May 03, 2006
Tents make me tense
A word on the near-civil war in the Republican Party. I hate disagreement, I hate culture war, and I hate civil war. The angry tone that the immigration debate has taken bothers the hell out of me, and I regret -- often very bitterly -- that so many people are calling each other RINOs and traitors and worse.
The paradox is that all this hatred and all this contentiousness tends to makes me respect the Republican Party. (Something that doesn't make sense without explanation.)
In one corner, the Republican Party contains people who want to felonize and deport every last illegal alien, as well as imprison their employers. In the other corner are people who would legalize them and who favor an open border.
These two positions are of course irreconcilable, and it's hard to believe that they're all in the same tent. But in the tent they are.
That's the famous Republican Big Tent.
Away to where? The Democratic Party? Instead of a big tent, the Democrats stand for the multicultural diversity of many small tents. I suppose you could argue that they're "separate but equal," but I think they're equal more in the French sense than the American sense. There doesn't seem to be any real interest in (or hope of) reconciling them. Instead, religious bigots (mostly of the Islamic variety) who would execute homosexuals are in one tent, while the gay activists are in another. Religious wife beaters are in one tent, and the feminists in another. They are all fed the line that they're part of some "Rainbow" of "multiculturalism," and it is hoped that the approach of separate-but-equal tents will keep them all happy.
I think that's as bogus as a bad check which hasn't yet bounced but only because it hasn't been presented for payment.
Bad as the Republican Big Tent is, I see it as at least making an effort. It strikes me as more sincere than this let's pretend game. The Republicans represent dissent and struggle, but I think they have more of the kind of tolerance that comes from an honest airing of views than the Democrats, who seem very accepting of a balkanized America. And make no mistake; multiculturalism means balkanization.
To be balkanized, to be in separate tents, that means giving up on assimilation. It means the inverse of e pluribus unum.
This is not to say that the Republicans are there yet. It just means they haven't given up on the idea.
While I'm tempted to call this "dissent versus demagoguery," that wouldn't be right because both parties contain plenty of demagogues. And lots of Democrats sincerely believe in multiculturalism. Sincerity is not demagoguery.
And of course, the fact that the Republicans are wracked by dissent does not translate into victory in the fall.
(Little help my pity will do them.)
posted by Eric on 05.03.06 at 09:31 AM
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