Politics of the people, by the people, for the people.
George Washington the Genius
Apparently the Constitution was originally intended to prevent political parties; unfortunately, it failed. Here’s George Washington’s take on political parties from his farewell address, I think it’s particularly poignant in these obscenely polarized times, where both sides tend to lie and distort and inflame the passions of the citizenry in an attempt to retain or regain power:
“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. 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 animosity of one part against another; foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passion. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”
Think about that in the current political context. Think about the “ill-founded jealousies and false alarms” raised by the GOP over the Cordoba House project. Think about the the crippling and distracting affect this has had on the public administration, as the GOP stand in a unified front, refusing to even allow a yes or no vote on Democratic legislation in the Senate, while simultaneously refusing to offer any real solutions to America’s pressing problems, all in a transparent attempt to regain power. It’s appalling.
If one were to create a perfect governmental system out of whole cloth, political parties would play no part in it. Political parties only serve as an excuse to be ill-informed about the policies and issues affecting this country. When a citizen can go into a polling booth, secure in the fact that they think the republican or the democrat will always represent their views it promotes voter apathy. The truth is that ill-informed citizens often vote along party lines, even when said party is adverse to their own interests. The abolition of political parties would require that voters be more intelligent and informed when they step into the ballot box. In this day and age of high technology disseminating mountains of information about every candidate, such a development would only benefit everyone.
Certainly their are Constitutional issues involved with abolishing political parties. Courts have interpreted the free speech clause of the first amendment as requiring freedom of association, which is great in most cases, but which really prevents the complete abolition of political parties. However, simple measures, like removing political parties from the ballot and election process could go a long way towards requiring a more educated electorate and bettering our electoral process.
Pamela Geller, a Cordoba House opponent (for the uninitiated the Cordoba House is the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque”, despite being located 2 blocks from Ground Zero, and actually being a multifaith community center).
Oh the irony. If this woman had her way, it wouldn’t be a free country because Muslims would be prevented from exercising their Constitutionally protected freedom of religion.
Granted, as repulsed as I am by the Quran burning, I respect the right of that pastor to exercise his Constitutional rights as he sees fit, just as I support the Constitutional right of a Muslim to build a community center on private property as he sees fit.
That being said, their is a huge difference between building a community center on private property in lower Manhattan and ceremonially burning the Quran. The former is a harmless act that could in fact only serve to better the community by promoting tolerance and understanding. The latter is an act of bigotry and hatred that will serve to put American troops and indeed even American citizens in more danger. Burning the Quran will only serve to embolden our enemies to launch a new attack and ease their recruitment efforts.
Recent Developments in Tea Bagger Land
Well, health care passed. And we’re all still here. No armageddon. No end of America. Life goes on, and we’re all the better for having passed health care reform. That is except for the tea baggers. The theme of this week’s recent developments in Tea Bagger land is: irony.
First, the irony of state Attorneys General suing the federal government over health care. I thought tea baggers supported fiscal responsibility? Yet they are all gung-ho over these lawsuits. Last I checked the vast majority of US states were in financial trouble. These lawsuits are likely to cost a pretty penny. And for what? Even conservative legal scholars know that these lawsuits are 99% likely to fail (here’s conservative Orin Kerr at the conservative legal blog Volokh Conspiracy) based on current Supreme Court doctrine interpreting the commerce clause. McJoan at Daily Kos does a really nice job of summarizing the real motivation: scoring political points. Several of the AGs involved in the suit are running for governor and are trying to solidify their base at the expense of tax payers and an already strapped state budget. Disgusting.
Second, you have this wing-nut “libertarian” who gladly lives off his government disability check. I’ll leave it at that.
Third, Michele Bachmann, claiming that 100% of our economy was private prior to September 2008. Aside from all the goods the government buys, or government subsidies to farmers, or medicare/medicaid, or social security (which is essentially a subsidy to old people). This woman has no clue about anything. It’s quite amusing. Here’s a statistic, 100% of people still don’t give a shit what Michele Bachmann says.
Words Cannot Describe My Disgust
No, this post is not directed at Congressional Dems, I have plenty of choice words for them right now. But more on that later.
No, my disgust tonight is directed at Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer of South Carolina. Lt. Gov. Bauer let the world know the other night why Gov. Sanford did not step down after he used taxpayer funds to take a trip to Argentina to visit his mistress. The reason, Bauer is BAT SHIT insane and dangerously radical. The other day, while discussing free school meal programs, Bauer compared people on government assistance to “stray animals,” because if you feed them it only exacerbates the problem because then they breed. I wish I could say this comment was taken out of context, but it was not. The full comment speaks for itself:
My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.
So Bauer’s plan is to starve poor people, and this will help corral the growth of the welfare state.
Now I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and so I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation for what Bauer said. He couldn’t have really meant that to be taken the way it sounded. Of course I would be wrong. Rather than back down or apologize Bauer DOUBLED-DOWN on his original statement (video at Daily Kos).
This is one of the most disgusting statements I’ve ever read in a long time. I can’t even put into words what a disgusting human being this man is. He claims that people are just pissed that he is not being “politically correct.” Well this goes far beyond that. No amount of “political correctness” could put an acceptable amount of gloss on Bauer’s statements. In fact, “politically incorrect” does not even begin to describe the comments Bauer made. Bauer’s comments display complete and utter contempt for basic human compassion. To suggest that someone should essentially be starved to death simply because they might require government assistance is a completely contemptible assertion. He might be THE biggest scum bag in politics today.