Editorial - Room with a View

Room with a View: the California Democratic Party and insects, aliens, and people

The new chair of the California Democratic Party, Rusty Hicks, is a “skilled political strategist and a steady, even-keeled leader in the labor movement” as described by his backers in a recent article by Christine Mai-Duc and Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times.

Mr. Hicks and I hold conflicting views about people. From that article:

“Coming out of the labor movement, I believe in the collective. I don’t believe in the individual,” Hicks said with more than a dozen elected officials standing behind him. “In order to see a change in the White House, we’re going to have to have a real change in the California Democratic Party, and that starts with us standing together tonight.”

(If he doesn’t believe in the individual, why on earth did he (an individual!) run for election as chair of the California Democratic Party? And, having been elected, why didn’t he in great embarrassment at being elected as an individual refuse to serve? If he doesn’t believe in the individual, why is he interested in a “change in the White House” — meaning swapping Donald Trump for Generic Democrat?)

His beliefs, as stated in the first two sentences of the quotation, blot out individuals and individual moral agency. Further, those beliefs excuse smearing mud on groups of people who are personally and individually not guilty.

In opposition to Mr. Hicks’s stated positions, I believe in a community of individuals who may willingly join together (or freely leave) joint projects. I am not “woke.” I hold in low regard so-called social justice warriors who swarm in anonymous online or black-clothed mobs.

“People” may be a collective noun but “collectivize” as a verb embraces forcing people to obey, fit in, sing the same anthem, run with the pack. Human beings are social animals. But people are not social insects nor are people high-functioning drones like the Borg in Star Trek.

Mr. Hicks’s beliefs are contrary to the American Founding.

The Declaration of Independence was written and signed and fought for by individuals fed up with being treated like second-class citizens by the British ruling class, as embodied by King George III. They refused to be treated like a herd of cows to be milked for tax revenue.

The United States Constitution was a hard-fought compromise argued by strong-willed individuals representing the interests of the individual former Colonies. To prosper, those interests needed to be harnessed together to pull in the same direction — but the differences could not be blotted out. Hence we are a republic of individual sovereign States.

Further, the Bill of Rights — the first ten Amendments to the Constitution — secure the rights of individuals to meet together, to petition the government, to arm themselves…

Mr. Hicks and his beliefs convince me, once again, that I cannot sign on as a member of the Democratic Party. Neither can I support policies of the Democratic Party if those policies champion the collective and deny the individual.