The Democratic Party of Yes vs. the Republican Party of No

Ku Klux Klan march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL

Ku Klux Klan march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL

Last Saturday’s event at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, marking the 50th anniversary of the civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, was a jarring reminder of how the Democratic Party has become the party of “Yes” while the Republican Party stands in the way of progress as the party of “No.”

On issue after issue, including voting rights, marriage equality, affordable healthcare, equal pay for women, diplomacy instead of warmongering with Iran, tackling climate change, comprehensive immigration reform, sensible gun safety laws, high-speed trains, stopping police violence, renewable energy and more, the Democrats are the party of “Yes” while the Republicans define themselves by being against these things, and especially, being against whatever President Obama is for. Republicans now pathologically say “no” to things even if, as is the case with the Affordable Care Act, repairing America’s crumbling roads and bridges, and executive action on immigration, Republicans previously (even recently) supported those very things.

At least former President George W. Bush was classy enough to attend the Selma event. This was in sharp contrast to Republican leaders such as U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, U.S. Senate Leader Addison “Mitch” McConnell and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who decided to skip Selma. If these Republican leaders had attended Saturday’s celebration in Selma, they would have heard President Obama say:

We respect the past, but we don’t pine for it. We don’t fear the future; we grab for it.

However, that is not the attitude of the Republican Party today. As William F. Buckley, Jr., a founder of the modern Conservative movement which is synonymous with today’s Republican Party, once said:

A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling ‘Stop!’

Indeed, one can imagine Republicans wistfully talking about using the Edmund Pettus Bridge as, to paraphrase Republican Robert Dole, a bridge to the past.

Photo by Ninian Reid, used under Creative Commons license.

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