Thursday, November 6, 2008

Expelling Heretics

The term "dissident" comes from a latin word, "dissidencia," which was first used in the Middle Ages during meetings of various factions of The Church (pre-schisms), and the term meant "Those who seek the same goal by a different path." The importance of the emergence of that term was that it gave space to those in The Church to voice their dissent without being heretics. This is important, because a healthy movement cannot remain healthy unless it gives space for its members to have less than 100% loyalty. Martin Luther King Jr, as an example, did not think America was perfect. But he loved it, and he helped it change for the better.

The Republican Party is in the middle of asking itself: dissident or heretic?

For the right, from Red State (I refuse to link to them) via Matthew Yglesias:

RedState is pleased to announce it is engaging in a special project: Operation Leper.

We’re tracking down all the people from the McCain campaign now whispering smears against Governor Palin to Carl Cameron and others. Michelle Malkin has the details.

We intend to constantly remind the base about these people, monitor who they are working for, and, when 2012 rolls around, see which candidates hire them. Naturally then, you’ll see us go to war against those candidates.

Clearly, RedState has an answer: Heretic. Anyone who opposes Governor Palin, anyone who doesn't toe the... well, not even the party line, but the party-base line, the ideological line, must be cast out. Expelled. They're a heretic.

Now, I have to say that these McCain campaign workers who are going around after the fact complaining about Sarah Palin and talking about how bad she was even though they worked tirelessly to try and get her in the White House... well, I have as much respect for them as I have for Scott McLellan or Colin Powell, who may have discretely voiced dissent at the time but pretended to be 100% partisans in public, thus denying us the ability of private debate. But that's a different issue, that stems to me all the way back to the Saturday Night Massacre, when a huge chunk of the Attorney General's Office were fired because they refused to replace the Independent Prosecutor in charge of Watergate.

But still, they are members of the Republican Party. Even if they're complete hacks, they get to choose their political affiliation. If Republicans will hire them, or they win primary elections for the Republican Party, they're in the Party, and they can lend their voice. They can dissent, even if they choose not to when it matters.

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