In his farewell address, George Washington warned of the damage political parties would inflict on the American landscape. The basic premise of the address was a condemnation of political parties or factions. Washington warned that the development of parties would destroy the government, and worried that special interest groups would easily dominate the factions.
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.
In fact, the majority of the founders of our country considered political parties to be self-serving factions that cultivated dissent and were ultimately detrimental to good government.
Washingtons warning is certainly as relevant today as it was then; even here in Montezuma County we are seeing political party dissension and the spirit of revenge become more important to some of our citizens than the administration of good, competent government for us all.
When a member of law enforcement is called to investigate a crime against the people, he/she will spend many hours investigating the facts of that particular crime. The victim(s) of that crime will not be interested in the political affiliation of the leadership of the law enforcement agency. All that will be of importance is the competency and professionalism of the officer(s) involved.
If a citizen is being attacked or has their property stolen, they couldnt care less if the responding officer is Democrat or Republican.
When law enforcement personnel complete an investigation, they have many long and arduous hours invested. In many cases, they have parts of themselves invested in crimes against children or the elderly. When the case is completed and ready for trial, those officers couldnt care less about the political party affiliation of an individual prosecutor; all they desire is competency at least commensurate with their own investment.
Political parties care little to nothing about competency; their interests lie in party loyalty, control and cronyism. Incompetent candidate for office is willingly embraced and supported if they is willing to acquiesce to party leaderships personal agendas once elected. More competent candidates will not receive party support if they insist on placing their allegiance to their sacred oaths to the constitutions of country and state and to the people they endeavor to represent.
When any political party apparatus personally attacks a member of their own party, many times this is done because the candidate will not bend to the will of the party leadership or is opposing a candidate who will. A favored tactic is to claim the candidate not of their choice is a member of the opposing party.
(T)he 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 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. ~Washingtons Farewell address.
The fears of George Washington have manifested themselves in our county, our state and our country; political party affiliation has become to many their primary allegiance with dedication to Constitution, liberty and competent government far down the list.
There does not exist today in our political environment even one individual who could hold a candle to the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson. He was the author of our Declaration of Independence, the founding document of our republic, governor of Virginia, author of the Kentucky Resolution, Secretary of State in the Washington Administration, and president of the United States for two terms. His wisdom has passed the test of the ages. As a people we should heed his words on political parties, their inherent deceit and lack of dedication to Liberty.
I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all. ~Thomas Jefferson to Francis Hopkinson, 1789
Mike Gaddy, who is retired from U.S. Army, is married to wife Susanna, a teacher at Montezuma Cortez High School, with two adult children and three grandchildren. He teaches Constitution classes in Cortez, Durango and soon in Dove Creek. He has written political and historical commentary for a multitude of publications for more than 12 years.