With that title, did I just liken Democrat policy to a nuclear bomb? Yes.
The reference, for those who might not recognize it, is to the film Dr. Strangelove, based off of the novel Red Alert. It is a black comedy and political satire, and because it’s a little over a half century old I’ll give a spoiler: nuclear war breaks out and pretty much everybody dies.
Despite the anti-nuclear weapon message of the movie, though, the world did not unilaterally disarm. In the real world, the arms race did not trigger nuclear destruction. In fact, Soviet spending related to nuclear weapons – galvanized by Reagan’s space efforts – was a significant factor in ending, for a while, oppressive tyranny of Iron Curtain countries.
Nuclear weapons did not destroy us all. Instead they did some verifiable and significant good, albeit at no small financial cost to our country. They were simultaneously an existential threat to the entire free world and a force for positive change.
The Republican party has become hopelessly corrupted under Trump; not, thankfully, every Republican politician, but the overwhelming majority of them and the party mechanisms themselves – the punditry, the activists, and the philosophers. The traditional fundamentals of Republicanism are gone, replaced by lesser concerns. A military which acted in the interests of America and her allies now acts in promotion of the President. A respect for free markets, one of the underpinning concepts behind a free people (the ability to perform basic transactions with others free of interference from government), has given way to micromanaging from the highest offices. Even the Constitution itself is being bypassed with cheers from many on the Republican side. The excuses range from “whataboutism” to nationalism disguised as patriotism. They are excuses nonetheless.
The Republican party historically has been positioned as the defender of the structure of the founding and the Constitution. These are no longer what they support. As long as this remains the case, they are a danger to foundational principles, in the same way that a corrupt police department is more dangerous to trust in law enforcement than any level of criminal success.
The obvious and natural counter to the Republican Party is the Democrat Party. They have historically been positioned as the promoter of broad ideals which were the stated goals of the founders. But what are the positions that many of the Democrat activists and politicians support?
The answer to this can be found in some of the legislation that has been introduced to the House, where the Democrats now have control. To be certain, many of the bills they are introducing are being forwarded purely as props; knowing that they lack any support in the Senate, the House Democrats can vote for every pipe dream of their activist base as they attempt to garner donation money for the 2020 election. The bills and programs being suggested do not represent what the Democrat politicians would implement any more than the many votes to repeal Obamacare by the Republicans meant that they would actually do so when they controlled both White House and Congress. But they do show what they think the Democrat base wants.
That Democrat base is divided enough to make a declaration condemning anti-Semitic remarks politically dicey. It supports new restrictions on gun ownership. It supports restrictions on travel and food choices in the name of climate change action. It supports medicare for all, without any funding mechanism. It supports free college for all, with the same funding issues. It supports mandating Americans shift away from fossil fuels, before adequate replacement energy sources can be found. The list goes on, and on, and on.
In an era where the American debt has become large enough to be an existential threat to the country, such spending expectations are insane; in a country founded on individual liberty, such restrictions should be anathema to the populace.
The Democrats may prove useful in purging the illness in the Republican body politic, but left unchecked, if they follow the path recommended by the aggressive members of their base, they will be equally damaging to the nation. If there is a lesson to be learned from the British neo-Nazi who shifted loyalties to Islamism, it is that destructive forces are destructive regardless of ideology.
I expect to support the Democrats in many of their actions fighting Trump. This does not mean, nor should it be expected to mean, that I will support the Democrats in any of their many policies which I believe will be destructive. For that reason, I am loathe to provide direct praise of them. For actions, certainly; the Democrats are performing good when they expose corruption and crime, and those actions are praised. It is the same arrangement I proposed when Trump was first elected, despite being an experienced criminal. I have praised the occasional action with which I agreed, even while holding the man – and then his many enablers – in contempt.
Moderation and consideration. They’re not merely an option, they’re the only chance we have to keep the America that our predecessors provided for us – an America not tied to race, ethnicity, religion, language or anything else save the common belief in the principles outlined in our founding documents.
I have no desire to recreate the famed scene of supreme ignorance from Dr. Strangelove, wherein a man cheers the destruction of all he holds dear because he thinks he’s “winning”.