Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dear Republicans, an opportunity for patriotism, pragmatism, or opportunism.

Dear Republicans, Patriotism, pragmatism or opportunism?
(I may be dreaming, but could the president be the catalyst to bring the parties together?)

Those who “understand” politics will tell you that it is a matter of compromise. Parties must adjust, give up on absolutes and accommodate to the circumstances. This is realistic, but a worrisome situation when we see that politicians are willing to compromise their integrity. Skill at rationalizing comes in handy in this process.
Those less skilled at rationalization, some loyal members of the Republican party, now seem to be trapped in an uncomfortable place, presenting both moral and practical dilemmas. It’s not an uncommon occurrence, having to deal with a very “difficult boss.” For their own safety or ambition, they must. Others are in the middle of a slow walk back to integrity.
 Those who spoke out early no doubt harbor a fear that he will retaliate. Mr. Trump is famous for his capacity to get back at those who have crossed him. Some Republicans had a moment of principle, when the tape of him bragging about grabbing women in the genitals came out. They spoke out, and now have to deal with the foreboding and cloud of what might be the consequences for this “lapse.”
Even those who didn’t speak out, now deal with the growing number of situations that make them wonder how long they can be silent, how long they can convince themselves that their silence will help them achieve the goals that fit with their politics. Goals that they hope will be facilitated by Mr. Trump’s position.
Some are willing to hold on until the bitter end, trusting the ends justify the means. But there are a few who are coming to recognize that such times create the opportunity for patriotism, even heroism
Some are so committed to the country and to their own personal integrity that they will oppose what is going on.  Moreover, there are members of the Republican party with such solid positions that they may not be vulnerable. They have less to lose in their opposition regarding the administration. There may even be some willing to risk their wonderful committee appointments or even their reelection to do what is right. Such leaders may give courage to others.
Others are astute at sniffing the air – they know the direction things are going and opportunism is their motivation. They have seen things in their constituents that have made it clear that they cannot just go along with situation in the White House.
         A third group is just practical. They’re the ones saying,
“What?” What’s being proposed from the White House just does not make sense. They look at the prioritizing of the funds that hard working citizens must give up to them. They see themselves as responsible to carry out duty as honest, practical fiduciaries. They want to make careful, thoughtful decisions about the resource they control? 
So whether from heroism, opportunism or pragmatism, there are those in the Rebulican party who have an opportunity to step up and to do what is right
During my graduate research I studied the development of moral reasoning, analyzed my data in the morning and watched the Watergate hearings in the afternoon.
I feel a bit of Deja vu—I watched the testimony of people at the lowest levels of moral reasoning, controlled by self-interest, authority or affinity to a group like them. It was rare but exhilarating to see the few who functioned at the true level of principle. There are signs of it now in the Grand Old Party.
When this heroism, pragmatism or even opportunism emerges, our job is not to gloat, not to say, “It’s about time,” or “I told you so.” Whichever reason is the foundation of their behavior, it will take a measure of courage. We must not celebrate, for some this step forward carries with it significant loss. Loss of position or loss of faith in the party they were devoted to. Some quiet respect and and some admiration is perhaps the best reaction for those of us who see the dilemma that they have had to struggle through -- to reject the crazy, hateful and inept leadership. Perhaps they will even be the new leaders that can find the nirvana of common ground with the other party.
Ironically, this president may actually be the catalyst for what many thought impossible. The common “enemy”, so obsessed with self and with so little concern for the country, may bring the sides together to find shared goals and realize they must work together for the good of our country.

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