Homeland v. Republican Politics: Part Three
Homeland politics are or degenerate into tribal politics. Tribes are connected to places, places that are treated as sacred because they are and have been populated by multiple generations and, often, even by past generations who still “reside” there in burial grounds.
Republican politics aren’t tribal. Republican politics are connected not to places but to political principles, such as representation, free elections, free speech, due process, and trials by juries of one’s peers. Republican politics are also characterized by political parties, i.e., groups that define themselves not by places but as defenders of certain political principles. In a republic, political parties are in no way like the Apache, the Comanche, or the Cherokee tribes.
As many have noticed, tribes have formed in the United States political arena. As a result, dissent is confused with disloyalty because loyalty is a prerequisite of tribal life. Moreover, in the homeland, patriotism is often confused with loyalty, so that patriots are those who salute when flags are flown and who don’t take a knee when the national anthem is played. In the homeland, public officials are thanked for their service, while in republics public officials are questioned, challenged, even arrested and tried for their service.
The extent to which our politics have become tribal is attested to, illustrated by the lack of any substantive debate about political principles. Politicians attack each other rather than debating each other, just as, say, the Apaches might attack another tribe but would never debate that tribe. A debate about whether being an Apache or a Cherokee is better makes no sense, just as these days a debate about being a Republican or a Democrat seems senseless. Republicans attack Democrats while Democrats attack Republicans because they both think there is nothing to debate. These parties have become tribes, contending for control of the homeland, not for persuading the people to adopt the proper political principles. In republics, disagreements don’t lead to attacks bot to debates, at times even to debates over basic principles. And after the debates, the people get to decide which principles will have their consent. And that is the key to republics: They are political arrangements that function according to “the consent of the governed.”