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Tony Grist

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Washington Had The Right Idea [Nov. 3rd, 2016|06:58 pm]
Tony Grist
Ailz does online quizzes. Yesterday she got asked which political party George Washington belonged to- and she didn't know. Neither did I.

The answer is he didn't belong to any- because he hated them.

I don't have a settled opinion of Washington- man of principle, slave-owner, courageous but incompetent general- but that snippet of information makes him go up in my estimation.

Political parties are dreadful things. They divide us and then intensify the divisions. They quickly become tribal. They stop us talking to one another. Worse- they stop us listening to one another.

I have a friend who is a convinced supporter of a US political party. She is very committed. She sees everything bad that the other lot do and nothing bad that her side does. I express doubts about her party's candidate and she roars at me- and tells me how great they are and how dreadful the opponent is- in considerable detail- and I don't even have a vote in the election. It's getting so it threatens our friendship- and that's awful.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: negothick
2016-11-03 07:28 pm (UTC)
I believe it was something of a trick question: Washington DID hate political parties, but there were no official parties as yet. His first "election" in 1789 he won unopposed. Most of the states (several hadn't yet ratified the Constitution) cast electoral votes for Washington alone, and separate votes for vice president. The messed up electoral vote system continued in 1792, when Washington again ran unopposed, but there was some difficulty over the Vice President. 1796 was the first contested presidential election, and suddenly there were political parties. The Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-03 08:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation.

My knowledge of US history is patchy.
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[User Picture]From: matrixmann
2016-11-03 07:40 pm (UTC)
Seems like this is the way organized closed societies are made...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-03 08:53 pm (UTC)
I think the US political system is broken.
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[User Picture]From: matrixmann
2016-11-03 09:05 pm (UTC)
This is a fact.

But, you also have this attitude of fighting criticism among the own members in many closed societies and organized strctures. I don't get what's the matter with it, but many have this mindset of "being strict" and not accepting that kind of progressive thinking which brings the club forward.
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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2016-11-03 11:11 pm (UTC)
He wasn't an incompetent general by the time of the Revolution. He made some terrible calls in King Philip's War/The French and Indian War/The Seven Years' War/Whatever You Want To Call It, but by 1776, he started making the right calls.

It's just that Fabian strategies doesn't play well to the peanut gallery. Constantly retreating while chipping away at your enemy's strength just isn't popular with the public or the government. But it was the right call.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-04 09:25 am (UTC)
Fair enough.

Something I read suggested that Washington came within an inch of losing the war- and had to be bailed out by the French- but I suppose that's just someone's opinion.
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[User Picture]From: xiphias
2016-11-04 11:04 am (UTC)
That's not wrong, but it's a misleading way to put it. The colonies were never going to be able to secede without serious military aid, and getting the French on board was always a necessary part of the plan. Part of the point of Washington's Fabian strategy was to play for time so that Colonial diplomats could gather foreign military aid.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2016-11-04 02:22 pm (UTC)
Political fervour - like religious fervour - can so often become toxic. It's happening with the US election, with post-Brexit Britain and indeed in many countries around the world.

I feel more and more like a remnant from the 1970's... Which is perhaps what I am. My parents did loads of things wrong, but they did give me that cosy, comfortable hippie-attitude that we should all be able to speak together and not call each other names.

Sad, though, that one begins to think that pre-school pedagogy needs to be applied to politics.
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