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By Keith D. Cummings
Is it just me? Was I in some twilight zone vacuum where Republicans swept nearly all contested Senate races, picked up seats in the House of Representatives, solidifying a control they have held since 1994, and President Bush won re-election with more votes than any U.S. president in the country's history? I seem to have returned to the real world where the obstructionist Senate Minority Leader held his seat and the Republican President barely won a hotly contested election without a majority of votes.
At least, that's how it seems when I read the nonsense spewed by Nancy Pelosi, Molly Ivins and the king of insipid pundits, Paul Krugman. Krugman is the worst, in his Op/Ed where he insists that the Democrats can't "Surrender to GOP Intolerance." As a libertarian who rarely embraces either party, though I tend to side more with the GOP than the Democrats, I want to know in what world Paul Krugman lives.
Bob Casey, former Pennsylvania Governor and Democrat was denied time on the national stage at the convention because he committed the unforgivable sin of being pro-life. The party of "tolerance" wouldn't tolerate someone who differed from the party line. Christie Todd Whitman, the pro-choice former Governor of New Jersey was offered, and accepted, a cabinet-level position in the "radical" Bush administration. But, Paul Krugman says that Republicans are the intolerant ones.
In 2002, as the ailing and aged former Senator from South Carolina Strom Thurmond was facing retirement, his 100th birthday and, in all likelihood his departure from this veil of tears, C. Trent Lott praised him at a celebration of his life. The party of "tolerance" immediately called fro Lott's head and managed to do what many conservatives had wanted for some time, stripped him of his Senate leadership. When Robert Byrd, the "crazy aunt in the attic" of the Senate subsequently used the dreaded n-word on national television, he was quickly forgiven as being "taken out of context." I didn't think a white person could ever use the n-word: under any circumstances.
A few weeks ago, a woman walked into the bar where I happily serve delightful adult beverages to all who enter, and we proceeded to engage in a spirited political debate. She was for Kerry, because he was a Democrat and because he wasn't Bush. I was for Bush because I love my nephews and nieces and I don't want to see any of my family killed in 9/11 Part II. The beauty of America is that people can disagree and still be Americans, right?
Two Sunday evenings ago, at a Halloween party with friends and co-workers, this same "tolerant" Democrat spent nearly an hour trying to alienate me from the people with whom I work: the people whom I consider friends. Why? Because I supported Bush I must be a Nazi, or a Nazi sympathizer. I was compared to Jews who supported Hitler in the 1930s. All of this simply because we disagreed on matters of public policy.
I don't defend every decision George W. Bush has made in the White House. On domestic policy, I see tax cuts as the only thing that Bush has done right. No Child Left Behind, the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit and others are issues that I opposed and continue to oppose. On issues of national policy, there are disagreements between my friends and even some of my family and I. That doesn't make either side evil. Honest people can disagree and still love one another.
Unless, it appears, you're part of the Democrat elite. For Democrats, tolerance continues to mean that we must tolerate them, but they're free to hate and vilify us. Nearly 60 million Americans told George W. Bush that, while they don't agree with him on everything, they agree with him on enough that they're willing to give him four more years to prove himself. In more than 30 states, people told the Democrats that they're out of power, and they should deal with it. If they ever want to regain control in this country, they would do well to learn from the Republicans. A "big tent" doesn't demand that everyone march in lockstep.
Keith D. Cummings is the author of Opening Bell, a political / financial thriller. His website is http://www.keith-cummings.com.
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