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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

An Excerpt of Washington's Farewell Address

Following Election Day, which was yesterday, I thought it would be of some minute benefit to promote an excerpt from President George Washington's Farewell Address, which warns against the existence of political parties in government.

"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.

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."

I post this merely to generate thought, and to promote my own personal disdain of political affiliations in general.  I try to remain as unaffiliated as I possibly can in a political sense, although I do confess I identify more with the ideals and goals of the Democratic Party than I do the Republican Party.  However, I believe that I am outwardly Democratic, and inwardly Republican.  In other words, in my relations with other people I act mainly in a Democratic fashion, accepting people for who they are and respecting who and what they choose to be regardless of my own personal beliefs; inwardly, however, I am Republican in the fact I'm conservative in my actions for the most part, a "mild-mannered" person so-to-speak who tries to hold himself to a somewhat strict level of behavior and accomplishment. 

I do not see myself fully embracing either party, to be honest.  I dislike the extremes of both sides.  For one thing, you will never see me try to condemn or insult people just for practicing a different religion (or none at all) than myself, or being of a different sexual orientation than I am.  I would never dream of trying to force my own beliefs on anyone, which I feel many Republicans try to do to a certain extent.  On the flipside, however, you will never see me give up my guns, go vegetarian/vegan, or become an absolutely spineless pansy.  To sum up the very essence of my beliefs, I just want everyone to have the right to be themselves, to make their own decisions, and do those things without trying to infringe upon those around them.  I could go on and on with this, but frankly I hate politics, I don't like talking about politics, and I'm pretty sure I have better things to do than continue talking about politics.  They are a necessary evil, and I understand that we cannot function as a nation without a political system...but dammit, I sure hate it most of the time.


The Kamikaze Wordsmith From Hell 

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