The latest talking head rap on the Democrats is that while they have plenty of individual issues they lack a grand theme or unifying vision that will play as well in Illinois as it does in Georgia. Slogans have done this in the past. We’ve had The New Deal, The Fair Deal and The Great Society.
Exactly what these slogans might mean has always been a tad vague until you looked carefully at the legislation that Democratic legislatures and Congresses enacted. Do that and you see that what seems common to those legislatures and that legislation is the desire to promote a Humane Society.
A humane society is one in which individuals are enabled to reach their fullest potential in an open society. Think of all the social legislation to protect and enfranchise the unprotected and disenfranchised…labor legislation, voting rights, health and welfare legislation, social security, fair housing legislation, veteran’s benefits…the list goes on and on.
To say that there is no unifying Democratic vision is absurd. You have only to look at over 70 years of legislation that characterizes the Democratic agenda. Common to all of it is the notion that intelligently crafted legislation is the way we exercise our moral obligations to our fellow citizens; to guarantee to them the virtues of an open society.
The difference between Republicans and Democrats is not revealed in disagreements about some particular piece of legislation, but in their permanent dispositions to choose types of solutions to social problems.
Republicans are as skeptical about the value of government as the old philosophical anarchists…and isn’t that odd? Democrats, for all the accusations about ‘bleeding hearts’ seem to stand with Hobbes, sadly recognizing that in the state of nature a life without government would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”
If the talking heads think the Democrats have no “vision” they should simply look at the record.