Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Party's Over

There's a common thread in our political system that began subtly as a polarization between Federalist and Anti-Federalist (or 'Anti's as they were called in the 1780s) . It's so common that it slips under our civic noses without a scent. It is simply the way things are and have been. The party system is even mistakenly thought to have been defined by the Constitution. Well, that's just rubbish. We are often somewhat predisposed to lend credibility to one party over the other. This common thread has nothing to do with issues, which is probably not surprising. Nope, the common thread is 'Party'. Here's what I mean:

A political party is a faction, plain and simple. James Madison warned about this kind of faction in the Federalist Papers (the documents most used by the Supreme Court to debate the vagaries of the Constitution). Madison knew that faction in politics was like air to fire. Politics is the air fueling emergent factions.

The primary political factions of the day are the longstanding Democratic and Republican parties. They have heritage, tradition, and money. But, platform has morphed into a set of social and political check boxes and buttons versus ideals of republican government. Buttons like abortion and religion. And it does seem obvious that each party's strategy is simply to obstruct the tactics of the other. To borrow a verse from Buffalo Springfield - If nobody's right, then everybody's wrong

We, the people, have representatives and delegates pointing fingers across aisles, espousing and repeating sugarcoated soundbites about the future that have no substance other than a leap of faith. The trouble is: do the parties deserve the people's faith. The parties are simply feuding factions, void of any meaningful practical use, it's members caught up in a feud for its own sake. A feud against anything that is not fit the predilection to principals. This situation is utterly dysfunctional and unsustainable.

A party must (1) have a defined platform that represents ideals people can believe in, and (2) must be tolerant of the differences and vagaries inherent in human ideals. In other words, let the individuals identify the party versus the party identifying individuals. The latter suppresses emerging ideas and reduces ideals to sacramental ideology. Ideals that could bare practical solutions to our common crises.

In short, a legal record of a mass of tallied votes, collected under legal democratic process, is the only faction of any consequence.