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Post-partisan people and SCV progress

Posted: November 10, 2008 5:59 p.m.
Updated: November 11, 2008 4:59 a.m.
Today I'd like to share my thoughts about the future of political discourse for people in the Santa Clarita Valley. I want to address the GOOD Republicans and the GOOD Democrats of the valley, which I'll address later in this column.

As readers probably know, I haven't been seen in Democratic Voices recently because I ran against George Runner for state Senate. I received more than 118,000 votes and had more than 45 percent of the votes cast. Thank you to everyone who voted for me.

One significant event that happened since I was last here is the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States. But that may not be the most significant event. It may merely be the effect generated because of something even more consequential - the advent of post-partisanism in America.

John McCain (circa 2000) had earned the respect of many people throughout the country, both Republicans and Democrats, by seemingly standing on principle and honor in his Senate activities and as a candidate for president.

He was defeated that year by the Rovian tactics of personal attacks and fear mongering.

Karl Rove's successes for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 were a horrible validation and culmination of decades of despicable methods designed to divide the country on cultural issues. Vilification of any opponent of Republican talking points tore our country apart.

People who believed women should have the right to choose were godless un-American baby killers. People who believed that every American should be able to earn a living wage and support their family were socialists or welfare cheaters who wanted something for nothing. People who wanted more dollars spent per student in California (currently 46th or 47th in the nation), were characterized as tax and spend liberals. The Rove mantra that "government could do nothing right" yielded the common perception that no more money should be spent on education or any other good cause.

The examples go on and on, but this is where I want to talk about GOOD Republicans, GOOD Democrats and post-partisan political thought.

I believe almost everyone in our valley, and indeed in our entire country, have many of the same hopes and dreams for themselves and their families: They want happy, healthy children who have every opportunity to learn and grow and succeed in life. These are the everyday GOOD citizens. They come as Republicans, Democrats and independents.

Unfortunately, this model doesn't suit the game plan of Karl Rove and other not-so-good partisan types, who want to keep pushing the agenda of fear and division because when people work together and problems are solved, those who wish to have a single-party dominance are defeated. Even as a minority, some may feel the only way to succeed is to divide. Those are not the GOOD Republicans.

Karl Rove wants everyone to perceive Democrats as evil un-American bastards that don't deserve to live in America. Good Republicans (as are most in Santa Clarita) know that their friends who happen to be Democrats are basically honest, hard-working and patriotic members of society. Good Democrats feel the same about their Republican friends.

The problem with having friends of the opposite party is that it lays the groundwork for working together to solve problems facing everyone.

On Nov. 4, the American public rejected the politics of fear and division. One candidate limited his attacks to issues that differentiated himself from his opposition.

The other candidate fell victim to Rovian precept that you must destroy the opposition to win. He squandered all his previously gained political capital and good will, apparently because he believed that was the only way to win. Even many of those who voted for John McCain did so not because of his campaign style, they did it in spite of those tactics.

Now we have a new president and hopefully a new way of looking at things. I hope everyone in Santa Clarita realizes that we all want the same basic things in life and that everyone deserves respect. I am sure we will continue to argue about proposed solutions to problems, but let's be GOOD citizens and reject the temptation to oppose a proposal out of hand because the proposer is a Democrat or Republican. If we do, it will go a long way toward making the progress we desperately need in our valley, our state and in our country.

Bruce McFarland is past president of the Democratic Alliance for Action of Santa Clarita. His column reflects his own opinion and not necessarily that of The Signal.


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