Friday, January 8, 2010

Where is the Opposition Party?

A robust democracy requires an opposition party. Unfortunately, at this time in American history, we do not have an opposition party, only an obstructionist one.

An opposition party adds value to a democracy by providing realistic alternative approaches to the problems facing the country. Hence, the widely-used term “Loyal Opposition”. An effective opposition party provides checks and balances on the “tyranny of the majority”.

Our country would be well-served if we had such a party. Unfortunately, the current crop of Republicans does not qualify. On health care, they have just been a party of NO, never presenting a reasonable alternative. On national security, they have been even worse, with close-to-treasonous utterances from the former Vice President, and similar non-value-added rhetoric from several of their senators and their propaganda arms in conservative hate media. Even on their generations-long mantra of reducing taxes, they have been a colossal failure as evidenced by both Reagan’s and Bush’s handling of the economy.

At one point in our history, we used to have loyal Republicans. Even if I disagreed with their policies, I admired people like Jacob Javits, Christie Whitman, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. They are patriots, not demagogues.

It would be healthy for the country if we had a loyal opposition party. Maybe the Republican party will come to its senses and marginalize its tea party noise machine. It would be even better if an effective opposition party came from the progressive left to counter some of Obama’s moves toward the right since the election, such as Afghanistan, open government, and gay rights. One can only dream.

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