Politics: Bottom Line

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The politics of governing have always been corrupt, greedy, and self-indulgent, while purporting to be uplifting, selfless, and beneficial for the majority. Our founders knew this from their studies in government dating back to Ancient Roman and Greek writings on the subject. The founders created a structure for government that would resist corruption, greed and self-indulgence driven to obtain permanent positions in power. Such a structure, however, could only be successful if the electorate remained vigilant and enlightened. George Washington understood these simple truths and spoke to present day turmoils and challenges in his Farewell Address of 1796.

Israel and Iran: George Washington spoke to America's role of engagement with both Iran and Israel with stern warning. If our education in the history of Washington's presidency is lacking, Washington faced tremendous challenges in America's relations with France, Great Britain, and Spain, as our nation fought for its independence from any European power. Washington cautioned the following:

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

Israel is engaged in a difficult set of relations with its hostile neighbor Iran, which has the potential to develop nuclear weapons. Israel believes a nuclear Iran will pose an imminent threat to Israel which must be averted at any cost. The U.S. is a strong ally of Israel, and the U.S. is also a strong ally of Middle Eastern oil imports, which would be threatened by a war between Iran and Israel.

George Washington councils us to consider this situation in an unbiased, impartial way in terms of our own national collective interest. Washington warns us against the political arguments of political parties in such circumstances.

All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests. 

Pres. Washington's words, "this fundamental principle", refers to the obligation of the people to observe established constitutional law, and of the elected leaders to first, and foremost, consider the collective interests of all the people and the welfare of the nation in its deliberations and decisions. It is natural for the Jewish Americans to lobby for American alliance with Israel in preventing Iran from creating nuclear weapons. Washington warns us, however, to consider our alliance and actions toward the Iranian - Israeli question, in an unbiased and rationally calculated way that insures that the interests of our nation and all her people are represented in its decision in this regard.

Republicans like Romney, McCain, and Santorum are politically motivated to claim that Pres. Obama is failing his responsibility regarding direct military intervention in ending Iran's potential to develop nuclear weapons. On Monday of this week, Pres. Obama stated that while all options in dealing with Iran are on the table, he intends to exploit every diplomatic option available to him to achieve our national objective in this matter before rushing to the military and war option. Pres. Obama is following the council of Pres. George Washington. Diplomatic solutions are far less injurious to the American people and their economic prosperity than are military warfare options which achieve the same result. 

American political parties have become the epitome of what Pres. George Washington warned against; the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community, asserting its minority will in the place of the delegated will of the nation fostered by wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests. The Tea Party wing of the GOP and the radical socialist wing of the Democratic Party do not reflect the agenda nor the objective dispassionate will of the majority of Americans, and their views and assertions, lies and sophistry, should be discounted for what they are by both the mainstream media and the electorate as a whole.

Iran is primarily and foremost, a threat to Israel, not the United States. Iran has no intercontinental missiles and therefore cannot rain nuclear weapons down on the cities of the United States. Iran is a potential threat to America's economy by virtue of its ability and implied intentions to disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz. In response to this potential threat, our American government has deployed our navy to that area to respond to any actions by Iran in that way. Which again, relegates the Iranian nuclear issue, primarily an issue for Israel.

It is patently false when politicians of one party or another assert, or imply, that Iran is an imminent nuclear threat to the United States. Such assertions and implications are akin to the claims of Yellow Cake purchases by Iraq, false and manufactured for political purposes. If the American public is so disinterested, ignorant, or uneducated as to allow themselves to be swayed by such sophistry, then very likely, the American people will pay the price that attends such a fallen status of the electorate. The American people were fooled by the Yellow Cake assertion once. Let's hope we cannot be fooled in such fashion twice by the same party. I trust that the majority of the American people are not so disinterested, ignorant, or uneducated, and I shall sleep the easier for it.

In his farewell address, Washington spoke of what we share as a people as monumental to the petty regional, partisan and political differences that those who hunger for power are want to raise as our most pressing concerns, for their own personal benefit. While there did not exist any political parties prior to Pres. Washington's first election, he acquired more than enough experience with them in his subsequent reelections to speak authoritatively about the enormous potential for destructiveness of political parties to our Constitutional form of government.

Pres. Washington wisely asserted that should our government fail, it would be far more likely a result of incremental deviations from the design of our government at the hands of politicians and minority selfish interests, than by a full public revolt against our government's institutions.

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.

And we are witness, in abundance, to such deviations over the last 13 years, with overturning of the Glass-Steagal Act, war implemented upon false threats, and a failure by government to oversee and regulate the excesses of the private banking and mortgage activities, resulting in a tripling of our national debt in little more than a decade. Such actions have been an all out assault against the liberty and opportunity of Americans present, and generations to come. And such assaults have come as blood on the hands of our political parties and elected officials whose attentions to national welfare became secondary to fund raising and committee positions traded for votes under threat by the Party leadership and their reelection financial backers. 

Political parties, George Washington warns, are to be kept in check and balanced by an informed and vested electorate, whose obligation to the law of the land is matched only by their responsibility to unelect incumbents who subvert the interests of the nation and people as a whole for their own personal or minority special interests. 

It is therefore, heartening to repeatedly hear political pundits and the media refer to the rise of the Independent voters in America, who, having rejected affiliation with either of the two major parties, have freed themselves to vote for candidates based on the merits of the individual candidate, as opposed to voting as this or that party instructs them to.

To the extent that deciding voters of any election vote based on informed and objective evaluation of the results of government attending an incumbent's time in office, or a challenger's record on policy and dedication to the general welfare of nation and people, our future remains hopeful and full of opportunity to both remedy our ills and promote benefit for our children as citizens. Independent voters will decide the presidential election in November. What is far more important however, they will decide the outcome of Congressional elections.

The president, despite the enormous powers conferred to the office by Congress, is still the executor of law, not the creator of it. Congress creates the laws that enlarge or diminish our nation's future, and so far, there is scant evidence that independent voters will be determining the outcomes of Senate and House races in 2012. That should be of concern for any American reading this article. 

Our political parties in America have become corrupt, incompetent, and incapable of producing representation which safeguards our future, resolves our challenges, and remedies our nation's ills. If Americans want better government, they must first abandon the political parties which promote partisan gridlock instead of consensus, sophistry instead of reality and fact, and divisiveness amongst the American people instead of unity and solidarity behind our Constitution, our institutions, and our founding goals of liberty and prosperity for all willing to work toward those ends. 

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Donald Robert Perry Marquis: "If you make people think They're thinking, they'll love you but if you really make them think, they'll hate you."

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on March 8, 2012 12:16 AM.

First Steps: Courage and Hope was the previous entry in this blog.

Our Democracy Sucks is the next entry in this blog.

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