“Loyal opposition,” a term first used in the British Parliament, applies to members of a party not holding power but whose loyalty is unquestioned. It cannot exist in totalitarian countries, or was it comprehended by George W. Bush whose “you’re either with me or against me” attitude degraded his administration, crippled American democracy, took root in the Tea Party, and is degrading Congress.
Governor Chris Christie, (R) New Jersey, revived the term when he defended his choice of a Muslim judge, making a powerful statement about a basic American tenet: people are to be judged on their merits, not by skin color, ethnicity, or faith. He derided the rabid right, calling Tea Party zealots, “crazy.” Now a Tea Party pariah, he is heartening to all real Republicans, and encourages all to show that the rabid right does not own the Grand Old Party. After Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC reported the story, he and his staff gave Governor Christie
a standing ovation.
Were Governor Christie running for the U.S. presidency (he says he is not), I’d not likely vote for him, but were he elected, I’d not fear for American’s soul as I did in the Bush/Cheney years, a soul which the Tea Party is further defiling.
People with no concept of democracy live among us in cultural islands, insulated from all ideas but their own, often embedded in this or that proselytizing cult. Until recently, they didn’t vote. Sensing vulnerability, opportunists like Karl Rove pandered to their fears, and backed by the greed-driven billionaire Koch brothers, lured them out. Not understanding that they are tolerated, even welcomed because a pluralistic society values differences, they crept out of their lairs hoping to convert the world. I vividly recall an angry middle-aged man at the end of a speech by Bill Clinton who held up a Bible and shouted, “Do you believe
every word in this book?”
These are medieval zealots, an American Taliban, little different from Crusaders who swarmed out of Europe expecting to convert Islam by the sword. Their descendants, frozen in time, cannot comprehend an American society of many faiths. If elected, they would try to convert everyone. It is wise to recall that the Nazis were an elected plurality before they instituted a rule of terror.
Tea Party zealots, convinced that they alone possess Truth, cannot be reached by reason. But reasonable people can speak to one another. Barack Obama, one of the most reasonable presidents in our country’s history, needs massive support. On election day the reasonable majority can restore our democracy to health, and save the soul of the world’s greatest country.