November 13, 2018 | ° F

​Cooperation, bipartisanship, not vitriol, needed in politics


In his column "Conservatism threatens, hinders national prosperity," Jose Sanchez relies on divisive and vitriolic hyperbole to disparage an ideology that a large portion of Americans subscribe to and doesn't rely on many actual facts.

As a liberal and a committed Democrat, I find Donald Trump's politics nauseating. But just because I don't agree with his politics doesn't mean I think he should be the target of unfair attacks. Sanchez claims Trump is responsible for a brutal August attack against a homeless man. It would be ludicrous to suggest liberal pundits and politicians who expose racist tensions in the U.S. are responsible for the recent shooting of two reporters in Roanoke, Virginia, where the gunman claimed racial abuse as a motive. Sanchez’s accusations against Trump are similarly ludicrous. After all, the men responsible for the attack Sanchez refers to were intoxicated and have extensive criminal records. It is also worth noting that Trump affirmed that he "would never condone violence," decrying the beatings as “terrible” and a “shame.”

Sanchez cherry picks quotes from Republican politicians to diagnose conservatism as an ideology that promotes nothing but inequality and a "manufactured hierarchy." But a few musings from some politicians do not apply to the entire ideology. If Sanchez would speak to many conservatives and Republicans — something I doubt he did before writing his column — he might understand that conservatism is a broad ideology that encompasses many different viewpoints, and that there have been conservative politicians throughout the history of this country who have done the United States and its citizens a lot of good. Instead of understanding that, Sanchez explicitly says that police violence against black people is a “win” for conservatives, which is as close to libel as I’ve seen printed in The Daily Targum in some time.

Through my political activism, I have encountered many Republicans and conservatives, some of whom actively work in politics. While I disagree with them on most issues, the vast majority of these individuals are good people who are sincere in their passions and desires to help their communities, their states and their country. One can disagree without being disagreeable, and as President Obama stressed in his 2008 run for the presidency, our politics are at its best when people of opposing ideologies can work together to help move this country forward. Such bipartisanship is hardly illusory and can even help achieve progressive ends. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) famously partnered together to create the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which helped limit the influence of money in politics.

Finally, I want to note the most glaring example of hypocrisy in Sanchez's column. One of the key tenets of modern liberalism is tolerance and respect for everyone, no matter their personal life choices (as long as it hurts no one else). This includes the right to identify as one feels most comfortable and have that identity be respected by society at large, a point that is particularly relevant in transgender issues. Despite this core aspect of left-wing ideology, Sanchez explicitly refers to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as "Piyush," his traditional Indian name, despite the fact that Jindal has preferred to be addressed as "Bobby" since he was a child. This is enormously disrespectful and is not something that we would tolerate in a normal situation — if someone born "Chong" wants to be referred to as "John," to use a common example, it is common courtesy to do so. And if someone transitions from being known as "Bruce" to “Caitlyn,” it would be considered the height of impoliteness to continue to refer to that individual as “Bruce.” There is no reason why we should apply any different standards to Jindal, even if you do disagree with his politics.

Throughout his column, Sanchez fails to verify many of his core arguments. Instead, he demonstrates that America’s far left can be just as intolerant and close-minded as the far-right bigots it purports to fight.

Michael Guggenheim, is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in political science with a minor in Modern Hebrew Language. He is also an Eagleton Undergraduate Associate. 


Michael Guggenheim

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