Democrats are getting what we deserve
Passing on opportunities to demonstrate our principles is a sure path to losing the opportunity to serve.
Back in April when the newly drawn NY legislative maps were first thrown out by a County court as too partisan, I wrote about the callous hypocrisy of the Democratic Party. The Democrats remained confident throughout the process here in New York that ultimately their hyperpartisan maps would be upheld only to have the Court of Appeals issue a stern rebuke. Here’s how The New York Times recounted yesterday’s ruling:
Party leaders had been hopeful that the Court of Appeals, with all seven judges appointed by Democratic governors, would overturn earlier decisions by a Republican judge in Steuben County and a bipartisan appeals court in Rochester.
Instead, the high court issued an even more damning verdict that denied the Democrat-dominated State Legislature a chance to redraw the maps itself.
The manipulative and backward-looking language about unilateral disarmament and eye-for-an-eye not only continues the distracting and dangerous reliance on the language of violence in politics, but also belies a greater weakness in the Democratic Party: a focus on power over principle. Our principles are not at odds with remaining in power. Democrats are getting both what we deserve AND what we have been self-righteously clamoring for nationwide: nonpartisan rule of law. By leaning into hyperpartisan, power-seeking behaviors, Democrats are just reinforcing people’s sense that parties and politics are corrupt and indifferent to their needs and concerns. We are either for service, community, just systems that build trust with citizens and accountability among leaders or not. Part-time principles are not principles — and people can feel it.
Despite my frustration, I’m most focused on what happens next. Do we learn our own lessons and start engaging more people more often in more places in more ways? Do we look beyond our own casual certainty that we know what people need and listen? Do we earn the opportunity to serve? Or do we focus on protecting power? Or do we complain and start laying out the excused for mid-term losses and planning for the symbolic priorities of minority opposition? Lead or lose.