By: T. Jeffersonian
First it is important to understand the definitions of Democracy and Republic. A Democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. A Republic is a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch. As President Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg, the United States has a government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people. We have a Democratic Republic.
Former Hawaii Congressional Representative Tulsi Gabbard, made headlines this week for asserting in a social media video that Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat-California., and former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan should be considered domestic enemies of the United States, deeming them greater dangers to the country than the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021. Tulsi Gabbard denounced the violent demonstrators, but she warned that efforts to combat domestic insurgents through surveillance and other monitoring activities poses an even greater danger by undermining our constitution by trying to take away our civil liberties and rights that are guaranteed to each of us as citizens. It is important to turn the State of Hawaii red.
In his Farewell Address, George Washington warned of similar dangers to our rights. Washington himself. In delivering his 1796 Farewell Address, George Washington established an unofficial policy for serving only two Presidential terms. Between 1796 and 1940, five two term Presidents attempted to serve more than two terms – Grant, Cleveland, Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt. Only Franklin Roosevelt succeeded, winning four consecutive terms in office. Serving a two Presidential terms limit was made law with the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1951. Senators, Representatives, and other career politicians have no such limits. As long as they are elected or employed, they can serve. Some serve for decades and while doing so, acquire vast of amounts of political power and wealth. Let’s take a look at some of the ones we know or who are still in the news today. The years reflect do not count political offices held at the state level before having offices in the national government. When you take into account state government service and national government service, the years are much longer.
- Daniel Inouye 53 years
- Strom Thurmound 48 years
- Patrick Lehey 46 years
- Ted Kennedy 46 years
- Joe Biden 44 years
- Chuck Schumer 40 years
- Mitch McConnell 36 years
- John McCain 36 years
- Nancy Pelosi 34 years
- Adam Schiff 20 years
- John Brennan 36 years
- Note: John Brennan is not an elected politician. He was a career CIA Officer who rose to become CIA Director, Homeland Security Advisor, and Counter-terrorism Director.
The power of Congress is substantial. The Congress is designed to be the elected embodiment of the American people. Congress is intended to be the most powerful branch of the U.S. government. It is the first branch of the U.S. government mentioned in the Constitution. Here are some of the main powers invested in the U.S. Congress:
- Make laws.
- Declare war.
- Raise and provide public money and oversee its proper expenditure.
- Impeach and try federal officers.
- Approve presidential appointments.
- Approve treaties negotiated by the executive branch.
- Oversight and investigations.
One of these powers might well be more important than the others and that is the power to raise and provide public money and oversee its proper expenditure. Congress controls the money raised and spent by the most powerful and wealthiest nation in the history of humankind. Congressional elections themselves cost donors around $7.3 billion dollars in 2020. The people who give this money, want a return for their investments, otherwise, during the next election, that candidate might not get the money again.
Now let’s go to 1796, when George Washington decided not to seek a third term in office. Washington begrudgingly served a second term. He wanted to retire in 1792, but he was urged to stay because the two emerging political parties were threatening to tear the country apart. In 1796, he declined to run for a third term. He did not want the office of the Presidency to be perceivably a lifetime appointment. Washington wrote a Farewell Address to the people, explaining his decision to retire and warning of them of dangers to the Republic. Some of these dangers are the same dangers that Tulsi Gabbard warned about this week.
Washington emphasized that American independence, peace at home and abroad, safety, prosperity, and liberty are all dependent upon unity among the states. He warned that the union of states created by the Constitution would come under the most frequent and focused attacks by foreign and domestic enemies of the country. Domestic enemies he saw being driven by the dangers of sectionalism, arguing that the true motives of a sectionalist are to create distrust or rivalries between regions and people to gain power and take control of the government.
Washington expanded his sectionalist warning to include the dangers of political parties to the country as a whole. Washington recognized that it is natural for people to organize and operate within groups such as political parties, but he also argued that every government has recognized political parties as an enemy and has sought to repress them because of their tendency to seek more power than other groups and to take revenge on their political opponents. He felt that disagreements between political parties weakened the government. From Washington’s perspective and judgment, political parties eventually and gradually incline the minds of men to seek security…in the absolute power of individuals. Washington recommended that political parties must be restrained in a popularly elected government because of their tendency to distract the government from their duties, create unfounded jealousies among groups and regions, raise false alarms among the people, promote riots and insurrection, and provide foreign nations and interests access to the government where they can impose their will upon the country. Washington warns the people that political factions may seek to obstruct the execution of the laws created by the government or to prevent the branches of government from exercising their powers provided them by the Constitution. Washington claimed to be trying to answer popular demands or solve pressing problems, but their true intentions are to take the power from the people and place it in the hands of unjust men. Washington’s views on opposing political parties became so bad that in 1799 he refused to come out of retirement to run for President a third time. Washington said, “The line between Parties has become so clearly drawn that politicians regard neither truth nor decency; attacking every character, without respect to persons – public or private, – who happen to differ from themselves in Politics”.
Washington reminded the people that it is the right of the people to alter the government to meet their needs, but it should only be done through Constitutional amendments. He reinforced this belief by arguing that violent takeovers of the government should be avoided at all costs and that it is the duty of every member of the Republic to follow the Constitution and to submit to the laws of the government until it is constitutionally amended by the majority of the American people. Finally, Washington argued that the security provided by a more perfect Union allowed the United States to avoid the creation of an overgrown military [and domestic surveillance and suppression on the people] which he saw as a great threat to the Republican liberties on which the United States has created.
Such was politics in 1799 and such is politics today but worse. What is different in 2021, is that we have two powerful, well-funded, sectionalist political parties, each seeking revenge on the other. These political parties are led by career politicians and government servants whom in most cases have served far, far longer than George Washington ever would envisioned. Being seated in Washington DC for three, four, and even five decades and being backed by increasingly larger sources of individually amassed wealth and financial backing, these career officials have themselves become the sectionalist despotism against which Washington so diligently warned in 1796. Comparatively, some dictators have ruled their countries, less time that our career politicians serve. For comparison, provided below are some of the most well-known totalitarian leaders and how long each have ruled or ruled their respective countries:
- Fidel Castro 49 years
- Saddam Hussein 24 years
- Vladimir Putin 17 years.
- Ayatollah Khomeini 10 years.
- Kim Jon Un 9 years.
- Xi Jinping 7 years.
I agree with Tulsi Gabbard. The greatest danger to our Republic and our liberties, is the sectionalist, political despotism seen in the tenures, power, and amassed wealth of career American politicians. There must be a 27th Amendment to the Constitution that installs terms limits for U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, and career government servants otherwise government of the people, by the people, and for the people will die.