By Brent Budowsky - 03/31/08 04:48 PM EDT
Democrats should discard the bottom-feeding politics of Judas Iscariot, the low-road attacks designed or destined to elect a Republican president, and the petty threats against House Democrats and the Speaker, who is one good election away from taking the people’s House to historic greatness.
Forty years ago this Friday, the King who had seen the mountaintop was taken from us too soon, and the Kennedy who would have been president spoke above the tears and rage of his times to champion the coming-together of a wounded nation.
Someday historians will judge the price we paid for the loss of John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. Like the young people who surge into politics today with such wonderful good will and freedom from bigotry of all kinds, young people of my age and generation were inspired to politics by the visions of Kennedys and Kings.
Democrats today should remember the words of Thomas Paine, who wrote one of the greatest documents in the history of freedom and called it Common Sense.
Paine told great truths that were known by Washington and Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt, Kennedy and King. America is greater than the sum of our parts. Our house stands tallest when we stand together. Our greatness lies in the union of our enlightenment and our self-interest.
For Democrats 40 years after the loss of Kennedy and King, the common sense of the matter is clear. The battle throughout history is between uniters, who bring together large majorities of diverse people with common interests for historic change, and dividers, who exploit wounds that pit those with common interests against each other, to defend the corruptions of the status quo.
The common sense of the matter is this: The woman chained by the glass ceiling of inequity has common cause with the black man shackled by injustice.
The Hispanics who are disrespected and disempowered by discrimination have common cause with workers who lose jobs to foreign labor, paid slave wages.
The troops who suffer preventable deaths and wounds while government cuts taxes during wartime have common cause with those who suffer the Grapes of Wrath-style foreclosures that know no race.
The mom who gives her daughter her last scrap of food, the dad outraged that his son was poisoned by a Chinese toy, the driver ripped off at the pump, and the ministers, priests and rabbis who live by the Golden Rule have far more in common with each other than they do with bankers paid fortunes for their disasters, or politicians who ask those given the most to contribute the least.
For Democrats the common sense of the cause is clear: to give voice to the voiceless, power to the disempowered, respect to the disrespected. We stand for the truth that the land of the free and the home of the brave is the Prometheus Unbound of the world, when the talents and gifts given by the God we share are liberated to lift us all.
This is the stuff that dreams are made of, the foundation that landslides are built upon, the bricks and mortar of great moments in history.
Common sense speaks to Democrats to set aside the pettiness, take the torch and open a new chapter in the history of America.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then-chief deputy whip of the House. He can be read on The Hill Pundits Blog and reached at email@example.com .