Quote from George Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796
“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.”
Freedom demands empowered and informed thinking. Following is a list of five positive things you could, but will not see at this week’s Democratic National Convention. While the balloons are falling for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, much more is really going on.
I’m not picking on the Democrats. We will the same missed opportunity for positive change at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis in a couple of weeks.
- Democracy – there has been a lot of talk of a last-minute Hillary coup at the convention. I’m not saying that would be a good or a bad thing. I’m just saying it’s not going to happen.
- Pro-Peace Speeches – wasn’t one of Mr. Obama’s original appeals his opposition to the war? Now he seems to be doing a bait and switch on the war. Afghanistan is a good war and Iraq is a bad war. There will be no questioning of whether or not the U.S. should cease pursuing war around the world.
- A Call to Undo Domestic Spying – Mr. Obama could pledge to undo the abusive expansion of the internal spy apparatus, but he will not. He put crazy talk like that to rest with his vote on FISA reauthorization.
- Freedom of Speech – the practice of setting up free speech zones far from cameras and politicians continues. The premise here is you can have your First Amendment as long as it is where no one can hear you. It seems vaguely reminiscent of what the Chinese did at the Olympics for protestors.
- Lower Taxes – you’re not going to see calls to lower taxes on ordinary Americans dealing with high fuel prices, high food prices, and high healthcare costs.
I bring up these things not to be negative, but to point out that we have a lot of room for positive change in the American political system. We have slowly drifted from our core values of freedom and there is no place like the political party conventions to be reminded of it.
In a couple of months, we will see the power of the two major parties again. They will deny third, fourth, and fifth parties (parties that may receive hundreds of thousands to millions of votes in November) from standing on the same stage and engaging Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain in open debate. Open debate and discussion, isn’t that what freedom is all about? Why are they so against it?
Maybe this year more people will want an answer to that question.
Ultimately, I’m optimistic. I believe the American people are becoming aware of what they have lost and are going to demand it back soon.
As this empowered thinking and tide of wisdom grows, I can only wonder if the Democrat and Republican parties will adapt to a more open system or become historical relics.