The following quote is from a retired general, and fairly asute politician:

Change based on principle is progress; constant change without principle becomes chaos.

Who also said:

To be in league with the future, a political party, first, had to be guided by long-range principle, not short-term expediency.  Government of course, affects profoundly the daily lives and plans for every person in the country, and if governmental action is without the solid guideline of enduring principles, national policies are bound to flounder in confusion.

Both quotes are from descriptions of the 1956 Presidential campaign, in Waging Peace, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1965.  Reminding us not to forget the lessons of the past, nor place too much stock in labels.  Today’s progressive is yesterday’s Republican:

I cited free collective bargaining without governmental interference as a long-range principle to be observed and as a cornerstone of Republican philosophy in labor-managment relations.

I wonder if any Republican alive today remembers that statement.  Or the fact that Ike’s first Secretary of Labor was the head of the Plumber’s Union, AFL-CIO.

Or do Democrats have any recollection of the ’56 election:

My view, at the time, was that a Democratic team of Senator Lyndon Johnson for President and Senator Humbert Humphrey or Senator John F. Kennedy for Vice President would have had better vote-getting power than the one named.

(I guess “strike that, reverse it” comes to mind.  Kennedy-Johnson in 1960).

Every day I read diaries extolling the virtues of a fictious, and highly moral, “Democratic Party”, and denigrating the vile and disgusting “Republican Party”.  Neither characterization is true of course, but that doesn’t stop people from framing every issue in those terms.  Neither do we take into account the absolute, irrefutable fact that the color map of the United States in the last election is – purple.  Most people still feel compelled to reduce this nation into two primary colors.

We have more people from more countries, speak more languages and dialects, and have larger “congregations” representing all the world’s religions in this country than any other in the world.  But.  It’s “red” and “blue”.  Democrats and Republicans.  And “progressives” have the temerity to wonder why their “superior, moral, and obviously correct” message fails to penetrate the electorate.  What colosal arrogance.

We the people means all the people.  Eisenhower knew that, ran his campaign on the concept, and he was also the last President who could have run on either ticket.  [In fact Truman asked him to run as a Democrat in the 1952 election].  Then, as now, the great political advisors of the time insisted there was nothing to be gained by visiting the South – write ’em off.  Ike told them that there was no way he would ignore people in any part of the country, and that he was by god touring the South.  Funny thing happened:  the entire route was lined with people cheering.  

And we got? The totally surreal images of two busses – opposite sides of the counterfeit coin – travelling into the same city, much less the same State, on the same day.  Neither candidate really cared about the South,  or “the West”, or any State not considered “swing”.  What a country.  $1.6 billion, and all I got was a headache from watching the “bouncing busses”.

Maybe it’s time we looked to the past to see the future. Nothing complex, just a little shift in framing. And it wouldn’t hurt to actually plan for that future:

“In addition to asking ourselves what would happen in the coming election, we should consider especially what might happen to the nation and the world in the next hundred years.” [Ike, ’56]

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