About Parties

So the thing about parties is….I hate them, with a passion unrivaled since the dawn of time itself.  Here’s a little pre-sound bite from Washington that completely explains why:

“All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

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 finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.”

~ from George Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796

Now, because I have no hope that most people reading this totally understood all of that, let’s take that bit from Washington and paraphrase it into a more brief, modern English:

‘Any group of people, no matter who they are, who seek to alter the way our government works, are destructive.  These groups set their own ideas up to be the only right ones, and use their power to dominate the way the government functions.

These groups distract the public and keep the government from working.  They convince people to fight amongst themselves over highly inflammatory points, and disunite the people.  These groups are easily corrupted.’

_______________________________________________________________________________

What?  You thought I meant the kind of party with cake?  Seriously, George Washington knew 216 years ago that political parties were the root of all evil.  He understood that they fundamentally undermined democracy.  He believed this so firmly that in his Farewell Address of 1796, he repeatedly exhorted the nation not to give in to their destructive influence.  Let me really boil that down – 216 years ago, our most beloved President of all time told everyone what would happen if political parties were permitted to control the government in this country.  Listening to political ads play around me, as a historian, I seriously sit here wondering how everyone can be so ridiculously stupid.

And really, we are stupid.  How many times have I heard people complain that they can’t vote for a candidate that means anything to them because they don’t want to throw their vote away on a candidate who’s not from a major party?  How many times have I heard people complain the political discourse in this country has gotten completely polarized?   Even worse, how many times have I heard people who are normally perfectly rational, parroting political party talking points as if those points actually reflected reality in any way?  WAKE UP.

The founding fathers never had any legitimate intention of establishing a two-party system.  A person who signs on with any party or faction may as well write off any credibility they have in talking about what the founding fathers “intended”.  The two-party system was an accident, a by-product of political and ideological fighting over the Constitution and the vestiges of the Parliamentarian system inherited from England.  Even before Washington’s Farewell Address, the founding fathers themselves had clarified multiple times (in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers) how terrible it would be if the new United States fell into the ancient trap of factionalism.  Well, the joke is on them, here we are.

And here I am.  The purpose of this blog is to elucidate historical points and facts in a constructive way.  In plain English, I have decided to write this blog as a bullshit meter.  I am here to out people, in politics, in culture, in wherever, who are completely editing history to suit themselves.  I have no party, no side, nor a need for one.  Or as a tree once said, ‘Side?  I am on no one’s side, because no one is on my side…’  No one cares about legitimate history anymore, so I’m taking it back.  For all of us.

Res Publica

Easy reference check:

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp

Yale Law School’s Digital Text of Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address

 

Leave a Comment ↓

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: