As frustrating as it is to be a Republican in Obama’s America, our deepest empathy should flow to our beleaguered Democratic neighbors. Not only must they bear the burden of this administration’s incompetence, corruption, and human rights violations — but they also harbor the heartache of multiple promissory notes that candidate Obama wrote, but that President Obama failed to cash.
Today in the The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf, peels back the sopping dressing from the sucking wound that is Democratic discontent with Obama.
But here’s what I find alarming: Confronted with a president who 1) spied on every American; 2) covered up torture; 3) continued a War on Drugs ruinous to minorities and whole foreign nations; 4) killed hundreds of innocents in drone strikes; 5) waged war illegally and killed an American citizen without due process (while suppressing the legal reasoning used to do so); 6) let high-ranking national-security officials break the law with impunity; and 7) persecuted whistleblowers—confronted with all of those transgressions, more than four in 10 Americans still approve of the job Obama is doing. And most of them are loyal Democrats. Partisanship and tribalism are overriding the moral compass of too many liberals, who ought to be furious with Obama. National-security policies he unilaterally pursued will be harming the U.S., its moral standing, and its most vulnerable citizens for years if not decades to come, especially since Democrats are poised to make civil illibertarian Hillary Clinton their party’s next leader.
You don’t have to agree with their ideology, objectives or worldview to feel their pain. And now, on election eve, is no time to swat them across the nose with a newspaper for their votes in 2008 and 2012.
As a few of our Democratic neighbors shuffle forlornly into the polling places Tuesday, these facts will weigh heavily on their minds. For some, it will be a bridge too far. They will not muster the strength to rise and go forth. They’ve lost the will to make excuses for this president and for the Democrats in Congress who have backed him every step of the way, but who now resort to feigning outrage at his policies.
If you back someone into corner, by bludgeoning his party or his erstwhile president, you force him to fight to avoid losing face. Instead, consider the art of war advice usually attributed to Sun Tzu: “Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.”
That little paragraph from The Atlantic, with a link to the article, could be part of that bridge.
If we approach our Democratic brethren with a sense of our common humanity, and with grace for a fellow sinner, then we may look back some day and realize, in the words of a once-inspiring aspiring leader, that “this was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals.“