George Washington on Political Parties #1LinerWeds

Washington's Face
George Washington, from the $1 bill

However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men [and women] will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. – George Washington

Sometimes things need to be said. First, I love all of you. Now…

The people of the United States regard George Washington the Father of Our Country. (Guess that makes his brother Laurence the Uncle of Our Country.) I shudder to think of what his reaction to this year’s election would be. For that matter, what his reaction to practically every election since the latter part of the Twentieth Century would be.

The Republicans and Democrats might as well be the Bloods and Crips. Regardless of who you plan to vote for next Tuesday, I think you seriously have to wonder whether the two-party system has outlived its usefulness, if in fact it ever had any. Yes, it makes things easy for the talking heads, because you can paint one as the bad guys and one as the good guys, but since when does the convenience of the media have a damn thing to do with it? Maybe some voters need the convenience of being able to go into the booth and vote for a party rather than an individual. Punch 10, as they would say in Chicago, with 10 being a straight Democratic Party vote. It’s easy to explain to those who don’t speak English: Marque diez. Dziurkowania dziesięć. Dấm mười. Chicago no longer even bothers putting party affiliation on the ballot in its municipal elections, because in Chicago, you vote for the Democrat of your choice. They’ve long since eliminated the Republicans as a viable alternative. Chicago is a one-party town.

That’s the goal of both political parties, really: to eliminate the other one. Why govern when you can rule, am I right? Destroy the other guys, you can have your way with the poor bastards who think they’re doing something by voting, am I right? Screw compromise, we don’t have to compromise. You’ll take what you’re given and you’ll like it. Already, that’s what the two-party system has done: to be a viable candidate, you must be either a Democrat or a Republican. Libertarian? Green? Constitutionalist? Reform? Forget it! It screws up the numbers. Makes things difficult for the party leadership when it comes time to divide the spoils. Bless the hearts of Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and the other brave souls who have thrown their hats into the ring. They haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell of actually getting elected, and little or no chance of actually making a difference, but God knows, they’re trying. The Democrats and Republicans are too powerful, too well-funded, too firmly entrenched, and simply laugh when someone says “I’m a candidate for President,” unless they’re a Democrat or a Republican. It’s King Kong versus Godzilla, each looking to destroy the other. And God help us all when it happens.

We welcome replies to our editorials.


One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill, who’s probably ready to kill me…

13 thoughts on “George Washington on Political Parties #1LinerWeds

  1. I am looking at this as some Freaky reality show with celebrity z stars. It’s such a shame really that many of us will be watching this Tuesday because it’s a train wreck. On the other hand, we are lucky that people have the right to vote and that these people can run for president. I just wish the people who may not bother to vote realize what a gift they have and are throwing it away when other people face death just to vote. We have a very pretty prime minister and, although people make fun of him, it is only a year and it takes time to clean up the mess that Harper made.


    1. I read an article recently that said when given a choice as bad as this one, the only appropriate response is not to choose. That doesn’t mean don’t vote, since there are other races that need to be settled. A lot of people plan on voting for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, or Jill Stein, the Green candidate (there are seven or nine candidates altogether, depending on where you live, since a candidate must qualify for ballot access in each state), and others have decided not to vote for President but vote in the other races. Still others (some 40-50% of the total electorate) will decide it just ain’t worth it and find something else to do on Election Day.

      I think the way to encourage people to vote is to put a “none of the above” option on the ballot and make it actually count (some states allow a NOTA vote, but don’t actually use it to eliminate all the candidates in a particular race). It tells all parties (primarily the D’s and R’s) that their candidates are unacceptable and to choose different candidates. My guess is that NOTA would be a clear winner this year.


  2. I guess my fall back position is, “show me a system that’s better.” I wish there was a system in place that would force candidates to tell the absolute and complete truth. Anyway, John, I sense you are going through a period of great angst. Please say the following prayer when you feel overpowered:

    God is great.
    Beer is good.
    People are crazy.


  3. George Washington and some of the other Founding Fathers were not in favor of political parties, at a time when the electorate was small enough to field a wider variety of candidates. Washington would have been appalled at the laziness of today’s voters in simply voting for all ‘their’ party’s candidates, what my family used to call ‘pulling the lever’.

    Yet when Sirius-XM POTUS Channel’s Julie Mason says third parties aren’t reported because they lack the poll numbers and the money as she did to me in answer to a tweeted question, it shows the built-in major-party media and political bias. The main reason H. Ross Perot was on the debate stage in 1992 was because Bill Clinton and George Bush wanted him there as a spoiler.

    So it’s Catch 22 – you can’t play unless you have good poll numbers, and you can’t get good poll numbers unless you can play.


      1. Hate going to primaries and having to DECLARE a Party… Choice of 2 ! Not right… Not free choice! Hope we have learned something by the time of the next PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION!!


        1. This election has the potential to destroy both parties, and good riddance to both of them. As for the primaries, they’re a waste of time and money.


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