A couple of years ago when conservative activists were making noise about primarying Lugar, former Republican senator and UN ambassador John Danforth told the New York Times, “If Dick Lugar, having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”
Welcome to “beyond redemption.”. It was just yesterday that I wrote about what Tuesday’s primary results could mean for our future. Late yesterday, I learned that it could be even worse than I’d feared.
Richard Mourdock is a shining example of today’s intellectually, morally, and philosophically rigid and inflexible Republicans. Even IF there had been any hope that even a flicker of compromise might be a possibility going forward, Richard Lugar’s defeat will be remembered and treated as a clarion call by Republican Congressmen. The bottom line: compromise with Democrats at your own peril. You’ll undoubtedly be primaried by the Tea Party, who will spend whatever it takes to ensure that someone incapable of even considering the idea of compromise takes your seat.
I’m not going to decry this as a Red vs. Blue issue, thought Lord knows it would be easy (and accurate) enough to do just that. No, my concern is what this inflexibility means for our future. If we elect people who believe that negotiation means destroying your ideological adversaries and regarding those who think and believe differently as the enemy, what hope do we have of believing that our elected representatives will be able to achieve consensus? How can we expect that the truly serious issues this country faces will be addressed when all one side is concerned with is effecting the utter destruction of the other?
“Bipartisanship” is not one side waiting for the other cave and meekly come over to their side with their tail between their legs. It’s not completely discounting the validity of opposing points of views. It’s not working to discredit and personally destroy those you disagree with. And it’s certainly not holding up your world view and your narrow agenda as the One, True, and Only Faith.
When we can no longer work with people who think and believe differently, what hope do we really have?