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posted: 6/19/2014 5:01 AM

Partisanship not inherently undesirable

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Many Daily Herald letter writers bemoan "partisan politics" -- usually meaning that someone on the other side objects to what their side has done, is doing, or is proposing. But what's so bad about partisanship? It's what keeps the other side in check, if not honest (they are, after all, politicians).

In Federalist No. 10 James Madison, the father of the Constitution, recognized that "faction" (the 18th-century word for special interests or, later, political parties), though divisive and widely regarded as undesirable, was basic to human nature. It couldn't be eliminated except at the expense of the very liberty that the Revolution was fought to secure. He ultimately concluded that faction could be controlled by a governmental system that enabled one faction to check another and that protected each faction from being crushed by the others.

Put another way, special interest partisanship is baked into the American cake. So the next time that a Harry Reid or a Ted Cruz (let alone an Alan Grayson or Michele Bachman) says something that sets your hair on fire, be glad that they can say it, that you've heard it, and that you're able to speak your mind about it.

Bob Foys


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