April 15, 2004

That's what a Loyal Opposition would sound like...

Being on the left does not have to mean hating America and being soft on tyranny. The moderate left used to be staunchly anti-totalitarian. Reading this piece by Paul Berman in the NYT is like reading something from better days...

...Instead, it was Senator John Kerry who made a public appeal to Mr. Zapatero to keep troops in Iraq.

I wish the Democrats would follow Mr. Kerry's example and take it a step further by putting together a small contingent of Democrats with international reputations, a kind of shadow government — not to undermine American policy but to achieve what Mr. Bush seems unable to do. The Democrats ought to explain the dangers of modern totalitarianism and the goals of the war. They ought to make the call for patience and sacrifice that Mr. Bush has steadfastly avoided. And the Democratic contingent ought to go around the world making that case.

The Democrats ought to thank and congratulate the countries that have sent troops, and ought to remind the economically powerful Switzerlands of this world that they, too, have responsibilities. The Democrats ought to assure everyone that support for a successful outcome in Iraq does not have to mean support for George W. Bush. And how should the Democrats make these several arguments? They should speak about something more than the United Nations and stability in Iraq. They should talk about fascism. About death cults. About the experiences of the 20th century. About the need for democratic solidarity.

This is not a project for after the election — this is a project for right now. America needs allies. Today, and not just tomorrow. And America needs leaders. If the Bush administration cannot rally support around the world, let other people give it a try.

Now that's what a Loyal Opposition would sound like. If you don't like the way the other party is doing things, look for a chance to roll up your sleeves, get involved, and show how you can do better...

I'm guessing that most activist Democrat types will find Mr Berman's ideas less appealing than a proposal for colonizing the moons of Jupiter. But I would love to be proved wrong.

Posted by John Weidner at April 15, 2004 6:50 PM
Weblog by John Weidner