My apologies to those whom I have offended by the use of Democrat vice Democratic Party. I was not aware of the pejorative nature of the term and my use of it was not intended to either insult or inflame opinion. Again my apologies to any I have offended.
With the re-election of President Obama and the Republican failure to regain control of both houses of Congress, a degree of self congratulation among the left and centre is natural and deserved. I would ask, however, indeed plead that this impulse not be taken to extremes.
Given the venomous political atmosphere existing in the country today a degree of magnanimity by the victors in this election is called for. Common decency demands it. Political necessity impels it.
Magnanimity in victory was once considered a virtue. It softened the sting of defeat among the vanquished, reminded the victorious of their responsibilities as well as the transience of triumph, and allowed space for common dialogue and compromise. Some on the left would argue that the right would not demonstrate such virtue if the situation were reversed. Doubtless that is true of some on the right, but by no means all, and caddish behaviour by some does not give license to all to conduct themselves likewise. Unfortunately, mean spirited behaviour is common in today’s political climate regardless of party. If the current political climate is to be changed for the better, someone must first extend the hand of honest benevolence. The occasion of this successful election is the time for such an act by the left.
In addition to the demands of decent behaviour, political necessity compels virtuous action. The Democratic Party holds the White House and the Senate, but the Republican Party controls the House by a significant margin. No legislation can be passed solely with Democratic votes in the House, and even in the Senate some Republican support will often be necessary. Unless the Democrats demonstrate goodwill toward their Republican colleagues there will be no opportunity or incentive for those Republicans who are willing to compromise, and there are some, to do so. The result will be continued stalemate.
The Democrats in the Congress have nothing to lose by magnanimous action. An offer of honest debate, a willingness to compromise, an accommodation of interests, and respect would be reciprocated by many if not all from the right. This, in and of itself would be a welcome change and would likely produce significant agreement and co-operation on important matters to the benefit of all. If on the other hand the right rejects such overtures, then the left and centre can with clean conscious campaign against an intransigent and obstructionist party that has forfeited its right to hold power.
Whether accepted or rejected by the right, magnanimity in both word and deed on the part of the victorious left is the decent and politically wise course of action. The Democratic Party and more importantly the country, would be best served by it.