Monday, August 17, 2009

How important is political party affiliation? Some people mistakenly believe only politicians need political affiliation, which they use for support to get elected. They contend the electorate or voters, do not need to be aligned with any Party. These same people often state they “support the man, not the Party.” But whether they recognize it or not, they are supporting a party when they “support the man.”

Most of the Founding Fathers had a negative view of political parties. In his farewell address to the nation, George Washington warned about political parties saying, “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, 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, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” In spite of Washington's warning, political parties were formed anyway.

From 1796 to 1828 the first political parties were formed. Starting with the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, two opposing factions arose. Each was concerned with how the new government was to be organized. The Federalists believed in a strong central government. Their philosophy and beliefs would closely mirror the Democrat Party today. The Anti-Federalists strongly supported the rights of the states. They would more closely align with Republicans today.
Since the mid 1800s, the Ds and Rs have been the two major political parties in our country. Political parties flourished in our government mainly for legislative organization and expediencies sake. Why is Party affiliation important for the average voter? Party affiliation is important for three very simples reasons.
First, party affiliation is the first vote a citizen casts. When a citizen registers as a Democrat, then they are aligning philosophically with the values, beliefs, tenets, and positions of the Democrats on the issues. Party affiliation “defines” you are and what you stand for. It should be taken as seriously as a vote for a specific candidate. Research what each Party stands for, their positions on issues, and then align with the Party that is closest to your values. Copies of both major Party platforms are available on-line or at the local library.

Second, legislatures organize themselves and conduct business using party affiliation. The legislative branch of government is the most powerful arm of the three branches of government. Legislative bodies hold closed meeting of party members, called a caucus to decide on questions of policy or leadership. The Republicans hold a caucus meeting and the Democrats hold a caucus meeting-both at the state and federal level. Unfortunately, conservative, moderate and liberal philosophies do not hold caucus meetings or control the legislative agendas- parties do. When someone says they vote for “the man,” not the party, they fail to understand the power and function of a caucus system in a legislative body. The Party in the majority controls appointments, Chairmanships, the agenda and countless other things through the caucus.

Third, party affiliation should be a matter of conviction, not convenience. Often, people align with a party so they can vote in primary elections or based on family tradition or geographies. Even candidates will align, file and run affiliated with a Party they have little philosophical agreement with. That decision is made out of convenience, not conviction. While no political party is perfect or has all the answers, there is a distinct difference between the two major parties and honest citizens should align with the Party that reflects their convictions.
The Democrat Party is more liberal than the Republican Party. Liberals believe in more government control of business, the environment and speech, using large bureaucratic programs to address real or perceived social ills and constant reinterpretation of the Constitution. Liberals are more inclined to trust government than the people themselves. They see the role of government as a great provider of goods and services and have little faith in the individual to solve his own problems.
Republicans are more conservative than Democrats. Conservatives believe in less government control of the environment and business. They want fewer and less comprehensive government programs to address real or perceived social ills. They believe in personal responsibility and trust individuals to make decisions for themselves. Republicans believe in a strict literal interpretation of the Constitution. A person should find out which of these philosophies best fits their view if they wish to actively participate in the political process.
Party affiliation is important. Washington’s prophecy has come to past, and political parties have been used to empower “unprincipled men,” on both sides of the aisle, but like it or not, political parties are a reality in our system of government. Each concerned citizen should evaluate the philosophy, values, beliefs and tenets of each Party and align their party affiliation accordingly.

2 comments:

broglenn2366 said...

I truely believe that Fairness without Bias is fully american idea of Truth, Freedom , Brotherhood. it is time that America wake up. Stop the bias separation with the tool called political point of view. i dont want to believe out of all these years of hate, we still have not learned to be civil without the new war called Freedom of speech hiding behind parts of the Paper that start with those words WE THE PEOPLE. It do not start with the word Justice or in some folks words Just Us. Come together my country. Find away to be United in these States, stop the hate stop tring to divide politics into a Racial, or poor against rich system. I love you america rather you want me to or not. i believe in your right to not believe in mines. That is the American values i believe in. Im not putting the Question to you but rather asking you to ask yourself. How American am i? Is what im doing, saying teaching or working for is for the greater good of my land of liberty. or just my Fair and Bias belief. God Bless You And God Bless America My Home Sweet Home.
Glenn Lewis M.M.

Steve Fair is a political activist. said...

Your idea that we should "all just get along" is not based on reality. The truth is by nature human beings are depraved, selfish, rebellious and opinioned. Everyone you know is bias- either for or against something- including yourself. The key is to make sure your bias is based on FACT and not on your opinion. The facts can only be found in the revealed Word of God.

Thanks for your comments and keep reading

Steve