Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The F-Word Democrats Don't Want to Hear

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
--from Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address
Peter Juul at The Liberal Patriot argues that Democrats should practice forbearance rather than the more emotionally satisfying political hardball once they ascend to power. (Click through for the whole article--it's free as is a subscription to our newsletter!)
"[T]he nation’s civic health is even worse than imagined. Those of us concerned with repairing the country’s political and social fabric must first do no harm – and that starts with exercising forbearance in our own political conduct. Given the slim margins held by Democrats in the House and especially in the Senate, it’s hard to see how pushing through statehood for Washington, DC and Puerto Rico or expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court would improve matters. Eliminating or substantively modifying the filibuster should be undertaken in the face of clear Republican obstruction of President Biden’s core agenda of COVID recovery and economic rebuilding, not as a pre-emptive measure. Where escalating political hardball to de-escalate it possessed at least some logic before last November’s election, fighting fire with fire now threatens to inflict permanent damage to American politics and society....
It’s best for President-elect Biden and the upcoming Congress to focus first and foremost on the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery instead. Accountability for the Trump-incited assault on Congress and American democracy remains imperative, but it’s best left to incoming Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice and the relevant oversight and investigation committees of Congress. Resorting to political hardball now may make a number of Democrats and progressives feel better, but it’s no substitute for full accountability for the deeply disturbing events of January 6 or the swift passage of an effective program of pandemic relief and national economic recovery.
Mending the political and social fabric of the nation after the last two-and-a-half months – to say nothing of the last four years – requires forbearance on the part of Democrats, progressives and all those concerned about the fate of American democracy. That doesn’t mean refusing to look backward and only looking forward – it means trusting that the new administration and new Congress will take their obligation to hold those responsible for the attack on our democracy with the full force of the law both seriously and literally. But it also means that we should heed Lincoln’s call “to bind up the nation’s wounds” – and that starts with first doing no harm ourselves."

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