Since the early development of this nation’s governmental design, from the forming of the Articles of Confederation to the passing of the Constitution in 1789, political disagreements regarding the power of the federal government vs. states rights (the interaction of both as to the effect on individual freedoms) have generated acrimonious controversies. Despite the many congressional compromises, the personal Herculean efforts of Henry Clay, the persuasion of the calm and reasonable, within eighty-five years of this nation’s birth, the dispute over issues of power (their limitations, scope and statutory form), developed ultimately into a horrific civil war.
Almost from the day of the signing of the Treaty of Paris the thirteen states quarreled with each other over issues of sovereignty, trade, taxation, and central government debt service. Ten years after the Declaration of Independence fifteen hundred former Continental Army soldiers marched on a local court house to protest the seizer of land and other property for failing to pay taxes or mortgages; the rebellious veterans forcibly shut it down. Many of these soldiers still had not been paid their wages from the war of independence; debtor’s prisons were filling, there was little order and much state and local government corruption. Leaders of the time: Washington, Hamilton and Madison to name a few, recognized the need to address the weakness of the Articles of Confederation in favor of a stronger central government; hence, the Philadelphia convention, resulting in the Constitution of the United States and the beginnings of serious political disagreements concerning its interpretation.
There were objective, subjective, as well as traditional-cultural, even possibly subliminal influences coupled with perplexing motivations for the leading political figures of the time to adamantly disagree; however, on their merits, the differences expressed so forcefully, were summoned by the aggregate of certain seemingly unflinching core beliefs. Interestingly enough, the expressions of emotional hostility regarding the differing political-economic values of hundreds of years ago are very familiar with today’s political grievances rendering validation to the verbiage that history repeats itself.
I do believe that the politically inspired infighting and outfighting of the post Washington Administration does NOT differ significantly from the politically motivated chaotic nonsensical of election year 2008.
Naturally, technology has changed the battlefield of political engagement; nevertheless, the cornerstone of disagreements remains the same. If one could segregate the continuum of frivolous political politicking and the political parties’ inclination to immerse in such nonsense, if the political bias of emotionally charged affiliated media would act with responsibility instead of throwing wood into the fire simply to create more smoke, if only the pundit’s interference was less gotcha entertainment and more relevant informing, and if the ever present scurrilous meddling by the peddlers of personal smut would just disappear; in short order, without too much confusion one would be able to decipher the differing of one’s opinion on an issue of importance from the other. But because one cannot segregate oneself from the entire heretofore mentioned, one is instead susceptible to the contrivance of preferential pictures, machinations of sound bytes, and the relentless 24/7 constancy of politically bias horn blowing.
I assume the question of this election year is whether the electorate can decipher fact from fiction, reality from illusion, and meaningfulness from the slight of hand.