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March 9, 2021 Comments off

WHAT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY HAS BECOME

By Stephen M. Krason

     Even though the Democratic party for many decades was a magnet for Catholics—after all, it was the party of the working class and Irish, Italian, and eastern European immigrants—it has long had a checkered history. It was, as I recalled one scholar recounting in a lecture, the party of slavery, Jim Crow, the most flagrant suppression of civil liberties in our history (during World War I), and the Japanese internment during World War II. The Democratic party of today, however, has descended much further into the depths. It has become the party of irrationality, fantasy, hypocrisy, disregarding of the rule of law for reasons of political opportunism, and repression of those who dare not share its ideological preferences.

     Its irrationality is seen in its wholeheartedly embracing transgenderism, claiming that a person can change sexes—even more irrationally, by one just declaring that he or she is of the opposite sex. Its irrationality is also seen, if less evidently, in such things as believing that open borders will have no effect on crime, national security, and disease (even in a time of the world-wide coronavirus)—even when the evidence and simple common sense indicate otherwise.

     That it is the party of fantasy is seen when it claims that “systemic racism”—which is never defined—prevails in the U.S., even though minority rights are thoroughly secured by law, equal opportunity is greater ever, and race prejudice is universally repudiated and held to be a badge of utter dishonor.

     Its hypocrisy was blatantly seen with its silence about the numerous destructive urban race riots last summer—that radical organizations such as Antifa and BLM may have helped spearhead— while it excoriated the January 6 occupation of the Capitol Building and even used it as its rationale for a second impeachment of Donald Trump.

     This hypocrisy also illustrated the Democratic party’s disregard for the rule of law—or, more precisely, its selective upholding of it. It is also markedly seen in its open borders stance, where it pretends that the provisions of U.S. immigration law can just be outright ignored. Their immigration position shows that the Democrats are ready to selectively disregard law not even because it’s claimed to be somehow unjust—something they don’t even make an effort to show—but for mere reasons of political opportunism. Does anyone honestly think that what’s driving the Democrats on immigration is anything other than the expectation that if we open the borders and grant amnesty for illegals and then let them become citizens that they will be a reliable voting bloc for them?

     The Democrats’ ugly opportunism has been seen further over this past year in their readiness to encourage racial division—even going so far as to push the absurd idea of defunding the police who they characterize as against racial minorities—for the political benefits they think they will reap from it.

     We have been witnessing the Democrats’ new regimen of repression against those who oppose their leftist ideology and readiness to suppress the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and religion. The party’s allies in Big Tech and the corporate world have been increasingly aggressive in stopping the expression of any views on social media platforms and in the workplace that dissent from leftist positions. You hardly hear any criticisms from Democratic officeholders about this since, after all, they are carrying their water for them. Now certain Democrats in Congress are pressuring cable companies not to carry conservative-leaning news networks like Newsmax for doing things like questioning the integrity of the 2020 presidential election. They are claiming that these networks are spreading “disinformation,” but you’ll never hear them say the same about what’s spewed by such blatantly leftist networks as CNN or MSNBC. Besides repression, it’s more Democratic hypocrisy. Some prominent Democrats have even suggested reeducation camps for Trump supporters and conservatives. That’s right in line with how Communist regimes act.

     Much analysis has shown how the Equality Act—which the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has passed on a nearly straight-part line vote and is a bonanza for the homosexualist and transgender movement—will result in a massive assault on freedom of religion and conscience. Religious people in health care and religious-affiliated hospitals refusing to take part in so-called sex-reassignment procedures and even abortion, religious schools, and even churches could all be targeted.

     The Democratic party’s new penchant for intolerance and repression in the name of furthering leftist ideological imperatives can best be characterized by the title of Jean-Francois Revel’s 1970s book, The Totalitarian Temptation.

     It is noteworthy that so much of the agenda of the Democratic party fixates on sexual matters and issues related to them. This overshadows even economic issues, which the Democratic party had been so much identified with before the last half-century (e.g., government regulation of the economy to avoid the excesses of capitalism). They are now the pro-abortion, pro-homosexualist, pro-transgender party—the party of sexual liberation and license. The present Democratic party was profoundly shaped and transformed by the sexual revolution of the 1960s. The secularists were in the Democratic party before that, but they were not in control or even ascendant; they kept quiet because the mainstream of the party—and the culture—was not with them. Now, it is the rank secularist party that has so completely embraced the sexual agenda and its anti-life corollary that it’s said that on any given vote related to abortion in the House of Representatives only two or three Democrats will be on the pro-life side. Last year, only three Senate Democrats voted for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

     Indeed, it’s almost uncanny how Congressional Democrats just all fall into line. There seems to be no significant debate within the party’s ranks about major public questions; it has become monolithic. One gets the sense that they almost surrender their judgment, that they don’t think for themselves—even on matters involving the most fundamental moral questions, such as those concerning the dignity and sanctity of human life. That is very different from what the Democratic party once was.

     How much the Democratic party can even claim to be supporting the working man anymore—as opposed to embracing the leftist leaders of Big Labor—is much in doubt when we see that one of Joe Biden’s first acts was to cancel permission for the Keystone Pipeline, and with it perhaps as many as 40,000 jobs. Once again, ideology ruled: he, fully supported by his party in Congress, bowed to the wishes of environmental extremists. To add insult to injury, Biden’s Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, shrugged and said that those people can all get solar energy jobs. It is just another Democratic party fantasy to suggest that there is an abundance of jobs in that field—just like it probably is to say there is a climate crisis in the first place.

     It isn’t surprising that the working class is being pushed aside by the Democrats. They have become the new party of the upper crust: coastal and large metropolitan-area elites. Their hold on the corporate world, Big Labor, Big Tech, and a range of interest groups is likely why they now generally outdistance the Republicans in campaign fundraising. They are also becoming the party of affluent suburbanites, where cultural relativism has taken deep hold—which isn’t primarily because of their heavy presence in the corporate world but because of the way their university educations formed them.

     The Democratic party may think it is in ascendancy now, but its increasingly irrational and extreme positions, intolerance, repressiveness, and lack of regard for such basic principles of a democratic republic as the consistent application of the rule of law and respect for First Amendment-type freedoms could ultimately lead it in the same direction as the Federalist party in the early U.S.—also because of its repressiveness: into the dustbin of history. That assumes, however, that enough Americans still have the same fervor to preserve liberty as people had then and so will vigorously oppose it.

Stephen M. Krason is professor of political science and legal studies at Franciscan University of Steubenville, associate director of the University’s Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life, and co-founder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. His latest books are Catholicism and American Political Ideologies: Catholic Social Teaching, Liberalism, and Conservatism and a Catholic political novel, American Cincinnatus.

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