~ John Adams, Letter to Jonathan Jackson (October 2, 1780). In: Charles Francis Adams (ed.), The Works of John Adams, Vol. 9, Boston, 1854. pp. 510-11.
“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.
“[The spirit of party] 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.
“[The spirit of party] opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.
“…they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government.
~ George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796.
(Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Francis Hopkinson (March 13, 1789). In: Merrill D. Peterson (ed.), Letters of Thomas Jefferson, New York, 1984, pp. 940-42)
(James Madison, The Federalist #10, November 22, 1787)
- Opposition to each other to a point of obstruction of legislation; false criminal charges made against each other
- An abuse of words, developed to an art by Republicans who have invented a whole new language to symbolize the inadequacy and criminality of the Democrats; falsifying statistics and events has been an integral part of this abuse of meanings
- A spirit of revenge has seemed to become more pronounced lately, especially as each Party attempts to wrest power from the other, and as Mr. Trump attempts to destroy all competitors and critics
- In the cogent and highly applicable words of George Washington: factions or parties “distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration… agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another.” We are currently enmeshed in each of these actions by our parties, especially by the Trump Campaign.
- Of late, both Houses of Congress, under Republican control, have demonstrated for us the worst aspects of factionalism by stifling open debate, holding numerous and meaningless hearings, taking ‘show votes’ (largely to placate the voters where a negative outcome is foreordained), inventing crises and scandals, steering clear of real problems needing solution, and putting the ideology and the will of their Party in place of the mind of the People and the general welfare of the public. (Take a look at what Sen. Ted Cruz had to say about some of the results of the Republican leadership at: http://www.tothepointnews.com/2015/10/the-real-story-of-what-is-happening-in-washington/).”
- Finally, the leadership of the Republican Party in particular has used the very processes that are meant to move debate and action along, to actually undermine and destroy the ability of the Congress to legislate in a meaningful way. The most obvious, of course, is the use of the filibuster and cloture vote to raise the number of votes needed to pass major legislation. However, plenty of examples exist of leadership preventing votes, using one-time manufactured rules, and delaying votes, especially on presidential appointments.
- Let me add that too often Republican leadership and legislators offer amendments that have nothing to do with the original bill; undermine the purpose of the bill; or, change the whole nature of the bill -- all allowed and often planned – by the leadership.