Friday, June 29, 2012

Washington on Partisan Politics

George Washington the first President of the United States

This is what George Washington had to say about partisan politics in his farewell address to Congress.  What he said then still stands almost a quarter millennia later.

“The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.
In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.
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.”

CRAP Directive #1

Crap Directive #1

The Pentagon aka the Five Sided Squirrel Cage

In their wisdom the denizens of the Pentagon came up with a whole new level of bureaucracy they dubbed "Contract Review and Procurement."  As everybody knows the army is likes acronyms and for this bureaucracy the acronym was "CRAP" after much bustling around the new bureaucracy moved into the office above us after displacing the old bureaucracy. Finally the new boys got to exercise their new found authority with CRAP Directive #1.  The general took one look at CRAP Directive #1 and said that's enough crap, and that was the end of them.

It's too bad that general isn't around today because at least he was able to see through what was going on and nip it in the bud. Today we are faced with a situation where we are regulated to death it doesn't mean that our leaders brought us to this situation knowingly because in many cases what was done is a result of good intentions. Well let me tell you the road to good intentions as the same as the road to hell and is usually paved with good intentions.

The purpose of this blog is to point out where some of these good intentions have gone astray or in some cases where things that are needed are often lost in partisan politics. At present where suffering from the worst economic downturn since the 1930s when many people unemployed. If you believe the government's figures the unemployment rate is posted be around 8.2% in reality it's probably over 20% because of the number of workers that have given up on trying too find a job. And for the past four years our leadership is fiddled while Rome has burned.

There is so much finger-pointing that is going on in Washington and in our state capitals been in many cases the politicians are all of touch with reality. What is needed more than anything right now is some kind of a policy that will put the unemployed back to work? At least during the 1930s the lack of job situation was recognized and steps were taken to remedy the problem.

This took the form of two government agencies namely the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC) as well as some projects like Hoover dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. We need some projects like these now to put the unemployed back to work and more important to put some needed money back into the economy.

The trouble with Politics and Passing Laws

Otto von Bismarck wearing a spiked helmet

It will happen great site During the 19th century Otto vonBismarck became the Prime Minister of Germany at one point during his ministry he stated, there are two things the ordinary person should never see; making sausages and making the laws. This is what this blog is all about; we may include the occasional recipe for making sausages, but this is really about politics and passing laws. Both of these processes are very closely related to governing the peoples of the world. At best they are an evil necessity without which we would be living in a state of complete anarchy. A favorite pastime of the human race seems to be complaining about our leadership; yet very few of the complainers stepped forward to take unto themselves the reins of leadership.

Cholla cactus
Photo by Poco O Poco

It kinda reminds me of the story they tell about Tex riding down trail on his favorite paint horse in the good old days of the Old West. In the process of clattering down the trail on his horse Tex saw a patch of cholla cactuses. Now this particular brand of cactus is probably the worst of all having all kinds of barbs and stickers, and is generally unpleasant no matter how you look at it.

Tex immediately stopped his horse, rolled himself is there a cigarette, and just sat there on top of a horse hypnotized looking at the signed patch of cholla cactus right before his wondering eyes. The longer he looked the better looking that cactus became until finally after he finished smoking he got down off the horse after throwing the butt down on the trail, and proceeded to take off all his clothes. It came to him that the best thing he could do was be to dive headfirst into the cactus patch.

cowboy on a horse in 1888

Just about that time his pal Slim came writing down the trail, and when he saw Tex thrashing around bare naked in the cactus patch. He stopped and rolled himself a cigarette and watched his pal whooping and hollering and carrying on in that patch of cholla cactus. About the pain he finished his cigarette and had thrown the butt down onto the trail Old Tex finally gave up on the cholla cactus and came crawling back up onto the trail all covered with all kinds of stickers, lumps and bruises making quite a sorrowful sight. When he had vainly regained the trail Slim looked at him and said, “Tex what in tarnation ever made you do such a fool stunt as that?

Text replied, "Well Slim it sure seemed like a damn fine idea at the time."

Often the doings in politics and passing laws also seem like a damn fine idea at the time!