If Democrats take power, they’d be wrong to wield it
Many have come to believe that polarization of our political parties needs to be confronted if we are to return to balanced and effective governing. Evidently, Michael A. Cohen feels the opposite (“For Democrats, half measures won’t do,” Ideas, Oct. 18).
Cohen relishes the idea that this election could result in the Democrats being in full control in Washington, and he argues that since we are already polarized, they should leverage that power to drive a liberal agenda and not stop halfway. As an independent, I find this attitude irresponsible for either party to take as a way to solve our dysfunction.
The implication is that the party that now controls just the House and has spent the last four years resisting a duly elected president (whom their members impeached) will suddenly decide to act in the interest of all Americans if we give them the Senate and the White House. How would they do that — by using compromise to overcome polarization? Not according to Cohen, who says “political power should be wielded aggressively and without sentiment.”
After the election debacle of 2016, I often said to my liberal friends that we got exactly what we deserved when both parties nominated weak candidates. If Cohen gets his wish, we will face four years of aged, angry leadership by a party that has serious turmoil and polarization within its own ranks.
Maybe that’s what we should all root for. Then maybe in another four years, we, the electorate, could take our government back from the political animals and demand some quality leadership in both parties. I just hope we have a government that is recoverable by then and that there are honorable people who want to serve in it.
May a blue wave bring calmer waters
I was taken aback by Michael A. Cohen’s insistence on Democrats’ use of power, if they take control of the White House and both houses of Congress, to affirm their own agenda. While it is tempting to use power to gain one’s ends, it is not without risk. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. We are seeing this in real time.
So, I disagree with Cohen and suggest that the Democrats use the opportunity, should the electorate grant it, to exercise a more reasonable attitude toward their rightward-leaning fellow citizens. After all, politics is the art of the possible. Suppression is something else altogether.
We need to regain our equilibrium
Michael A. Cohen’s commentary is wrongheaded. While Cohen laments that “American politics has been fundamentally transformed by polarization,” his shortsighted solution is to propose more of the same, urging that “political power must be wielded aggressively and without sentiment.” This is exactly what he accuses the Republicans of doing. If the past four years have taught us anything, it’s that seeking common ground is now more important than ever. Who would want to vote for a party (either one) that promises to divide us even further?
Abraham Lincoln put it most succinctly: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” We will not regain our sense of equilibrium as a nation if we pursue the policies and tactics Cohen espouses. Surely we can do better than that.