The dialogue between the majority and the opposition has moved our nation forward throughout the years. These two opposing sides have been called Federalists and Democratic-Republicans, Whigs and Democrats, Republicans and Democrats, Redeemers and Freedmen, Bourbon Democrats and Copperheads, and Liberals and Conservatives.
The names reflect the fact that prevailing issues and arguments change. The importance or validity of opposing arguments changes within the context of the times and we, the electorate, shift our support from one party to the other.
I visualize the way we have governed our nation through time as walking on two legs: the majority being one leg, the opposition the other leg. The metaphor seems especially fitting since in my lifetime we have been calling the two primary ideologies the right and the left.
I think it is a mistake to suppose that eliminating the opposition will make things go better. Who among us thinks we have all the right answers? Don't most of us think our best decisions are made when we consider what we might be overlooking, or what might go wrong, or how the decision might affect others or other aspects of our lives?
I also think it is unfair to expect a governing group of say seven directors, or 13 JPs, or representatives from all 50 states, to arrive at a great decision without opposing voices supplied, thankfully, by voices from the community at large. A crutch, if you will, in keeping with my metaphor of walking on two legs.
Right now in history we are faced with unprecedented events -- events that have never been experienced in human history: unprecedented disruption of climate systems, unprecedented numbers of refugees, unprecedented power concentrated in a small number of global companies, and an unprecedented rate of change on all levels. It is no wonder we feel insecure.
With these realities as the backdrop, Republicans, the current majority, have not sought dialogue with the Democratic opposition, even eliminating opposition within their own party. This does not make us more stable or secure. It is like trying to balance on one leg.
I think we have been standing on one leg too long and it is past time to shift to the other one. Whether you agree or disagree, be grateful for the opposition.
Hot SpringsEditorial on 11/04/2018
Print Headline: Standing on one leg