The Modern GOP Would Appall George Washington
As I was reading and reflecting on George Washington’s Farewell Address of 1796 today, it hit me like a soft ton of bricks how prescient President Washington was some 218 years ago.
I admit, not too many years ago, as I read Washington’s warnings about the spirit of political parties, I thought this was one area where this great man somehow missed the boat.
After all, political parties are a legitimate way for like-minded people to work together to accomplish policy initiatives. What could be bad about that, especially if those people are working to achieve good things that strengthen our country, keep it healthy and maintain our freedom?
The past six years have taught me a valuable lesson: It was I who had missed the boat.
What I failed to take into consideration was not only the depravity of human nature in general, but the incredible potential for corruption when (a) good people do not make the effort to remain vigilant and dedicated, and (b) more crass and base people take advantage of this lack of vigilance to advance their own personal gain. What Washington saw–and that I failed to realize–is that when good people fail to remain vigilant and resolute, groups such as political parties no longer remain on course and on target for the good they were originally formed to achieve. Instead, they become vehicles for scoundrels and self-servers to accumulate power and feather their own nests at the expense of the public.
Let’s take a look at what Washington said about political parties and the danger of the spirit of party:
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.
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.
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 the past six years, I have seen the Republican Party–a party I have claimed as my own since I was a 13-year-old member of a Democrat family watching Ronald Reagan take the presidency–become something I never dreamed it could be…or perhaps, I have seen its true corrupt colors finally unmasked. As corrupt as the Democrat Party? Not even close; that party sold its soul completely to Marxist dogma and anti-American tripe decades ago. But the GOP is rushing headlong down the same path upon which the Democrat Party embarked several decades ago.
Until the last few years, I assumed that the RINO traitors within the party were in the minority, or at least they did not fully control the reins of power in the GOP. I thought that both within my state of South Dakota and nationally, the RINO sellouts were an aberration. The past six years have taught me that I was mistaken.
What has happened over the past six years to so wake me up?
After the GOP lost its way during the Bush years (taxing, spending, and generally behaving immorally like Democrats), the people took away control of Congress from them in 2006. Still not learning their lesson, in 2008 they forced a RINO presidential candidate on the people, resulting in the frightening reality of a Democrat Congress and a Democrat president. Then, in 2010, there came an unprecedented outcry for freedom and a return to constitutional government that led to a historic shift in control of the U.S. House and an increase in seats for Republicans in the U.S. Senate.
Instead of learning the obvious lesson (that veering Left causes people to lose confidence in the GOP, and veering Right spells electoral success), the Republican majority in the House proceeded to sell out the American taxpayer with worthless “debt deals” and continued out-of-control spending, and adamantly doing nothing to stop ObamaCare. Oh, and let’s not forget the efforts of the “Republican” leadership to sell illegal alien amnesty to us (gee, it used to be only Democrats who peddled lawlessness and amnesty for illegal aliens). And then there has been the outright open war being waged by the GOP establishment against real Republicans, the most despicable front of which perhaps being the “race card” being played by “Republicans” against Chris McDaniel to defend RINO Thad Cochran in Mississippi. The situation has become so bad, it is obvious the GOP establishment doesn’t want to fight Democrats, but is quite eager and ready to fight conservatives within their own party.
In my state of South Dakota, I saw Republican supermajorities of 70-80 percent in both the state House and Senate in the wake of the Tea Party wave. But rather than see this Republican supermajority legislature finally move boldly forward to implement the Republican principles that could make our state stronger than ever…I saw the “Republican” (and I use quotations around “Republican” because these frauds, while operating under the banner of the Republican Party, do not reflect the documented long-held values of the Republican Party) leadership–controlling the governor’s office, leadership positions in the House and Senate, committee chairs and committee numbers–not only refuse to support good conservative Republican bills, but actually go out of their way to kill Republican bills that come right out of the textbook of documented Republican principles and values. I have seen the “Republican” power structure go to war against the people within the Republican Party who best represent Republican values, in favor of those who make a mockery of Republican values. I have witnessed the “Republican” Party “in crowd” slander and malign good conservative Republicans who most ardently support Republican principles and goals. I have watched the RINOs within the Republican Party pull out all the stops to deter and vilify Republicans who by the very nature of their dedication to Republican principles expose the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the liberal sellout “Republicans” within our party. I have witnessed these snakes-in-the-grass play the Leftist “race card” against conservatives on BS excuses, just like the Democrats do. I have seen, over and over, these frauds and charlatans give a pass to a liberal “Republican” for doing the same thing for which they would condemn a Democrat (obviously, just because the individual is wearing the wrong party “jersey,” not on the merits of the action itself)…and condemn Democrats for engaging in the same kind of lying hypocrisy the RINOs engage in.
Looking at Washington’s statement on the baneful spirit of party, I see that “spirit of revenge” played out, both in animus against the opposing party purely because the member(s) of that party aren’t wearing the “correct jersey,” as well as vengeful animus against members of the party who value principle over blind party collegiality.
I have seen it played out I the embrace of despotism, even in complete contradiction to Republican Party principles. Examples: embrace of ObamaCare, fighting those who attempt to resist ObamaCare, fighting attempts to protect religious freedom from despotism.
I have seen it in the quest for “security and repose in the absolute power of an individual,” where these corrupt infiltrators consider the individual (i.e. party leadership, as well as themselves) to be superior and not bound to principle, to party platform, to what is right.
I have seen it in the lies and deceptions used to “distract” the taxpayers from what they are really doing. Examples: “amnesty isn’t really amnesty,” claiming to oppose ObamaCare…while opposing anyone who opposes Obamacare, using tax money to create “economic development” programs which benefit favored private businesses, and playing the “race card” against conservatives who embarrass them with their Republican legislation and policy initiatives.
I have seen it in the “jealousies” they arouse by embracing the Marxist class envy peddled by the Democrat Party. Examples: minimum wage increases, unfair taxation of the successful, general embrace of class warfare language.
I have seen it in the “false alarms” of their fake cries of “racism” against conservatives who expose their betrayals.
I have seen it in the “foreign influence” to which they pander with their trade missions to hostile foreign governments, the peddling of visas-for-cash, favored trade status with hostile foreign governments like China, as well as pandering to millions of illegal foreign aliens who have invaded our country.
I have seen it in the “facilitated access to government” and “corruption” that comes from their “crony capitalism,” i.e. selling out the taxpayer’s freedom and prosperity to enrich themselves and their supporters.
This out-of-control “spirit of party” which puts party ahead of principles has also clearly put party ahead of the taxpayer/citizen/national interest.
Washington was right: Wise people have a duty to discourage and restrain this kind of blind embrace of party which is coupled with contempt of principle.
Washington admits political parties are a practical necessity (“a fire not to be quenched”), but–like government itself–seems to consider it a necessary but dangerous thing. In retrospect, I suspect it was not a coincidence that Washington used similar language to describe government:
Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
I apologize for ever doubting you, Mr. Washington. May your wisdom spur us all to do everything we can to be vigilant, to leverage our and public opinion to mitigate and control this destructive party-over-principle spirit, for it is consuming our sustenance and our liberty.
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