11/22/2022 10:44:00 AM Letters to the Editor Building A Solid Foundation
Today in our print and electronic media, they are constantly focusing on our two major political parties (i.e. Democrats and Republicans) and the bickering in Congress (i.e. US House of Representative and US Senate).
However, when the Constitutional Convention delegates met in Philadelphia in 1787, they purposely omitted any mention of political parties from the proposed Constitution. Many attribute this omission to bloody wars of civil wars of the 1600s where political parties were seen as corrupt and self- interest.
In 1796, George Washington’s farewell address warned against three dangers that could destroy the union: “regionalism, partisanship, and foreign entanglements.” On regionalism, he said: “The name American must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellations of discrimination.” These words fell on deaf ears as 65 years later on April 12, 1861, the first engagement of the Civil War began at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor that nearly destroyed our nation.
As people began to affiliate with groups of similar beliefs, political parties sprang up both in favor and against the US Constitution. By the Presidential election of 1796, there were two main political parties- The Federalist (Alexander Hamilton) and the Democratic-Republican (Thomas Jefferson and James Madison). Today, our two major political parties are Democrat and Republicans. Coincidentally, 59% of Americans see a great deal of difference between these two parties up from 55 % in 2020. Americans seem more polarized and each election means “the fate of nation in the balance.” Talk radio and social media have contributed to this polarization. Political gridlock in Congress might eventually lead to compromise, a return to civility and rule of law. Hopefully, this will happen within the next 10 years and 50 years before our nation is changed forever.
America has tried to remain an isolationist without success resulting in our nation’s intervention in two World Wars, Korean Conflict, VietNam, and War on Terrorism. We have used “nation building” as to correct the flaws of foreign governments. The world has grown smaller and more dependent on each other. During the COVID pandemic, our nation learned about our dependence on Communist China which is over $521 billion dollars or 17.2 % of China exports.
Our forefathers envisioned the advantages of the principles of checks and balance of power between our three Branches of Government – Executive Branch ( President); Legislative Branch ( US House of Representatives and US Senate); and Judicial (US Supreme Courts, district and state courts). Regional and political party differences need to be met with compromise. We need to apply our history lessons of isolation and shrink involvement in foreign commitment. We need to become more diligent repairing the damage from these three dangers that President George Washington warned us against before it is too late.