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The Bad Faith of the Democratic Party

You've heard me talk about the Democratic Party; you've heard me say that it gave up its strength to promote civil and economic equality. But does that make sense? Wouldn't the success of its efforts have strengthened the Democratic Party? What happened? How did the once-vibrant association of progressive Americans become a convention of zombies, sucking up political oxygen while betraying the nation to ideologues?

The other night, I was talking about this with M le Neveu when suddenly it occurred to me to say something about bad faith on the part of the Party. "What bad faith?" I was asked. I had to admit that, for the moment, I had no idea; it had just come to me, this thing about "bad faith." I was about to apologize to my nephew, and ask to adjourn the conversation until I knew my own mind better. But before I could do so, the bad faith of the Democratic Party was clear to me.

It wanted to be thanked.

It wanted the people who had benefited from its exertions never, ever to forget their debt of gratitude. It wanted those people to follow its lead, and it resented very much the fact that they did not and, for the most part, do not.

It wanted to be congratulated, fêted, patted on the back. It wanted to have plenty of opportunities to show off its false modesty.

I'm not really talking about "the Democratic Party." I'm talking about its supporters - individual men and women. I'm talking about any white person who has ever flared with resentment when treated with insufficient respect by a black person. I'm talking about any white person who pretends to wonder why young black men take to drugs and thuggery. I'm talking about anyone who can't feel the suffocating aftercloud of condescension that attends most bountiful gestures. 

I am especially talking about anyone bright enough to feel guilty about wanting to be thanked.

The people who used to be good Democrats need to forget their achievements. Making the world a decent place is truly - and necessarily - a thankless task.


Good point. It is a party stuck in its past glory. It is stuck in believing that it is owed votes because it advanced all sorts of civil rights, rather than opting for policies which reflect the new economics and the new, emerging political blocs who do not feel beholden. Pelosi and Reid are hardly leaders. Where is Barack Obama? Where is the next generation Kennedyesque or Clintonesque persona? The Demoracts cannot expect the Abramoff scandal (chortle, chortle) to bail them out in 2006 or 2008.

Intellectual smugness is even worse. Which means: the beauty of your theory is that it is only a "good point." While being just an aloof analysis that has no purpose but to say, "and I am not one of them." Why not try figuring out what is wrong with the world, instead of other people.

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