Attack Plan: American Political Parties
I think we can all agree George Washington, our first President, was a great American. If anyone disagrees with this (and the Brits don’t count) then you’re an idiot. Not to be crass, but you simply don’t get it.
GW put his life on the line and had to watch (and command) many patriots to their death for a cause – a belief – an ideal. After he helped kick British ass off our great land, he then, very reluctantly, agreed to serve as our first President. He came, kicking and screaming, for a second term of office, but refused a third. What a man! The guy literally sweat manliness from his pores.
In his farewell speech to the newly formed idea of a nation, he addressed what he thought could be the end of this ideal – political parties. Here are some excerpts of that farewell address (the whole address can be found here):
…I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discrimination’s. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
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.
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischief’s of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume…
In short, Washington believed political parties were evil in nature. They were not in the best interest of our country unity and could eventually lead to our downfall.
Ladies and gentlemen…I think we are almost there. If we are going to save ourselves from ourselves, we need a plan…an Attack Plan…
Select the best candidate
The biggest problem today with political parties is they often don’t select the best candidate for the job. The party system is set up to select the best representative of the party to win an election. Oftentimes, who is best for the job is not EVER a consideration.
Imagine if that is how it worked in business? This silliness happens all the time, but if you can’t do the job or don’t have the best person to fill the position, it eventually catches up with the business. It will either go bankrupt or toil in mediocrity until you have someone there who can perform the best.
Kill all the lawyers
Shakespeare said it best in Henry VI, “the first thing we should do is kill all the lawyers.” This statement was uttered by a treacherous revolutionary in his attempt to plan a way to be successful. If they eliminated all who might stand in the way of the rebellion, then it just might work. Even though the phrase was spewed to start a rebellion (not necessarily to restore sanity to every day life), let’s consider the possibilities.
Political Action Committees are the bane of our political existence. Lobbyists spend millions every year to push their agendas on our legislatures. There is almost NEVER a bill passed, a resolution ratified, or a roll-call conducted that doesn’t have millions of dollars given to somebody in the government behind it. Political parties rely on this money to win future elections (and to build extravagant lifestyles).
Absolute power corrupts
Political parties’ sole purpose in life is to get people elected. They are nothing more than fund raising tools to lend support to candidates that have elect-ability that will push forward an agenda that coincides with those that give the most money to the party.
Whew! What a mouthful. But it’s true. Every last word of it. It’s the golden rule that is as old as civilization itself – “those who have the gold, make the rules.” And if you want to make the rules with government, you musts get your guy/gal elected. They must win. Plain and simple. Doesn’t matter if they have the best interest of the country, you, your family, or the safety of its citizens in mind. It is not the job of candidates anymore to do this. It is only about winning an election to push forward the agenda of the donors.
This is extraordinarily dangerous and George Washington knew it. He, like so many other founding fathers, could see into the future of what money and power does to people. It changes the intent of serving the greater good to serving the few who helped get them there. Eventually, they predicted, this would bring down the very ideal of why The United States were founded.
Stop the hatred
I am continually ashamed, but almost never surprised, as to the level of hatred that exists between people of opposing views. The Sean Hannity’s of the world are the scourge of the system. They hate first, belittle and demise second, and seek common ground only as a last resort.
GW had this one pegged. He knew the power and money involved in controlling the process was too big to pass. That political parties were a way to mobilize and influence people to follow along with the program (regardless of right or wrong) in order to land top spots that control the government system.
So, today, there is no interest in the betterment of our country – it is only the betterment of the party. If it is good for the country, then it’s a bonus. The sides have become so polarized to their beliefs, they have lost site of the common goal. And in this blindness, a pure hatred for the other side has been formed. So much so, there is no common enemy or friend in the world today for Americans. There is only which are you – Democrat or Republican? If you are not on my team, you are the enemy.
Make voting a privilege, not a right
The United States was formed on the concept of giving rights to citizens. The Constitution and its subsequent Bill of Rights (first 10 Amendments to the Constitution) galvanized the concept of a US Citizen’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The right to vote for elected leaders in our representative form of government is clearly defined.
However, the US Constitution was written prior to political parties being formed. There are no provisions in this document to handle what is clearly a threat to our national security and sovereignty. Political parties have taken the concept of the “right” to vote and made a mockery out of the concept.
Select the best candidate
I decided to revisit this one again as I sit watching Governor Palin take the Vice Presidency candidacy on the McCain ticket for this year’s Presidential election. I can’t help think to myself, is this what McCain really wanted or is it only helpful to get elected?
She may be qualified for the position, although that looks highly unlikely – she is only 2 years removed from being a mayor of a town of 7,000 residents. It is most likely that she is a woman that put her on the ticket. Could she possibly be more qualified than Mitt Romney or Joe Lieberman or Charlie Christ or Mike Huckabee – most definitely not!
Or is it an attempt to woo women voters who were simply voting for Hillary because she was woman? If women voters switch to McCain from Clinton based solely on the gender issue, then my previous notion of making voting a privilege (through some kind of test or other means of earning it) needs to be instituted immediately.
What is really scary about the selection is that McCain met with Palin just once before making his decision on putting her in the second most powerful position in the country if elected. If this does not tell you the process of selecting the best person is all screwed up, I’m not sure what does.
I love the idea of America and all that comes with it. I know George Washington was scared of political parties interfering with that ideal. He decided to never affiliate with one. If George Washington were running for President today he wouldn’t have made it out of the primaries. Then again, GW never ran for President in today’s sense. He was convinced by his peers to serve and lead as they all knew he was the best person for the position. What an amazingly simple idea!!!!