“It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. 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 mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”
Washington, in his wisdom, also saw how political parties could also lead to foreign influence in our government. To say this does not now exist is to ignore the obvious. He also envisioned how political parties would “distract” and “enfeeble” the government and created jealousies and pit citizens against citizens, caring more for party affiliation than for what was best for the country.
“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. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”
It is time we followed Washington’s sage advice and look to what a political candidate brings to the table as regards working for all in their realm of jurisdiction, rather than whether they have an “R” or “D” before their names.
We have witnessed in our county and in our state, as well as in our country, how political parties and the leaders of those parties (factions) seek individual power and control over others, including those who seek/hold political office. To say that a qualified individual could secure political office in this country without being vetted by party officials is preposterous. When this happens, party officials hold the trump card over who “we the people” have to choose from when it comes to those who govern. This takes power from the many and gives it to the few; a proposition that was unacceptable to George Washington.
It should also be unacceptable to those who truly cherish Liberty. Forget political parties and think first of your Liberty and your country, especially when you look at those who seek political office in the future.
Sgt Major Mike Gaddy – Teaching classes about the Constitution in the South-West Corner of the state. Please let us know if you would like to attend!