Defending the Indefensible Left and Right

People of the left and, one would hope, also many on the right, look on with horror as Republican politicians unconditionally support their degenerate president. Trump once boasted “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” and it appears that he wouldn’t lose the support of any Republican Members of Congress. It seems he can do anything, say anything, attack any people or institution, insult fellow members of his own party, abuse presidential powers, display a complete lack of common decency, and it matters not at all. The ranks hold.

(Read more…) mindless loyalty is common on both sides of the political spectrum. We only need to look at the defense of men like Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro and Bolivia’s Evo Morales by all too many Canadians leftists for ample evidence. Both of these men did good things, emphatically so in the case of Morales, not so much in the case of Maduro, but both eventually succumbed to their egos, to their lusts for power, and refused to go when their time was clearly up.

Their countrymen now pay the price. When citizens can no longer agree on basic values, polarization is inevitable, and indeed all three countries concerned above are experiencing dangerous divisions.

Political parties and political philosophies breed intense tribalism, and tribalism can overwhelm the noblest principles. In the case of Trump, Maduro and Morales, a disdain for democracy seems irrelevant to their supporters.

Trump shows contempt for key institutions of democracy, including the press, the courts and the rule of law; Maduro has manipulated and perverted democracy into an instrument to maintain his own power; and, most tragic of all, Morales, a gift to his people, abandoned his own constitution and its democratic safeguards. Yet large numbers of their supporters remain loyal to the man rather than to the principle.

Party members are, perhaps, beyond redemption, but citizens at large owe it to their principles to judge politicians objectively, regardless of which side of the fence they happen to be on. Naturally we will be more forgiving to those who are on our side, but when they violate fundamental principles, as the three above have, then they must be called to account.Whether they have done their country great good as in the case of Morales, or great harm as in the case of Trump, should no longer matter.

I am reminded of the case of Winston Churchill and the British election of 1945. Churchill is one of Britain’s greatest heroes. He rallied his people from the brink of defeat to victory during World War II. Yet the war was barely over and in the 1945 election his people threw him out, handing the Labour Party a landslide victory. He had done his job, and the British people have long honoured him for it, but now they wanted something else so he had to go. This is the behaviour of a mature democracy, something the more ardent supporters of Trump, Maduro and Morales seem to have little interest in.