George Washington in his Farewell Address in 1796 wrote the following:
“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.”
We modern Americans in our arrogance and with complete disregard for the lessons of history have embraced “the spirit of party” George Washington so aptly warned the nation to avoid. We are now so ideologically driven and divided a people that our government is almost completely dysfunctional. Bureaucrats use their positions in government to pursue party ideologies rather than serve the American people. We have seen this with the IRS targeting citizens whose political views were in opposition to the current administration. Members of Congress are so ideologically driven that they all but ignore the good of the nation and their responsibilities to the people to punish their opponents. Regardless of the Americans’ political party affiliation, they are not being served by their representatives in their government. The president, the senators and the members of the House of Representatives comprise a dysfunctional, inept, spendthrift body, more interested in continuing their largess at the expense of the American taxpayer and serving the monied interests that bought them their positions than serving the people and the Constitution that they took an oath to defend. We the American people can choose to further this folly by clinging to destructive party ideologies or we can demand that:
All current federal programs be audited for cost, efficiency and benefit to the American people as a whole at the onset of every new Congress.
All programs that have not met their stated goals or are outdated be eliminated or replaced.
All departments of the federal government have their accounts audited using standard business accounting practices annually and a report made to the American people.
All laws passed by Congress and signed by the president have a sunset clause with a term of six years.
All existing laws that have been in effect for more than six years be brought up for renewal by the current Congress.
Members of the House of Representatives be limited to six terms of office.
Members of the Senate be limited to three terms of office.
The budget of the United States be balanced annually with the exception of times of declared war or national emergency.
Provision be made to begin the process of paying off the current national debt, not just interest payments.
The borders of the United states be secured and a fair and adequate immigration policy adopted.
These are but a few examples of what “We The People” can demand of our representatives to bring our government back to us where it belongs.
The United Sates of American can and should be a nation populated by a free and prosperous people dedicated to the values outlined in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. The petty, acrimonious current state of party politics can only lead to “a more formal and permanent despotism.” The choice is ours, They are our elected representatives. It is our government. We as a people can continue in our arrogance to ignore the wisdom of the past or embrace it and throw off the shackles of the coming despotism.
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