There is a kind of purity that is not pure: partisan purity, which bears no resemblance to the purity of the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the pure in heart . . . .”
The U.S. Senate is poorer today because of partisan purity on both sides of the political aisle. Politics is a brutal game made more civil by rules that seek to set boundaries on partisan purity. The 60-40 rule was one of those long-standing Senate rules that helped insure some measure of long-term wisdom by the 100 members of the U.S. Senate.
The onus of responsibility for weakening the Senate – lowering the bar for simple majority votes on matters once believed to be of such gravity as to require a higher threshold – falls to both purist parties. The one for pushing the envelope knowing the consequences, the other for rescinding the rule. From now on, whichever party is in the majority shall rule without restraint.
The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (USA) asks officers to promise “to further the peace, purity, and unity” of the church in recognition that though, in an ideal world, peace, purity, and unity are in accord, they are often in conflict in the real world.
This week the U.S. Senate exercised a different kind of purity that violates all three values – peace and unity, as well as purity – leaving the country the poorer in restraint and wisdom.
Blessed are the not so pure.
- Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, April 7, 2017.