Ronald Nathan | Politics, a Noble Calling

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Politics has a dirty name, especially for the past several decades, but for me… 

Politics is the way competing legitimate interests and stakeholders resolve their differences legitimately and nonviolently. The only alternatives to politics are violence and authoritarian coercion by a privileged group. For some, the only legitimate political mission is to provide mutual safety to all members of society. For me it has another mission as well: to facilitate that the needy get enough and the vulnerable are protected. If that requires some redistribution of the wealth, so be it. 

For a free society to maintain itself and thrive: 

• Competing interests and stakeholders must acknowledge the legitimacy of those interests and stakeholders with whom they compete. 

• The norms of the political process must be respected by all. 

• Compromise must be acknowledged as a positive strength, not a weakness to be avoided. 

The problem with American political culture today isn’t that it is too political. It is that it isn’t political enough! By that I mean Americans, at least since Vietnam and Watergate, have progressively lost an appreciation for the art of political compromise and have slowly abandoned the values listed above. 

Donald Trump and Trumpism is the personification and climax of that abandonment. Whatever you may think of Joe Biden, he is the personification of those values. America is, in my opinion, at a crossroads. For the American image of itself as articulated by JFK and Ronald Reagan — the America where its citizens ask what they can do for their country, the America that is the shining city on the hill — to survive, Trump must be rejected and rejected decisively and Biden must be allowed the opportunity to succeed. And Biden supporters must allow Biden to compromise and BOTH groups must see that compromise as success. 

That’s the America I grew up in and it’s the America I pray for my grandchildren. 

Ronald Nathan


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