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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/8/19

Can Democrats grow a spine before American democracy collapses in a limp, lifeless heap?

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From Philadelphia Inquirer

Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi
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It took less than a century for the Party of FDR to become the Party of Fear Itself. Democrats once earned decades of good will simply by being brave in launching they-said-it-couldn't-be-done programs to fight the Great Depression and then fighting off an actual Axis of Evil in World War II. Their actions showed that Franklin Roosevelt and his party really meant it when the 32nd president promised in his 1933 inaugural to fight back against "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

In the Trump era, unreasoning and unjustified terror has a name, and it's the Democratic Party. Time and time again over the last few years, Democrats have seen Republicans driving the big rig of the American Experiment toward and even straight through the guardrails of democracy like the out-of-control tanker truck in Spielberg's Duel and scrambled frantically to get out of the way.

The failure in 2016 to sound the alarms and shut down Washington over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's blatantly unconstitutional hijacking of a Supreme Court seat was just a practice run, we now know, for what we see now: Slow-walking any meaningful hearings on President Trump's high crimes and misdemeanors and even worse passing a McConnell-led bill last month that makes it way too easy for Trump to continue running his gulag of concentration camps.

The border security issue is, admittedly, a tough one for Congress. If you want better facilities to handle refugees who cross into America without authorization than today's so-called "dog pounds" or decrepit facilities where kids are sleeping on concrete floors, you do need to buy things like beds, soap, and toothpaste. But you have to trust those dollars to an administration that seeks to score political points by cruelly mistreating asylum seekers in the first place.

The plan backed by many House Democrats would have taken money away from ICE which any hour now may launch disruptive raids in cities across the United States and unnecessary military activity at the border and put the savings into true humanitarian aid for refugees fleeing murder and rape in Central America. It also had much stronger safeguards for how migrants would be treated. This plan much truer to American values than the gulag archipelago run by Team Trump never stood a chance. Bullied by McConnell, the Trumpists, and their allies to pass a harsh Senate bill before the July 4 break or be called a bunch of bad names, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her moderate clique of House Democratic leaders caved faster than the epicenter of a Southern California earthquake.

It was not a good deal. While about half the Democratic caucus was fighting to save lives, Pelosi was negotiating for House members to be informed within 24 hours after a kid dies in the camps. After. The young and radical wing of the Democrats was apoplectic, and that was understandable. Their avatar, newcomer Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) of New York City, called Pelosi's decision to accept the Trump-friendly border plan "an abdication of powe r." Her aide, Corbin Trent, a leader of the Justice Democrats seeking a more aggressively progressive party, went even farther, stating that the "greatest threat to mankind" is the "cowardice of the Democratic Party."

OK, let's back up. (First of all, it's "humankind"... c'mon, man.) But more importantly, our greatest threat remains rising neo-fascism around the globe, epitomized in the United States by Trump and his concentration camps, his love for tanks and other trappings of dictatorship, and his growing disregard for the Constitution. But by failing to fight this horrible scenario with every weapon at their disposal, the Democrats are becoming modern-day Quislings, and you don't want to be on that side of history.

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Will Bunch is author of the new "Tear Down This Myth: How the Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future", published by Free Press, which examines the calculated effort by the modern right wing to canonize the 40th president, (more...)

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