When it comes to political leaders, I’ll support them when I agree with them on an issue, oppose them when I disagree with them on an issue. I’m that way with a Democratic leader or a Republican leader. I don’t expect to agree with any person on every issue. Since I’m a liberal, I’m going to support a Democrat on more issues than I support a Republican. But I have disagreed with Democratic leaders on certain issues.
I like Obama. But I opposed Obama’s deportation policies, his use of drones in certain military operations. I generally liked Clinton. But I opposed Clinton’s welfare reform bill, opposed his Defense of Marriage law, opposed his efforts at cutting financial regulations, and thought he only had himself to blame for the Monica Lewinsky scandal. I liked Carter as a person. But I didn’t think he was a good President.
Conversely, I will concede that leaders that I hate are good on certain issues. A perfect example of this is current Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte. I do not like Duterte. I think Duterte’s policy of extrajudicial killings of people only suspected of crimes is evil. Duterte’s threats to reporters and his attempts to undermine journalist independence is dangerous to democracy. His attempts to jail or undermine his political opponents is also dangerous.
Even though I dislike the Duterte presidency, though, I do think Duterte’s attempts to curb the power of mining companies (which have been the source of much human rights abuses and pollution in the Mindanao region) is a good thing. His attempts to broker a peace agreement with the communist and the Muslim insurgencies is a good thing. His administration’s budget increase in social programs to help the poor is a positive. And his success in lobbying China and Japan for billions of dollars in investments for the Philippines is a positive thing.
I still think Duterte is a terrible leader whom I hope is voted out of power. But I acknowledge that he has done some good things.
I was motivated to write this when I read that Senator Corker describe the Republican Party as becoming more of a cult of personality. I think this rigid right wing ideological purity test has been a problem for the Republican Party for decades, starting with the Gingrich era in the 1990s. I remember in 2010 when the Tea Party targeted conservative Republicans like Bob Bennett for daring to collaborate with Democrats on certain issues. Things have only gotten worse since Donald Trump became president. A Republican can support Trump on 80% or 90% of the issues and still be attacked by Trump for not kowtowing with him 100% of the time.
In this Republican Party, loyalty to President Trump has become more important than loyalty to one’s personal conscience. This reminds me a lot of the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s, when radical students would punish anyone who deviated from the opinions of Chairman Mao. It’s similar to being a citizen who is afraid of expressing any sort of disagreement in Stalin’s Soviet Union or Hitler’s Germany.
No one person or group has a monopoly on truth. We’re all right some of the time, wrong some of the time. This is why democracies, in the long run, are far superior to dictatorships. In a democracy, the Left, the Right, and the Center debate their ideas on how to solve society’s problems, and we get evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. This is why the freedom of speech and of expression are so important.
Whether you are liberal or conservative, religious or nonreligious, male or female, we are all vulnerable to the dangers of groupthink. It’s just a flaw of human nature. Right now the Republican Party is caught in the grips of a dangerous groupthink mentality when it comes to loyalty to President Trump.
I’m hoping that moderate and sane conservatives will fight and turn the Republican Party away from this crazy groupthink mentality. As a liberal Democrat, I think it’s important to be able to deal with a Republican Party that is interested in finding some common ground on the problems facing the nation. If this doesn’t happen, I am afraid we’re in for more gridlock and more disillusionment with democracy.
While responding to questions on Capitol Hill, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) spoke about the current environment in the Republican party, referring to the GOP as “cultish” for not pushing back on certain Trump administration policies
GOP Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) criticizes his own party on the Senate floor for failing to even vote on amendments because they may upset President Donald Trump
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) today spoke on the Senate floor to denounce the administration’s recent treatment of U.S. allies and trading partners. Flake repeated his condemnation of isolationism and urged his colleagues to speak out against the executive branch’s harmful rhetoric and actions
GOP Rep. Mark Sanford responds to President Trump calling him a “nasty guy” during a Capitol Hill meeting
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