Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Politics Isn't A Party

John Adams didn't care for political parties. He thought they were bad for democracy. I tend to agree. My biggest concern with the modern incarnation of political parties being that they replace individual thoughtfulness. Too often I'm arguing my point against a person reciting what they've heard on talk radio. I'm arguing with the party line not a person. Simply put, that's not much fun. I can read the platform for that.

Anyway, my hopes for this little adventure is to get a friend of mine to take the bait and contribute his thoughts here along side my own. We agree on any number of things, but we disagree too and that is the point. Four years ago, we thought the men running for president needed to actually talk about things and we wrote one scathing bit of political hay before we realized that we didn't agree quite enough to make it a joint venture. This time around, we talked about doing the same thing and I still thought we'd never be able to agree enough to make it work.

Then I thought of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (it helps when Adams seems to be just about everywhere these days). From 1812 to 1826, Jefferson and Adams wrote 158 letters to each other after years of virtually no communication. The long silence resulted from some strenous political disagreements and just a bit of personal effrontery. In the end, though, it was all put aside and the two men went about explaining themselves to each other and to prosperity.

In real life, outside the political arena, that is what we do. We talk things through. We disagree. We argue. We walk away thinking the other is possibly just a bit nuts, but we seldom come to blows over it. We just want to be heard and if our listeners are too foolish to see the light of our wisdom that is their loss and not our own. There couldn't be anything more American than that.

Here is to another go at it. I'm no Jefferson and my friend is no Adams, but we can dream...

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