of Robert Burns. As transliterated: "Oh, would some Power the giftee give us, to see ourselves as others see us."

We would recommend that maxim to the cadres of the two major political parties, both of which had indulged — and perhaps over-indulged — in some positive thinking on their own behalf last week. (See "Politics," p. 8.)

Consider, for instance, the appearance of Vice President Mike Pence as keynote speaker at the state Republican Party's annual Statesmen's banquet in Nashville. He and other prominent Republicans had a high time blowing their own horn, and who can begrudge them on an occasion like that?

  • Jackson Baker
  • Mike Pence

The problem was that, here and there, the GOP speakers over-spoke themselves in a way that was seriously misleading, and, worse, self-deceptive. Could the Vice President actually believe, as he stated to a rapturous audience, that President Trump is "restoring our traditional alliances" and that "the world is responding to new American leadership"?

With all due respect to the president (and how much is due is up for debate), and without our attempting to judge the long-range effect of his foreign policy, such as it is, even his closest associates acknowledge that Trump is viewed with wary suspicion by those aforementioned allies for his ever-fluctuating policy declarations, and with outright scorn for his decision to take the U.S. out of the Paris climate accords.  

Senator Lamar Alexander, as chairman of the Senate Health Committee, is taking the lead in breaking away from the hitherto closed ranks of Republican Obamacare decriers to hold hearings and entertain bipartisan negotiations on health care. Good for him. But to the crowd in Nashville, Alexander boasted of his prior votes with the rest of the GOP pack to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act and vowed, "I'm not going to rest until the 350,000 Tennesseans who buy their insurance on the free market are able to go into that market and buy insurance that they choose to buy and can afford." There's nothing in that statement that an exponent of the ACA couldn't also endorse.

Meanwhile, the five candidates for the chairmanship of the newly restored Shelby County Democratic Party spoke to some worthy goals in two Memphis forums last week. But almost all of them, including eventual chairman-elect Corey Strong, laid what seems to us misguided emphasis on a need to create the most forbidding litmus test possible for participation in party affairs — one that would almost guarantee, say, that anyone who had ever cast a Republican vote need not apply.

Really? Might as well put a sign on party headquarters: "Converts Not Wanted/Take Your Nasty Votes Away."

All we are recommending, to the true believers in either party, is that they step aside from their accustomed bromides and bloviations and make an effort to examine their preconceived notions with a neutral eye. They might actually learn something.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.




Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment



Hungry Memphis

Midtown Donuts Opening February 1st

Fly On The Wall Blog

On Gannett, The Commercial Appeal, and Digital First

News Blog

Memphians Vie to be Best Pinball Player in State

Music Blog

Listen Up: Bailey Bigger

Politics Beat Blog

No Surprise: Strickland Announces for Reelection

News Blog

Midtown Store to Re-Open Under Safety Conditions

Hungry Memphis

Rizzo's Closing (temporarily) for Repairs

Intermission Impossible

Addicted to Capote? Cloud9 and Mark Chambers tell Tru Stories


Readers also liked…

© 1996-2019

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation