In George Washington’s Farewell Address – among the many insightful topics that he covered, his warning of the dangers of forming political parties, in our country, were, perhaps, his most brilliant words of all.
I’m sure there are many definitions of faction; but, when I think of political factions, I think of it as any like-minded group of voters, or elected officials, trying to infiltrate, or influence, our Government, laws, Constitution etc.
As George Washington, astutely, pointed out, the formation of factions, and allegiances, among several like-minded individuals, is, indeed, consistent with human-nature. However, in my humble opinion, they also defy human-nature. For example, we are individuals; and, as individuals, we don’t generally appreciate being controlled, or told to walk lockstep with a certain ideology; yet, we see this in so many facets of our lives, and political system -
For example, there are labor unions, who bond together, and influence political outcomes, in order to advance their agendas. However, the presumption is, that the labor union bosses can take dues, paid by individuals, and throw them into a political party – regardless if a particular member belongs to that party or not. Therefore, in the name of job security, perhaps, some are willing to sell out some other values, and walk lockstep with the demands of these labor union bosses, but, I, and I’m sure, others, would not be able to do so.
Then, there is, perhaps, the two most powerful unions of all – they are called The Democrat and Republican Parties. For years, we have been led to believe that these two parties are our Government; and, if we don’t vote for one of these two parties, then our voice has very little chance of being heard. While there may be some truth to that, I still believe, that, if a vast majority of the American population registered to Independents, then we would be a nation of individual voters, again, and not a nation of Republicans and Democrats, being led by the party platform of the day.
The truth is, when our Constitution was written, political parties were not even anticipated in The Constitutional Convention, and, therefore, we had a Constitution that presumed that we would have one political body, in Congress, and a nation of independent Americans – who would elect those who best represented their views. And, over the last few years – as many Americans have become acutely aware of, neither party really pays attention to the 17 specific, limited, and Enumerated Powers, that were given to Congress, by our Founders. Therefore, we are constitutionally electing our Government, but, as far as the laws passed, and the powers assumed, we most certainly do not have The Federal Government that our Founders envisioned; and, which was promised to our nation, by our Founders.
Therefore, in my humble opinion, while it may be natural for people to create factions, I truly believe, that, ‘temporary’ factions, made up of interested individuals, in order to advance a specific agenda, or piece of legislation, is much more practical; and, consistent with human-nature.