“There is nothing to his favour, his private character is not defended by his most partial friends. He is bankrupt beyond redemption except by the plunder of his country. His public principles have no other spring or aim than his own aggrandizement….If he can he will certainly disturb our institutions to secure himself permanent power and with it wealth. He is truly the Catiline of America.”
Catiline was the destroyer of republican government and far from the classical hero of antiquity that perhaps many of the founders secretly aspired to model themselves after. Taken out of context these words could easily be inserted into the modern political landscape, however; their point of origin was from the lips of Alexander Hamilton in 1801 during a House of Representatives deadlock over election of Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson. Hamilton’s comments are far from the characteristics of trust, mutual respect that are often used to describe what the populous desires their political leaders to embody. Perhaps these characteristics were better exemplified on the battlefield of the American Revolution and in the halls of the various bodies that shaped our government during its infancy than in the modern age.
History is littered with examples of partisan politics, and personal attacks and rhetoric. In our country’s infancy lines were drawn between Federalist and Anti-Federalist, as are they are today between Democrat, Independent and Conservative.
Can we transcend the partisan nature of humanity through attaining a spirit of bipartisanship to address the profound issues that threaten to limit our nation’s potential?
Or are we limited by the condition of our own human state?
If so, then we will never truly answer America’s call to greatness.
If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, either external no internal controls on government would be necessary. “ (James Madison, Federalist Papers, No. 51, p.322).
In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson; there are two aristocracies that make up the political class within the world, the natural and the artificial. The artificial born into wealth, given their elected office based off their social status like royalty received their rule like the divine right of kings. Where as the natural-born of virtue only elevate themselves through life by their noble actions and merit. I am of the thought that the artificial aristocracy has done significant damage to the divine structure of our government. We are at the crossroads that Jefferson warned of when the best people motivated by virtue refused to take upon themselves the burdens of public office. The political ranks are already filled with too many individuals who seek their own greater glory or whose motivation is fueled by achieving a “secularized version of Christian immortality.”
John Adams states, “What is it to become of an independent statesmen, one who will not bow the knee to no idol, who will worship nothing as a divinity but truth, virtue and his country? I will tell you; he will be regarded more by posterity than those who worship hounds and horses; and although he will not make his own fortune, he will make the fortune of his country.”
There is a fine line when representing a constituency, however there is little doubt that the survival of the nation is dependent on fiscal discipline, however; this is a characteristic neither side of the aisle appears to capable or willing to deliver. The greater responsibility or question falls on the America populace. How willing are you not just to be engaged in the political process but to be vigilant? How willing are you to be a statesmen?