• Daniel Ethan Finneran

The Democratic Party Unravels

December 2018

Many words can be used to describe the recent unravelling of the Democratic Party. Inevitable might be one, as a large portion of the current controversies in which it finds itself mired have been waiting just around the bend. Indeed, it was only a matter of time before they revealed themselves upon the national stage in the fullness of our view. Now, they’re in a spotlight so luminous and focused that no gaze can long avert them. Nor should it. The disclosure of virtues as well as of vices—whenever the former is celebrated and the latter concealed—compel our attention. We’re thus forced to look at them and chagrined to see.

Risible might be another word, as it’s unavoidably funny—to whomever it occurs—to see so sanctimonious an organization hoist by its own puritanical petard. It’s the type of Three-Stooge-like, self-injurious humor that arouses in a viewer little sympathy but a healthy cringe. Atop it all is a bellyful of laughs, as if our shared schadenfreude had been tickled to the extreme. Comedic, as well as tragic, this is the dramatic state of the Party performing before our eyes.

Hypocritical would be another word, perhaps best-tailored and most applicable of them all. The party most censorious of and enraged by the racial, sexual, and political mishaps of others (especially of those on the right) is itself horrifyingly guilty of them all. The party comprises, as did the Pharisees of old, a community of congregants for whom praying publicly and preying privately is the order of the day. Such is the stamp of the hypocrite—affecting to have the type of morality that floats high above his actual reach. The Democrats have proven themselves quite distant from the ideal they preach and the reality they practice.

Finally, the last word we might use to describe the Democratic Party and its current state of disrepair is incorrigible. Harsh but true, the Party seems fully to have rendered itself beyond improvement or saving. So pessimistic a prognosis is unnatural to my usually sanguine bent, but the Party leaves me with little else to which I might, in desperation, grasp. The optimist in me is defeated. All in all, the Party is in a bad way. More frightening, though, is the realization that it seems disinclined to do anything about it.

This was made evident by a week full of pratfalls and, consequently, inconsequential responses. No longer is the liberal politician’s gaffe the exception (or so this past week has proven in full and excruciating detail). For the Democrats, it’s become something of an unspoken rule, the kind to which all in the Party feel compelled to submit. As such we must question if it hasn’t really been the rule all along? Perhaps now, unlike at any time prior, we’re simply all able to witness it in real-time and on full display.

The Party is unravelling into disparate piles. Each one equally filthy and growing, there’s the pile for racism and the pile for anti-Semitism; the one for sexual assault and the one for infanticide; the one for socialism and the one for the ballyhooed Green New Deal.

If, like a latter-day Rip Van Winkle, you had fallen asleep on the eve of the Civil rather than the Revolutionary War, only to awaken in the liberated bustle our modern age, you’d have thought not much in society had changed. The Democrats, then as now, apparently still are the ones inveterately inclined to dress up as KKK members and black-faced minstrel showmen. The late-night comedians Jimmy Fallon and Kimmel (uncompromisingly political though their brand of comedy has become) were but two to have, during the course of their vaunted careers, darkened their faces and played “black” parts. The display was farcical; the effect, obnoxiously racial. Joy Behar, hostess of The View, admits to having done the same. Not one of the three has since apologized for the distasteful caricatures in which they dressed. Now, added to this list of unrepentant cultural appropriators and thieves are Ralph Northam and Mark Herring.

Northam, who maintains a tenuous grasp on his gubernatorial role in Virginia, was pictured in his medical school yearbook as either being dressed in a white Ku Klux Klan hood or a blackface caricature. After initially admitting that he was in fact one of the two (yet failing to specify which) he equivocated, and then denied he was either. Perhaps realizing that the image could never be conclusive, he began to mobilize a campaign of doubt. After all, both faces are concealed in such a way as to obscure their author’s true identity. Why else, though, would such an image be ascribed to him on a personal page in his medical school yearbook? Hoping to quell this and obviate a further controversy, Northam admitted to having donned blackface not on that occasion, but while dressed as Michael Jackson on a different occasion in the mid-1980’s.

Mark Herring, Virginia’s attorney general, admitted to having done the same. Instead of the King of Pop, though, Herring opted to wear the visage of the slightly less highly-acclaimed rapper, Kurtis Blow. And since Herring called for Northam’s resignation after initially learning of the governor’s racist indiscretion, so too must he be willing to step down. Clearly, this gross combination of blackface and a distressing lack of sensitivity were the habiliments of Virginia politicians in their youth. Expectedly, neither is willing to forgo his position.

Ensconced in the line of succession between Northam and Herring is lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax. Considered a politician of incomparable promise in the stodgy Old Dominion state, Fairfax—a young black man—is alleged sexually to have assaulted two women. First as an undergraduate at Duke University and then at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Fairfax is said to have assaulted or raped two separate and exceedingly credible women who’ve since come forth with their tales. Castigation of him hasn’t been nearly commensurate with that which was leveled against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The latter was accused of similar, if not more egregious crimes but with far less convincing evidence than that which has been brought against Fairfax. Nevertheless, amid the clamors for his resignation, Fairfax appears to be standing firm. He won’t submit even as the “MeToo” movement rightly looks to his destruction.

We jump quickly back to Governor Ralph Northam, who advanced without subtlety the idea that mothers should be allowed with impunity to kill their babies immediately after birth. Apparently an advocate not only of late-term abortions but of post-partum death, Northam said during a radio interview that it would be the decision of the mother and the doctor whether or not to keep alive the undesirable, now languishing child. Oxymoronic if not Mengele-esque, it should be here noted that Northam is by training a pediatrician; it’s by anyone’s guess that he’s a politician. But he isn’t the only Democrat pushing forward the third-trimester abortion proposal. Already it’s gained legitimation, if not outright approbation in Democrat-controlled New York (Governor Cuomo had, upon the passage of a bill allowing abortion at the critical moment of dilation and birth, the obelisk of the One World Trade Center painted pink as a celebratory display in the heavens above).

One would think these numerous problems sufficient to sink the Party, but it stands ready to absorb even more self-inflicted wounds. Perhaps most repulsive of the ways in which the Democratic Party is unravelling is its open commitment to anti-Semitism. Never before has its anti-Jewish disposition been so explicitly articulated than it has been of late. To thank for so startling a degree of candor we turn to none other than Ilhan Omar, the much-lauded freshman representative from the state of Minnesota.

Somali by birth, American by the good fortune we all cherish and share, Omar has trafficked openly and unapologetically in anti-Semitic tropes. Not unpracticed in such virulent rhetoric, she’s done so for well-neigh ten years. A habitué of Jew-hating, a venturer in gross vitriol, she’s expressed over and again her feelings that Israel is not only an odious, but a superfluous state. Given her druthers, she’d rather it be enervated or destroyed. This sentiment, harrowing though it may be, isn’t exclusive to her. Indeed, it’s shared quite openly by Omar’s colleague and co-religionist, Rashida Tlaib. Upon entering her office as a newly-elected representative from Michigan, Tlaib proceeded to alter with a carefully placed Post-It note the map on her wall. Not surprisingly, she stuck the little paper where Israel rests, the inference being beyond any need of my explanation here. But if clarification of her intention is wanted, upon the note she scribbled, “Palestine”, omitting only the phrase “from the river to the sea…”

To keep track, the Democratic Party, in the appalling course of a week, has shown itself to be composed of misogynists, racists, baby-killers, and anti-Semites. Socialism, in comparison, seems in this case a relatively innocuous thing. Yet of course, as all who’ve handled the study of history with any diligence and care might attest, socialism is the most insidious and destructive phenomenon of them all. Verily, more people died under Stalin and Zedong under socialism’s name than did Jews because of anti-Semitism under Hitler or blacks under white secessionists.

Yet this weakens the Democratic ardor for socialism not. From softly supporting the continuation of the Maduro regime in Venezuela to promulgating the newfangled Green New Deal, Democrats of the more “progressive” ilk are beginning to flash their socialist feathers without a second thought. Yet in releasing the zealously-hyped Green New Deal, the Party did unto itself a disservice. Not only was the proposal chimerical from bottom to top, it was juvenile and released in a cursory way. It read like the half-baked utopian yearnings of an author more illicitly, intoxicatingly baked. Less a convincing pitch to take more seriously environmentalism, more a back-door introduction to communism, the Green New Deal is an embarrassment to the cause. This “Green Leap Forward”, as wittily it’s been dubbed, is nothing more than a zero-emission, zero-cognition, starry-eyed socialist screed.

The Democratic Party is unravelling. Of this, there’s little doubt. What’s jarring is the rapidity with which it’s gone about doing so. We await now, as always in politics we do, for the Republican Party to do the same. The amazing thing in this age of instant fascination and gratification is that we’re never made to wait long.

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