- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 19, 2001

Reactions by the Democratic leadership to President Bush's statement on stem cell research have been disappointing.

One might have hoped for a nonpartisan approach to a question of beneficial interest, and of far-reaching moral implications, to every citizen of this land. Several leading Republicans, after all, have demonstrated the feasibility of viewing the issue in isolation. But describing the Democratic statements as disappointing does not mean they were necessarily surprising.

For some time now, the leadership of the National Democratic Party has appeared unable or unwilling to treat any matter as one in the national interest distinct from partisan or political interest. What is at issue here is not the application of a bipartisan approach, but acceptance of the existence of a nonpartisan point of view, the absence of a political charge in certain instances.

(1) National defense, which is mandated specifically in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, ought to be such a case. It stands to reason that the country needs defenses adequate to counter potential threats. Only the terminally naive would honestly believe that the world has been suddenly populated by 6 billion people who are neither aggressive, nor jealous, nor vindictive. The United States of America represents the most visible target on the globe, and someone will start shooting at it one way or another.

(2) Foreign policy does not benefit from partisan approach. Our so-called allies, for the most part, are governed by parties that do not espouse the political principles upon which America was built, and with which America has succeeded. History teaches us also that, with the exception of the English-speaking world, our allies are allies mostly when their house is on fire, when one of them attacks the other(s), and our young people have to risk their lives to restore the status quo.

(3) Our sovereignty has been under persistent assault, as much from the United Nations as from international conferences, such as the one that produced the Kyoto Protocol. While it is perfectly legitimate to learn from the French when it comes to food and wine, the Germans in the realm of classical music, the Japanese about shrinking trees, and the Brazilians how to play soccer, running a large, law-abiding, successful, free, and yes nature-friendly society is something the world needs to learn from us.

Why, then, would a major political party of the United States appear to team up with the other side? Why is it not possible to treat matters upon which most Americans ought to agree just so: as matters upon which most Americans agree? In other words, why does everything have to carry a political charge?

And here we come to a difficult conclusion. It is not in the tradition of the Democratic Party of the United States to disregard the all-American nature of certain issues, and infuse them with a party-political charge. But if it's not in the Democratic Party's tradition, where did it come from? It had to come from an altogether different political culture.

My apologies to all who will be offended by what follows here. Viewing everything as political is the way of socialists under whatever name, including communist. They teach day in, day out that everything is political, everything is a struggle between two sides, of which one is good and the other is evil. (Guess which one is good.) That sorry view of the world grew out of the opening sentence of Marx's "Communist Manifesto": "The history of all societies hitherto is the history of class struggle."

What an impoverished notion of the rich tapestry we call humankind. What a wretched man it must have been who thought up such a terrible indictment.

And yet, unbeknownst to most Americans, that is the basis upon which our children are taught just about everything these days. And, alas, that seems to be the basis upon which the leadership of the Democratic Party decides how to comment on the president's actions, implying that the president does not speak for them, whatever the topic.

As if to underscore the crisis, for the first time in American history, the Democratic Party has openly rejected the election results and continues to characterize the decision of the electorate as illegitimate.

The Democratic Party of America is a main artery of this nation, desperately needed to be American first and Democrat only second.

There is an urgent need for Democrats to scrutinize the origin of some current attitudes, models and methods, and to help make America once again united.

Balint Vazsonyi, concert pianist and director of the Center for the American Founding, is a nationally syndicated columnist.


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