George Washington warned of the Evil of Political Parties

George Washington warned of the evil of political parties. Yet they sprung up quickly.

Today, many are proud to be Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, or Greens. Perhaps we shouldn’t be.

First, read this reduced quote of 4 paragraphs from Wikipedia about George Washington’s view of political parties:

Washington .. expands his warning to include the dangers of political parties to the government and country as a whole. His warnings .. the recent creation of the Democratic-Republican Party by Jefferson, to oppose Hamilton’s Federalist Party, .. which in many ways promoted the interest of certain regions and groups of Americans over others. ..

While Washington accepts the fact that it is natural for people to organize and operate within groups like political parties, he also argues that every government has recognized political parties as an enemy and has sought to repress them because of their tendency to seek more power than other groups and take revenge on political opponents.

Moreover, Washington makes the case that “the alternate domination” of one party over another .. have led to horrible atrocities, and “is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.” ..

Washington .. argues that political parties must be restrained in a popularly elected government because of their tendency to distract the government from their duties, create unfounded jealousies among groups and regions, raise false alarms amongst the people, promote riots and insurrection, and provide foreign nations and interests access to the government where they can impose their will upon the country.

This reminds me of the saying by Lord Acton:

“Power tends to corrupt”

We see this in parties today, especially in the Republican party. Over the last 20 years, they’ve sacrificed all morality in the name of political expediency. They’ve spread lies, hate, even justified torture. Their narcissistic and dishonest candidate, Donald Trump, still justifies it.

The Democratic party succumbed in smaller ways. They kept Lawrence Lessig out of the debates. The party leadership violated their pledge of fairness and plotted against Bernie Sanders.

And both parties participate in gerrymandering, keep third parties out of the debates and refuse to pass legislation against corruption in Congress. And how does a small group stop Congressional progress? They threaten the party.

Parties represent platforms and politicians. They don’t represent people. We should not eliminate parties. We should take away the strangle-hold they have on political power.

PeopleCount’s position is that we should free politicians from being accountable to parties (and special interest donors) by making politicians accountable to voters instead. Please join us.

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