Wednesday, November 03, 2004

People, People Why Are We Fighting?

The bloodbath seems to have begun within the Democratic Party. Even before Kerry conceded, the commenters on more liberal sites were calling for the heads of Terry McAuliffe and just about everyone else associated with the Party. While cleaning house after such a painful loss is probably a good thing, we might not want to be too hasty about it. Let's take some time to reflect on what happened and why and how we can avoid it in the future.

And, please... can we not have the internecine warfare that is already rearing its ugly head? I had hoped we left that behind with the primaries as all of us- liberal and conservative, New Dem and Old- came together as a Party for a common goal. Today's comment boards on sites like Kos and Atrios were full of venom for moderates and New Dems as the internet Left demands a purge.

But does that really make sense? We lost on values, people. The Party can no longer write off large swaths of the country and ignore those people's values. But to acknowledge those values is not to become Republican Lite. And moderate does not mean weak-kneed. We just need to reframe the values debate. We need to explain to people how equal rights for all is a bedrock American value. We need to stop being afraid to say that while we support abortion rights, we think it ought to be rare. We need to remind voters that religious liberty is a central part of the American experiment and that separation of church and state benefits both institutions.

Since Bill Clinton left office the Democratic Party has been silent on values issues. Maybe in part because we have disparate values within our Party. But that is no different than America as a whole. What we need to do is unite the country under a set of universal, American values like tolerance, liberty, equality, etc.


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