The Case For Abandoning Political Parties





Photo credit: DonkeyHotey (Creative Commons)

Political parties in this country need to be abolished. It’s a fact. The bickering in Washington over “Obamacare” and the debt ceiling, as well as much of the gridlock that has taken over Capitol Hill in recent years, has made that evident by now. We are fed up, and we know Washington hears it. But is Washington really listening? Do they truly hear the will of the people?

Maybe we have not been listening to Washington. George Washington, that is. The truth is that we abandoned the warnings of our great leaders, intentionally or unintentionally, a long time ago.  Papa George warned us about the danger inherent in party politics in his farewell address to the nation in 1796, and his words were clear:

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.

John Adams warned us too, in 1789:

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

I like the more recent words of President Eisenhower (in 1956) the best:

If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.

The human drive for power and to win at all costs motivates our leaders when it should be the drive to represent the people and make their lives better. Party politics is evil because it encourages competition; and as a result, our lives are not better. But what is even worse than us failing to listen to our greatest leaders is that our current leaders are failing to listen to us.

Throughout the government shutdown that just ended last week, we the people, Republicans and Democrats alike, rallied. We made it known in the media that we did not want political rivalries and ill will to be the reason that hard-working Americans who just want to earn a living were furloughed, services withheld, and our most treasured landmarks locked up.  But what makes the situation worse is that the world is failing too because, like it or not, the world economy depends heavily on the United States. When our economy is stable, so too is the world’s economy.

But Obama wouldn’t compromise, and neither would Boehner. Their desire to remain loyal to their party affiliations rather than the ones who matter most took over and would not rest until someone cried “uncle.”  Their egos took over; and we nearly defaulted on our loans, which everyone knew would mean trouble for a country and a world that is still trying to recover from the Second Great Depression.

Obama and Boehner have not been able to compromise on anything, and the sore on our stability as a nation will continue to fester when they are gone and others have taken over their positions. The political parties have locked horns and refuse to cooperate. It’s Republican versus Democrat. Someone has to win, and no one is willing to lose. It’s no longer about having legitimate debates, making arguments, and speedily legislating the affairs of the country in the best interest of the people.  It’s about winning.

With regard to the tired arguments for or against “Obamacare” that have been playing out in the press, both sides have valid arguments. The financial climate may not be adequate to cover the medical bills of every man, woman, and child; and it may never be adequate. But at the same time, how can we let those who are unemployed and can’t afford health care flounder? I don’t know who is right and who is wrong.  The reason our country is failing is not entirely anyone’s fault. The source of the gridlock on Capitol Hill is party politics. The sooner our elected leaders can shake off the shackles of their party affiliations and talk like adults rather than as children, the sooner the sore that is hurting our society will heal.

 

Adrienne Erin is a skeptical freelance writer who is fed up with the bickering between major parties no longer being about the welfare of the people. To see more of her work, check out this infographic about the world’s tallest buildings.

 

Photo credit: DonkeyHotey (Creative Commons)

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