Not my kind of Party

… what’s more fun than watching a bunch of 60 year olds travel across the country tearing each other apart?  Probably watching anything else.…

“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.”

~George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796


We won’t even go into campaign finance or the ludicrous amount of money spent on campaigning so obscenely early which could truly be devoted to meaningful change in our nation if used in other ways.  Because the thing is – there shouldn’t even be Presidential primaries at all.  There really isn’t anything more extra-Constitutional and un-American than the very idea of a Presidential primary.  Because political parties were an accident.  An incredibly unfortunate one.  The Founders never really intended for our political system to have 2 competing parties as its mainstay.  The parties they fell into after the Constitutional Convention, the Federalists and Anti-Federalists (aka the Democratic Republicans, hahaha), were really about one issue- the Constitution itself and how one might interpret it and thereby understand the limits of Federal power and prerogative.  The very first election didn’t feature a single political party.  Granted George Washington was somewhat of a shoe-in.  It would be hard to beat the revolutionary war hero who was admired and respected for his, well…respectability, honor, and adherence to duty.  In fact, this sense of duty was a strong factor in his seeking a second term.  He was afraid that his erst-while cabinet members would split into factions the second he left office.  Naturally, he was right (here’s looking at you, Adams and Jefferson).

And it’s interesting that his two successors and American history’s best frenemies also themselves fundamentally distrusted the idea of a 2-party political system.  It was really this system in the British Parliament that had caused colonial America so much trouble in the first place, and they knew it.  So naturally, their sharp ideological split caused them to go after the other’s ideas in the most vicious ways politically possible.  Because hey while you’re stabbing a long-time friendship to death, may as well fragment the nation politically as well.  And fragment the nation they did, and fragmented it has remained.  But that doesn’t make it right.  It doesn’t make them right.  Really, it’s wrong and it’s not just divisive, it’s destructive.  They knew it.  We know it.  And still we let the 2 party system suck the life out of our government and our nation as a whole.

Res Publica

Documentation without Representation:

George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

Electronic Text Courtesy of The Avalon Project at Yale Law School

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