The Poison of Party Politics

“A FRIGHTFUL DESPOTISM”

by Dr. Tom E. Davis, Col., USA (Ret.), 2016

(Jan. 16, 2016) — From the left-tilted magazine “Politico” comes this:  “Do the Democrats Have a Next Act? Forget the Republican squabble—it’s Hillary’s party that needs to find new ideas” by Todd S. Purdum, 1/15/2016: Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/do-the-democrats-have-a-next-act-213532#ixzz3xKa62cPc” Search “Todd S. Purdum-Politico” for more on this writer.

The content does NOT interest me even a little; however, the very notion of party politics and the fragmentation of our nation into opposing political camps is the very notion decried by many, if not all of our Founding Fathers. They had labored in very hot weather in closed-to-the-public sweaty conditions to produce our magnificent Constitution.” The Constitution as adopted, including the Preamble and Articles I – VI, contains 4,372 words, of which 841, or 19%, are unique.

http://www.readtheconstitutionstupid.com/en/2012-01-27-19-34-40/the-constitution/word-counts/2938-the-constitution-as-adopted-word-count

The Constitution may be further broken down by its verbiage and use:

# Words # Unique %Unique
Preamble

             52

             39

75%

Article I

       2,267

           602

27%

Article II

       1,025

           304

30%

Article III

           377

           149

40%

Article IV

           330

           138

42%

Article V

           145

             81

56%

Article VI

           156

             71

46%

Article VII             26             19       73%

The 55 delegates representing the 13 colonies took about 100 days to forge this magnificent charter of government establishing the first Constitutional Republic in the long history of mankind. They established this republic utilizing the term “Federalist,” meaning the states had power equal to but different from the federal government.

Factions had been a problem even during colonial days; this is a circumstance to be expected under monarchical duress and even during our war of revolution. We had been as colonies, loyal to the crown, considering ourselves to be British Subjects. The excesses of the King and of the Parliament ultimately brought about discord, the Boston Tea Party and the attempt by the king’s ever-present military to seize the weapons of the colonists at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 initiating the War of Revolution. Sound familiar?

Before, during and after the Revolutionary War, factions existed, labeled as Loyalists (to the Crown) or as Tories; those loyal to the colonies were simply known as “Patriots.” Benjamin Franklin’s son William remained a “Loyalist” in spite of the fact that Dr. Franklin was a devoted and active Patriot.

Just like political affiliations today, loyalists, patriots, and neutrals came from all social and economic classes, and many people took sides based not on principle but on who they thought was going to win or which side would profit them the most personally.”
http://study.com/academy/lesson/british-loyalists-vs-american-patriots-during-the-american-revolution.html

“The United States government is based on federalism. Federalism is a method of government that allows two or more entities to share control over the same geographic region. Each person in the United States is subject to the laws of that city, county, state and our federal government.”
http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-federalism-definition-factors-of-us-adoption.html

“In a federal system where sovereignty is shared between a central governing authority and constituent political units, power is also divided. The central governing authority has certain exclusive federal powers, the constituent political units have certain powers (sometimes known as states’ rights), and there may be a number of shared concurrent powers.”

“In Canada, for example, the reserved powers lie with the federal government; in the United States, the reserved powers lie with the constituent states. [1]

There exists absolutely no doubt; our Founding Fathers intended for our Republic to be Federalist in nature and that “Federalist” or “Federalism” are not descriptive of a political party as some historians or reference works might lead you to believe.

Then how did political parties evolve in the United States, you might ask?

Historically, the first political party was organized and developed by our third and fourth presidents. “The Democratic-Republican Party was formed by Thomas Jefferson and others who believed in an agrarian-based, decentralized, democratic government. The party was established to oppose the Federalists who had supported and pushed through the ratification of the US Constitution. The party came into power with Thomas Jefferson’s election in 1801 and held the nation’s highest office through the election of Andrew Jackson in 1824. Jackson’s election was contentious, however, with the party dividing its support between him and John Quincy Adams. Soon after the 1824 election, the party officially split into the National Republicans (led by Adams and Henry Clay) and the Democratic Party (led by Jackson).
http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/early-republic/timeline-terms/democratic-republican-party

“The Founders were republicans. No, not George Bush or John McCain Republicans; they were philosophical republicans (with a small “r”).

This meant they believed that successful representative governments required the subordination of individual personal interests to the welfare of the community. They believed that the political process was all about identifying the common good. It was not about competition and disagreement; politics was a process in which rational voters and officials calmly sorted out what best served the entire community. The end result was not one camp of winners and another of losers, but the entire electorate united behind a common vision.”
http://www.shmoop.com/political-parties/founding-fathers-political-parties.html

Both George Washington and John Adams, our first two presidents, were bitterly opposed to factions or political parties; in 1780 Adams declared, “There is nothing I dread so much as a division of the Republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader and converting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.” Despite such trepidation, the Founding Fathers wrote nothing about political parties in the Constitution.

However, George Washington had this to say about ‘factions’:

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.”

― George Washington’s Farewell Address

Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

— GEORGE ORWELL, Politics and the English Language

In spite of his overt participation in party squabbles, Thomas Jefferson had this to say:

“I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself.  Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.” –Thomas Jefferson to Francis Hopkinson, 1789.
http://famguardian.org/Subjects/Politics/thomasjefferson/jeff3.htm

From the evidence presented above, it is the candid opinion of this commentator that this Republic would be far better if we dispensed with political parties altogether and argued (debated) the pros and cons of any subject to be considered as a potential law of the land, in the committees and sub-committees of the Congress. For the enlightenment of the respective committees, we might use our communication technology to hold regular “Townhall meetings of the Air” as a guidance mechanism for our elected representatives and to encourage more citizen participation in the machinations of federal government.

Political parties are self-serving rather than productive entities for the national good.

Dr. Thomas E. Davis, Colonel, USA (Ret)

326 Nantucket Lane

Monroe Twp, NJ 08831
tomdavis@comcast.net


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