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Infighting Is Inevitable, How We Do It Defines Our Future

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

The right is a much different beast than the left. If you were to line up 100 people from the left and ask what matters to them, you’d likely get answers with very little variation. Do the same with the right and you’ll likely get 100 different answers.

This is because we’re a party that values individualism while the left values collectivism. Despite the fact that they say they want everyone’s freak flag to fly and be accepted for who people are, they’re very particular about what kind of opinions you can have on any given subject. Carrying a different opinion other than what the mainstream left accepts results in ostracization or punishment.

The right is a mish-mash of ideologies that range from the “compassionate conservatism” of the Bush years to the near-anarchism of ardent libertarians. Yes, some modes of thought may be more popular than others at any given moment, but overall you’ll see people who claim they’re the “true conservatives” be lambasted by the right in general. Individualists don’t like being told they need to fall in with the body politic or else.

If you want true diversity, then the right is where it’s at. It not only contains shallow levels of diversity such as melanin levels, sexualities, and religious beliefs but also deeper kinds of diversity that involve philosophy and values. As my colleague Jerry Wilson pointed out, that diversity can be found on this very site where vehement disagreement isn’t uncommon. I myself have written articles expressing my views in opposition to articles my colleagues have written, and the same has been done by my colleagues towards me. It’s always respectful and it’s always welcome. In my personal opinion, I find that disagreement to be a good thing.

It’s this disagreement that made the site more powerful. It’s created a big tent for readers of all stripes to find good ideas, conversation, and heated debate under.

The issue that inevitably rises is that our party of individualists is going to butt heads and tensions will escalate to a point where feelings start to get involved. At that point, things go from respectful disagreement to inter-party warfare.

To this day, I sometimes wonder if it was Barack Obama who defeated Republicans or if it was Republicans who defeated Republicans. I watched, for instance, many Republicans refuse to vote for the politician on their ticket because their choice was defeated after some pretty nasty disagreements. The same trend continued under Trump.

We’re often called the “silent majority,” meaning we have more people in our party than the other side, and we oftentimes lose because members of our majority refuse to show up. This is often due to hurt feelings and spitefulness. We become embittered against our fellow party members to the point of departing the party altogether. Some of us become so angry that we join the other side and form The Lincoln Project.

These people are not missed.

That brings us to our current infighting incident between Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Nancy Mace, who have been lobbing insults at one another in very public spaces. To be clear, this is a very dumb fight, but I’m of the same mind as my colleague Bonchie. It hardly matters and likely won’t move the meter one iota toward a win or loss…at least not during these midterms.

But this aforementioned “very dumb fight” shows me a few things about where a good deal of our party stands. Greene is highly popular with many conservatives and Mace is popular with another. Their fight has the potential to spark up a greater fight in the general voting populace, and due to the creature that is the internet, that fight will likely spin wildly out of control. There will be no middle ground. Either you’re a RINO squish or you’re an immovable idiot. There is no in-between. Even moderates will be accused of being on one side or another, prompting people to retreat to corners.

I know this will happen because we’ve watched it happen repeatedly.

By all means, I think we should disagree and debate. How we debate, however, does have an effect on how we win elections. The Republican penchant to pick up our toys and go home is a real problem. All it takes is one influential voice to encourage people to note cast a vote because of one reason or another, and the next thing you know we’ve lost ground.

It’s a very real problem, but moreover, it’s an avoidable one.

I’m not asking for kumbaya circles. I don’t think we should all fall in line into one kind of mode of thinking, but I do think we shouldn’t get sucked into the very common trap of believing that we have to become so divided on an issue that we refuse to cooperate, even to the point of sacrificing the Republic.

Personally, I’ve had enough of that and we can see, so has the health of our nation.