Finally, here is a post on factions, that’s so simple even a 5 year-old can understand the problem. Adults might get stuck in their rigid ideological beliefs. All beliefs are not morally equal – some when carried to extremes have horrific consequences for millions of innocent people, while others can do remarkable good for the entire world. That is the TRUTH.
Let’s say you believe very strongly that a color is aquamarine and I believe equally as strongly that that color is turquoise. Being that we both believe a different thing, many avenues are there for us to choose. We could argue and get so angry that we end up hating each other and never speak to each other again. I could feel so strongly about my belief that I kill you. We might even kill each other fighting over who is right. I could even decide that it’s not enough to just kill you, but because you’ve convinced your whole town that the color is aquamarine, it’s necessary to kill all of them too.
Of course, on the less extreme side we might agree to consult an outside expert on color to settle the matter, perhaps, we could call the Crayola Company, after all they’ve been naming colors since 1885 in Easton, PA, near where I grew up.
We might argue, passionately and often, clinging to our beliefs (as President Obama accused those rural people in PA), but in the American tradition, we could agree to disagree and at some point, shake hands and say, “Let’s go have pizza!” Presented to most 5 year-olds, the vast majority will agree that it’s stupid to kill other people just because we disagree, on the other hand most adults refuse to even listen to differing opinions. Maya Angleou, renowned poet, expressed it exactly right:
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” –
So, in America, being a country forged together by a people committed to INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM, we have The Declaration of Independence to ensure our God-given, unalienable rights are not infringed upon:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Sadly, in America our political partisanship swirls dangerously to extremes – where hate has swelled to such a level that many Americans choose to receive all of their news from sources that align with their political views. The hate and extremism goes so far that even the President of the United States works to divide Americans into hostile camps. Distrust turns Americans into furtive enemies, partisans avoiding those who hold an opposing view, with ideological walls being girded to lock out all who dare to disagree. Even codes are enacted in our universities to silence opposition.
We must tear down these partisan walls! We must work to find common ground, or we can not face the threats beyond our borders. President George Washington warned about the dangers of extreme partisanship in his Farewell Address:
“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.
So, beyond my stating it is a parental duty in a civil society to train your children to respect the rule of law. George Washington tells you that it’s a duty to discourage extremist politics – the duties are required to be a good citizen. I wrote a post in 2013 titled, “The duty of a wise people”. on this subject.
There was a time, not so long ago, when American school children were routinely taught about this speech and American principles. Sadly, today I suspect many school children don’t even know who George Washington was. And mentioning The Constitution, too often and too loudly, will get your name on a Homeland Security watch list as a right-wing extremist…