Washington has long been a stranger to principle other than the principle of self advancement. Yet, something new seems to be emerging across the country. Politicians have long felt the need to disguise raw political agendas in the pretense of principle. That pretense has disappeared.
In this age of rage, voters seem to have no patience, let alone need, for leaders speaking of abstract principles. They want immediate unequivocal action in supporting or opposing President Trump. For Democrats, that all consuming purpose has led to the abandonment of core unifying values, including many that first drew me to the Democratic Party. While they would vehemently deny it, Trump is remaking the party in his inverse image. This past month shows how far that transformation has gone.
The remaking of the Democratic Party was evident last week with the reaction to the decision to withdraw troops from Syria. There was a time when a sizable number of Democrats opposed undeclared wars and unending military campaigns. Now, they are appalled that Trump would not continue a war in one of the myriad countries with American troops engaged in combat operations. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the withdrawal a “Christmas gift to Vladimir Putin,” while Tim Kaine, David Cicilline, and other Democrats called it “irresponsible” or “hasty.”
Of course, this “hasty” move is after seven years of intervention in the civil war, including personnel on the ground since 2012. Our military also has been in Iraq since 2003 and in Afghanistan since 2001. One study estimated the costs of the wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan at $5.6 trillion. More importantly, thousands of military personnel have been killed and tens of thousands have been wounded. Yet, Democrats now espouse the same lines denounced during the Bush administration.