Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Just As With George Washington, Our Views Of Ourselves Impact How We See Politics

I’ve been reading the historian Richard Hofstadter’s The Idea of a Party System: The Rise of Legitimate Opposition in the United States, 1780-1840. 

(I wish this book was required reading in Houston so we could get past our no-good non-partisan city council elections. Non-partisan elections deny voters the right to choose between competing parties and competing ideas.) 

Hofstadter wrote that George Washington had a difficult time understanding the rise of political parties during his presidency.

Washington felt he stood above party concerns and that his proposals should be seen as national in character and not the product any faction or party.

We all have assumptions about ourselves (often wrong) that impact our political lives. We may think we are better than other people or we may feel bad about ourselves. We may feel something in common with certain types of people or we may not want anything to do with certain types of people.

These opinions of ourselves guide decisions about who we want to identify with politically. They guide where we feel our tax money should go.

No person makes fully dispassionate decisions about politics. Our personalities and self-assumptions are always involved. We are full of ourselves. This was true even for George Washington.

This fact is one of many reasons that a good path to understanding others is to understand one’s own self.  

April 2, 2007 Posted by | Books, Political History, Politics | 2 Comments