Dr. Ben Carson, George Washington, and the divisiveness of political parties


SAN JOSE, May 4, 2015 –  It is now official: Dr. Benjamin Carson today declared his intent to make a  run for POTUS in 2016. From the mere thought of his run for president from a Wall Street Journal article in 2013, many have thought it an impossible possibility. The idea of a doctor running for the position of president was an intriguing possibility, but other physicians have tried, but they had been in the political arena before, and they had some “political pedigree.” Despite the possibilities, it has been pointed out repeatedly by the professional political pundits that Dr. Carson has no genuine political experience and is a novice in the environment of cutthroat political affairs. Yet, Carson still announced his intent to run for president.

From the Journal article in 2013, many who saw a glimmer of possibility in a presidential run have tried to discourage Dr. Carson, including some of his closest associates and some of his most intense enemies. Several individuals of some significance have tried to steer him away from entering the political arena. Now that Dr. Carson has announced his decision to go forward with a presidential campaign, many more “professionals” will surface to derail his spirited effort to secure the GOP nomination for president. In his speech in Detroit today, Carson acknowledged this adverse effort to stop or silence people like him, who want to live in the country promised to Americans by their forefathers.

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If Dr. Carson had zero chance of making a difference in the 2016 presidential campaign, one could seriously wonder why so many attempts were made to undermine the growing momentum of support for him. Team Carson may have underdog status because of inexperience in the political arena, but having experience in politics these days is similar to saying you rode with Jesse James. Dr. Benjamin Carson is not an insider, and not one who has personally or politically benefitted while the country, which is really the people, has been terrorized and threatened and diminished economically. There is little to be proud of with regard to those in the political elite who are essentially, as Carson expressed it, more concerned with the next election than with the next generation.

This genuine sentiment for the welfare of all citizens of this country comes through quite strongly in Ben Carson, who appears to many to be the real deal – a genuine man of the people. The new ad he launched is reflective of Dr. Carson’s intent to heal and unite this country. He echoes the sentiment for the citizens of this country from the time of the beginning of the United States, as expressed by the very first president of the United States. President George Washington, warned America about the potential divisiveness and destructiveness of political parties in America. Ironically, there were no political parties when Washington became the president in 1789. However, serious political divisions emerged during Washington’s first term.

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The Father of the country regretted such division being concerned about the unity within the infant nation. Washington warned that political parties could destroy the Union. It is not that George Washington failed to understand the contribution of political parties, but he was aware that older and more stable governments viewed political parties as destructive because of the temptation to manifest and retain power, but also because they would often seek to extract revenge on the political opposition. Washington was greatly concerned that they had in history, and would again, grow seeking more power than other groups to the detriment of the whole.

Reading the words of his Farewell Address, an adept reader may be astounded at how remarkably prophetic they are:

The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

President Washington expressed genuine concern in that “the alternate domination” of one political party over another, thereby allowing one party to enjoy temporary power over the government that would use it to obtain revenge on the other. He felt that this tendency toward atrocities directed at the party out of power “…is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.” Even in Washington’s day, party loyalty and political were drawn to the point of personal bitterness and public destructiveness. Such division along party lines represented a serious and severe rupture between the two political factions from the inception of the republic. It made a deep impact upon Washington.

Retiring President Washington wrote about the very real capacity of political parties to destroy the fragile unity holding the nation together as he viewed this to be formidable and seriously detrimental to the genuine development and ultimate survival of the young country. Ironically, within the current political environment, America seems to have devolved into the dark, divided political realm of which Washington warned Americans. Washington warned of the power of parties because he feared they could distract the government from its required duty to the people and even lead to the eradication of the freedoms established by   the founding documents, especially the Constitution.

Today, the American people find themselves at the mercy of two powerful political parties, both hungering for their own power and self-perpetuation. Today, Americans often express dissatisfaction with the divided Congress and the incredibly divisive nature of the political environment in the U.S. If a strong American with genuine respect for the foundational values wants to get elected to office in this country, the patriot- citizen usually needs some affiliation, needs to offer some support, and some demonstration of loyalty to one of the major parties. If they do not bow down to the powers that be, they do not get the support of the party, serious coverage from the mainstream media, and thus the vital support for the rest of the citizens.

On the other hand, if Americans would willingly turn from the corrupt manner in which the political parties are selfishly fighting for their own political gains and perpetuation of power, it would represent a genuine upheaval within the American political environment in this century. The campaign of Dr. Carson can be understood from this perspective – it is not an ordinary campaign. His is really a campaign for the American people to re-examine the original blueprints of the foundation of America, and to help rebuild the nation according to those original blueprints within a twenty-first century environment. The Carson campaign seems to be heading in that direction.

For those who do not realize it, there are several who take Dr. Carson, or what he represents, as a serious threat to politics as usual. In his speech in Detroit this morning, he called on the American people to stop being loyal to a party or a man and to use their own brains to think for themselves and stop being manipulated by those who consider themselves the “kingmakers” of American politics. Carson is striving to take the political dialogue to a different level, one of approaching issues from the standpoint of common sense as opposed to Left vs. Right, or Conservative vs. Liberal. He is challenging people to use their brains when they vote as opposed to simply checking off a “D” or an “R” that follows a politicians’ name.

Dr. Carson has emerged as one of the leading spokesmen for the preservation of traditional American values and a return to the fundamental founding principles that the Founding Fathers sought to imbed into the fabric of the U.S. culture. In his more recent book, One Nation, Carson expresses the importance of an accurate understanding of history:

Our nation’s founders felt very strongly that our system of government could only survive with a well-informed and educated populace. They understood that if the populace reached the point of not being able to critically analyze information. It would easily fall prey to slick politicians and unethical news media. All citizens need to arm themselves with a basic knowledge of American history and stay abreast of current events, analyzing them with respect to history. Knowledge is power and at a time when the people are becoming increasingly impotent while government grows larger and larger and more powerful, it is vital that we arm ourselves with knowledge.

Carson has also recently published an online book, titled One Vote, which deals with the importance of taking one’s voting rights seriously. It seems so simple for Americans to use common sense as they participate in the political decision making, but Dr. Carson is challenging Americans to use their common sense now more than ever to change “politics as usual.” Carson is striving to challenge the status quo of what the elections have been in this country for too long a time, and his message seems to be resonating with an American public that is sick of politics as usual. His entry into the political arena has already made a significant impact – the future campaign promises to be equally compelling.

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Dennis Jamison reinvented his life after working for a multi-billion dollar division of Johnson & Johnson for several years. Now semi-retired, he is an adjunct faculty member at West Valley College in California. He currently writes a column on US history and one on American freedom for the Communities Digital News, as well as writing for other online publications. During the 2016 presidential primaries, he worked as the leader of a network of writers, bloggers, and editors who promoted the candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson. He founded the “We the People” Network of writers and the Citizen Sentinels Project to pro-actively promote the values and principles established at the founding of the United States, and to discover and support more morally centered citizen-candidates who sincerely seek election as public servants, not politicians.