The Founders warned us

That America’s Founders were brilliant men supported by equally strong women is beyond dispute. They created a framework for a new nation and a Constitution that, if obeyed, would provide protection from big government and ensure individual liberty on a scale unknown in the world at that time.

The one thing they avoided in the Constitution and Bill of Rights was political parties. They made no mention of them, and for good reason, according to History.com, “The framers of the new Constitution desperately wanted to avoid the divisions that had ripped England apart in the bloody civil wars of the 17th century. Many of them saw parties — or ‘factions,’ as they called them — as corrupt relics of the monarchical British system that they wanted to discard in favor of a truly democratic government.”

Talk about hindsight leading to foresight. Their fears have been repeatedly vindicated, especially in our day when neither party can see merit in ideas coming from the other party, even if they are good ideas and the media enjoy fanning flames of division more than putting out fires. Only the other party is corrupt and no amount of evidence can persuade or convince otherwise. The latest examples are the alleged crimes committed by President Biden and his family and the numerous charges and criminal indictments piling up against Donald Trump.

Never in our history to my recollection has there been one party leader under indictment (with more to come) and the other accused of criminal wrongdoing in connection to alleged influence peddling by his son.

Back to the lessons History.com can teach us: “Alexander Hamilton once called political parties ‘the most fatal disease’ of popular governments. James Madison, who worked with Hamilton to defend the new Constitution to the public in the Federalist Papers, wrote in Federalist 10 that one of the functions of a ‘well-constructed Union’ should be ‘its tendency to break and control the violence of faction.’ ”

Some of the Founders disagreed, most notably Thomas Jefferson, whom Democrats claim was their first president: “(Jefferson) believed it was a mistake not to provide for different political parties in the new government. ‘Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties,’ he would write in 1824.”

Perhaps George Washington, who ran unopposed to win the nation’s first election in 1789, sensed what was coming when he named Jefferson to his cabinet so it would be inclusive (in the language of our day) of different viewpoints.

When polls show a majority of Republicans and Democrats are dissatisfied with the front-runners for president, perhaps it’s time to create another way to select presidential candidates. Probably few want to go back to the days of what came to be known as “smoke-filled rooms,” where candidates were selected by an inner circle of power brokers and the well-connected.

As noted by many commentators, the primary system usually produces candidates with the most extreme views in both parties and voters too often complain of having to hold their noses and vote for the one they dislike the least.

Could there be a better way? Could we find qualified candidates who are willing to run and face the predictable and often unfair criticism — and lies — told by members of the other party?

The “No Labels” movement thinks its way is the path out of this morass, but just removing labels does little to deal with issues or solve problems. If the idea is to water down legitimate divisions — taxes, spending, entitlement reform, border security, moral decline being among them — that can only add to our national angst.

Will someone(s) with sufficient vision who loves America and wants to see it preserved, protected and defended, please step forward and propose a better way than what we have now? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you, whomever you may be.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.