Joining a political party means surrendering your independence

I cringe every time someone describes themselves as a “die-hard Republican” or “committed Democrat” or some other phrase that shows an allegiance to a political party.

Joining a political party is, to me, a surrender of independence, an unwillingness to think on your own and a dependence on the agenda of others. I worked inside politics for a number of years but I never joined one party or the other.

I’m not a Democrat.

I’m not a Republican.

I’m an American.

There is a difference.

I find it disheartening that members of each party question the patriotism of the other side because they don’t agree on issues.

This nation was founded on the concept of freedoms: Freedom of speech, freedom to choose, freedom to have differing opinions.

Political parties want to stifle those freedoms by demanding adherence to lockstep beliefs based on ideologies that limit freedom. Both parties have become dominated by extremists. There’s no room for bipartisanship, no room for coalition building, no room for compromise.

“My way or the highway,” my granddaddy used to say. That may be OK in a totalitarian world but it has no place in a democratic republic.

That’s why this nation is in the mess it faces right now. Compromise is a dirty word. So is listening to opposing points of views. Debates become shoutfests and become brawls.  Anyone who questions is branded as “unpatriotic” or worse. Reasoned thinking is replaced by buzzwords and insults.

Look at the signs waved at any rally, be it a Tea Party gathering or a rally by liberals.  The words on too many signs are the same: Mean, filled with hate and disregard for the views of others.

Yet in a free society, we must tolerate the hate along with those who seek a more balanced solution. That’s why the Supreme Court was right to rule that a fundamentalist church that uses hate of gays to dishonor veterans who died in war is free speech. What they are doing may be disgusting but it must be allowed in a free society.  And that’s why we have the Patriot Guard, a determined and dedicated group of motorcyclists — mostly vets — who attend the funerals and act as human shields to keep those demonstrators out of the view of the families who suffered the loss.

Sadly, both political parties promote hate as part of their agenda. Both use stereotypes to try and destroy their opposition.  Both contribute to a system that is flawed and out-of-control. Neither puts America first because doing so conflicts with the agendas of both the right and the left.

It’s all about power.

It’s all about control.

It’s all about suppression of freedom.

George Washington, in his farewell address as President, said:

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

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.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

Our first President recognized the danger posed by politics and the parties that control the process.

Too bad our current elected leaders — and those who support them — vow allegiance first to a political party and not to a special place called America.

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© 2004-2022 Blue Ridge Muse

4 thoughts on “Joining a political party means surrendering your independence”

  1. Good sir, i agree with some of what you say here regarding loss of independence of thought when holding allegiance to political party, but I think you err in saying that there is an equality of hate speech from each party. i do not think the facts bear that out. I don’t believe we really have a “left” party anymore. There are people on the left of course, but not a party. Both partys as you say…” contribute to a system that is flawed and out-of-control.”, but I think both partys are center right parties that represent big business, wall street and corporate power. Neither party represents normal everyday hard working Americans much less the working class. And in that sense there is no equality between the two parties. The far right party has won in almost all regards. It is in thier interest to say that “both parties contribute equally” to the place we find ourselves in. But I don’t think that it is actually the case. We have a class war going on and the wealthy and their representatives have won. This is not good and wll not be good for the country.

  2. There is a battle of classes, not Republican vs Democrat, but the ‘Ruling Class’, ‘Taker Class’ and the ‘Provider Class’. The Ruling Class interest is to stay in power (buy votes any way they can). The Taker Class wants something for nothing and will put people in power to get it for them. Those 2 classes are closely aligned. The Provider Class is everyone else. Sorry to say that the Provider Class is the one losing.

  3. Country Boy – how right you are. Too bad that right now, neither the Republicans nor Democrats have the gonads to cut entitlement programs in this country. I believe we should take care of our elderly citizens because God knows they have paid and paid into Social Security etc for a lot of years and deserve to be assisted. But it really frosts me to see younger, able bodied people “playing” the system. I see people getting tax refunds who didn’t even pay taxes – explain that one to me. And for the government to say 99 weeks of unemployment is not enough is absolutely nuts.

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© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse