One of the foremost factors that prompted men like Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay to pen “The Federalist” (often incorrectly referred-to as “The Federalist Papers”) was their acute understanding of just how desperately vulnerable the infant United States was to what they called “the vice of factions.” The United States was (and is) a republic, and previous global experiments with that form of governance had oftentimes ended very badly because their citizenry proved far more interested in pursuing partisan feuds than in uniting for the common good. James Madison’s famous “Federalist Number 10″ held to the optimistic view that America’s huge size and diversity was not an invitation to divisive factionalism, but was instead a guarantee that “small groups of designing men” would be unable to impose their will.
Madison would be very disappointed with what’s happening in contemporary America. To put things as bluntly as one possibly can, our political order is afflicted with the paralysis that inevitably accompanies the activities of highly-organized and true-believing factions. Uncivil and unending is the discourse between our two major philosophical alignments. Their arguments are as unproductive as the vigorous running of pet squirrels in their cages. Our politicians argue themselves hoarse, insult each other with impunity, and leave the business of the people undone.
This is no proper way to “run a railroad” — OR to keep a republic like our own in good order.
Our machinery of government needs a good set of repair persons. About all we’re seeing right now is a bunch of incompetent grease monkeys who are ruining the engine and making a terrible mess of the vehicle’s interior!