Is America’s two-party system of government good — good for We the People?
Did President Washington think so? This is what the Father of Our Country said in his 1796 Farewell Address, regarding our two-party system:
“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.”
During the first year of his Presidency, calls for the impeachment of President Trump rang loud and often. Did President George Washington have President Trump in mind?
Or did President Washington have President Obama in mind? This is what a Federal Judge said in his Memorandum Opinion dated December 16, 2013, regarding President Obama’s lack of respect for our constitutional right of privacy:
“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,’ would be aghast.” [Klayman v. Obama, U.S.D.C. for the District of Columbia, Civil Action No. 13-0851 (RJL)]
Or did President Washington have in mind the impeached Presidents Johnson and Clinton? Or President Nixon, or his Attorney General John Mitchell, his lawyer John Dean, his Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman, and his Domestic Affairs Advisor John Ehrlichman?
Or did President Washington have in mind the 2016 Presidential Election party leaders?
Will the day come when parties put country ahead of party, or will President Washington forever be right?
Stephen B. Benisch, February 13, 2018