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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Founding Father's Day

I was recently thinking about the unfortunate tendency in Washington politics today for politicians to throw each other "under the bus" when faced with adversity. Since there has been a lot of adversity lately, we have been seeing quite a bit of roadkill.

What, oh what, would the Founding Fathers think if they could witness such political carnage?

Honestly, it probably wouldn't surprise them. Then-president John Adams threw fellow Federalist Party member Alexander Hamilton under the proverbial stagecoach when Adams agreed to a peace treaty with France, heading off a war that Hamilton had vigorously advocated for. Hamilton later returned the favor by publishing a rant attacking Adams' character and enunciating reasons why Adams should not be re-elected president, which he wasn't. Then-Vice President Thomas Jefferson also threw President Adams under the stagecoach when Jefferson and the opposition party he founded (the Democratic-Republicans) paid off newspaper editors to write nasty things about Adams. (Ah, for the good old days when folks would actually pay off us editors!) And, of course, Vice President Aaron Burr shot Hamilton in a duel precipitated by nasty things Hamilton had published about Burr. Nursing their petty grudges, Ben Franklin's congressional enemies made sure the good doctor never received a dime for the expenses he incurred as an ambassador in France, where he helped procure the aid that was instrumental to America winning the Revolutionary War and negotiated the treaty that brought the conflict to its conclusion.

So, as the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun. However, while the Founding Fathers had their personal and partisan squabbles, they were still able to pull together and find the time to build a great country. While there is probably an equal amount of bad going on in Washington these days, there doesn't seem to be even a tenth as much good being done. For example, this session Congress dedicated a seemingly inordinate amount of time and effort to immigration reform and so far has wound up doing nothing at all. Regardless of how you feel about the various proposals that have been out there, not doing anything is probably not the best response to the problems that exist.

Congress is apparently making a last-ditch effort this week to do something about immigration reform this session. Let's hope that something constructive results.

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