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By Rob Schwarzwalder, a Senior Contributor, The Stream, March 11, 2019

Rob SchwarzwalderA few days after September 11, 2001, President Bush addressed the nation. He spoke about the terrorist attacks and our nation’s commitment to destroying Al-Qaeda. He spoke about the evil of mass shootings, of lynching and racial bigotry, of bullying, drug abuse, and forgetting to call your family when away on business.

Of course, he did no such thing. He focused on the issue of the moment: Terrorism. To add to it would have diminished the loss of 3,000 people and the sickness of using mass murder for political and religious goals. By broadening the scope of his remarks, he would have diluted their force, relevance, and meaning.

The House of Representatives’ recent resolution condemning all forms of bigotry was like the speech I described. It should have squarely faced a real problem. Instead it buried that problem in a list with a lot of others.

The Politics of Endless Grievance

The issue of the moment is not anti-Muslimism, racism, or gender discrimination. It’s anti-Semitism. More to the point, it’s Democratic anti-semitism. Loading the resolution with lots of grievances diverted attention from the matter at hand.

Why did Democratic leaders give in to those pushing for a broader resolution? Why couldn’t they just condemn the hatred of Jews and of Israel? They would have done that once. Now they can’t — because their party has become incoherent. And a lot of bad things can hide in that incoherence.

As journalist Jonathan Allen writes, “the entire episode dramatically exposed the ideological, religious, generational and racial divides within the Democrats’ caucus.” The key word here is “exposed.” The divisions have been rumbling around for many years. Now they are out in the open.

The Democratic party has become like Dr. Frankenstein’s creature.  A collection of parts and pieces with no natural relationship. It includes both anti-Semites and true friends of the Jewish people. Business people and anti-capitalists. People who make their living attacking “Wall Street” but who hold fundraisers at Goldman Sachs. At some point, the tensions become too great and the mutual snarling becomes public. It lives and breathes but its very being is strange. 

The Democrats’ Core Belief: More

That strangeness is due, in large part, to the “progressive” philosophy that nothing is enough, that if it isn’t perfect (as they understand it), it’s bad. This breeds contempt for all that is, no matter how good or noble. And this leads to the central Democratic policy: More.

More federal funding for (you name it). More intrusion into our lives through taxation, redistribution, regulation, assorted mandates, and so forth. And yet more “rights,” yet more “grievances,” yet more “victims” the government must save.

You get a party that believes anything but the perfect is evil. A party that believes that anyone who doesn’t give them everything they demand is wicked. A party of ingratitude, dissatisfaction, anti-patriotism, and anger and division. Worse, a party that can’t compromise, and would rather burn the whole thing down than split a difference with the Republicans.

Not all Democrats have succumbed to this, but the party’s national leadership has. Which is why they have fostered extremism of various kinds. And, thus, last week’s absurd resolution.

How About the GOP?

Is the Republican party any better, at least in terms of common allegiance to a set of ideas? Yes. The members of the GOP share, at least generally, the same beliefs about the role of government, national defense, and social issues. Their “stream” flows pretty evenly.

Do Republicans in government live up to their beliefs? Do they keep all their promises? Of course not. But they at least speak the same basic moral and political language. Democrats, on the other hand, can’t even pass a resolution on anti-Semitism without loading it with everything else some vocal group within their party opposes.

Everyone should be against bigotry against Muslims, against persons of color, and so on. But these things were not at stake last week. Anti-Semitism and support for Israel were.

Conservatives should feel let down, by the way. All but 23 Republican House members voted for the kitchen sink resolution.

The real issues are these: Opposing anti-Semitism and sustaining a conviction that Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state. These are what Ilhan Omar once again challenged. She only articulated what many more in our society believe. That is the single subject the resolution should have addressed. That’s the single issue the Democrats tried to hide by condemning a lot of other problems as well.

Don’t agree? Go back and read President Bush’s speech about terrorism, the crime of American imperialism, and the bombing of Nagasaki. Oh, wait — he didn’t give that speech, did he?


Rob Schwarzwalder is a Senior Contributor at The Stream and a Senior Lecturer at Regent University. Raised in Washington State, he lived with his family in the suburban D.C. area for nearly 25 years until coming to Regent in the summer of 2016. Rob was Senior Vice-President at the Family Research Council for more than seven years, and previously served as chief-of-staff to two Members of Congress. He was also a communications and media aide to a U.S. Senator and senior speechwriter for the Hon. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For several years, he was Director of Communications at the National Association of Manufacturers. While on Capitol Hill, he served on the staffs of members of both Senate and House Armed Services Committees and the Senate Committee with oversight of federal healthcare policy.

Rob is focused on the intersection of theology, culture and politics. His background in public policy has been informed by his service on Capitol Hill, the private sector and various Christian ministries. His op-eds have been published in numerous national publications, ranging from TIME and U.S. News and World Report to Christianity Today, The Federalist and The Public Discourse, as well as scores of newspapers and opinion journals. He has been interviewed on National Public Radio, Fox News, and other leading television and radio programs. Rob’s scholarly publications include studies of such issues as fatherlessness, pornography, federal economic policy and national security.

Rob has done graduate work at George Washington University and holds an M.A. in theology from Western Seminary (Portland, Ore.) and an undergraduate degree from Biola University. He and his wife of 35 years, Valerie, make their home in Virginia Beach and have three children.