There is in the United States Congress a group of people who have no more allegiance to democracy and representative government than does ISIS, al-Qaida or the Taliban. Like those zealots, they believe that only they are right and that any tactics are acceptable to get their way.
They call themselves the Tea Party, but they have more in common with a playground bully than with a political party.
Negotiation and compromise to them are anathema. Had they been members of the convention that in 1789 fashioned a constitution for a new nation with negotiation and compromise, the convention would have ended in failure.
They — and all of us standing along the yawning gap in the body politic — might do well to consider the observations of Judge Learned Hand in 1944 in a speech for “I Am an American Day.”
In speaking of the spirit of liberty, Hand said, “I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interest alongside its own without bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded; the spirit of liberty is the spirit of him who, near two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned, but has never quite forgotten — that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side-by-side with the greatest.”