Nothing is ever gained when Democrats turn to using Republican tactics
What does it mean to be a traitor? This is a word that has been used lately in reference to the 47 Republican Senators who penned the letter to Iran, and I am not sure if I personally like the term. It’s complicated, and I have seen some legal arguments made that could fall under a treason definition. Personally, I am just tired of hearing the words “traitor” or “treason.”
While I do understand the ramifications of what the Republican Senators did, and realize the ripple effect it can create, treason is a word that I feel gets thrown around far too easily. I am not defending what the Republican Senators did, nor am I making any legal arguments about what does or does not constitute treason under U.S. law. I am merely arguing from a perspective of someone who feels the concept of “treason” is being used far too loosely.
I realize that what the 47 Republicans did was a dangerous act, and one that should have consequences. Yet, calling them “traitors” just seems like a generalized attack without much nuance to it. What the Republicans did seems more like an abhorrent undermining of a president’s agenda, rather than what should be termed “treason.”
Why do I think this? Treason should not be a term used only in reference to acting against a sitting President, which is where I hear the term used the most. This was especially true under the Bush years, but it also seems present under Obama too. Ever since 9/11, traitors seem to be everywhere.
The Republican Party of course made calling someone a “traitor” nearly a sport during the Bush years. Anyone who was perceived as not supporting the political agenda of George W. Bush was seen as treasonous in one way or another. Everyone from Republican Congressmen, to conservative radio and TV hosts threw out the treason-bomb against all manner of people who were against Bush’s agenda.
The left hated this during the Bush years. Now it seems we are going back to the treason-game again, though I agree under very different circumstances. The reason I think calling the Republicans traitors is detrimental is because of the precedent it continues.
The main association with committing a political act of “treason” under the Bush years was against the Presidency. The same connection seems to be made with Obama now. What I mean is that the definition of treason seems to be more closely associated with acting against a sitting President’s agenda, rather than a more specific act that could endanger the lives of Americans or national secrets.
Think about it. If the left plays along to the Republican game of who is or isn’t a traitor, than that furthers the dialogue that anyone who speaks or acts against a President’s agenda is a traitor. What the 47 Republicans did wasn’t necessarily treason, rather than unproductive and potentially dangerous act of political folly. The letter is a hinder to Obama’s attempts at a nuclear-deal with Iran, and a bad one at best.
One way I’m told it’s treason is because Republicans have basically sold America’s foreign policy to Israel and Bibi Netanyahu. This does make some sense, but ultimately I still don’t think playing the treason game is healthy or necessary. Honestly, I find concepts like national loyalty rather silly. What is or isn’t treason usually is subject to the current political and social order.
If we play the same game as the Republicans, then they will just turn around the next time they control the presidency and claim that any attempt by Democrats or the left to act against their maniacal foreign policy is “treason.” Don’t agree with a war with Iran? Traitor. Don’t like ground troops in Syria or Iraq? Traitor.
If we play the Republican game, we will always lose. Their game is never played for progressives to win. While it is possible the 47 Republicans could be legally termed traitors, I just think it is more divisive than necessary. The mere stupidity of Republican actions and their past foreign policy record show how reckless and insane they are.
While I hate what the 47 Republicans did with the Iran letter and selling out to Israel’s right-wing, I don’t think the treason game is what the left should be engaging in. The Republicans have backed themselves in a corner, and what should be emphasized is their betrayal to the American people, and not their betrayal of a sitting President.