The election of 1800, which made Thomas Jefferson the Nation’s 3rd President, is often cited by historians not only as a moment of significance in the history of the United States, but also as a major event in world history. It was proof that America’s forefathers had struck a balance that would allow the Nation to survive major shifts in political power without the bloodshed that had almost always previously accompanied the transfer of power from one ideological group to another in countries throughout the world.
The Democratic-Republican Jefferson, favoring a less centralized seat of government power, took the office from John Adams, whose Federalist Party favored a stronger central government. Though the electoral system had not yet been polished to perfection (it arguably never has or will be), a peaceful transfer of power occurred, setting the stage for a trial run in political discourse.
As the fading Federalists continued to affect political policy throughout Jefferson’s Presidency, disagreements between the Republicans in power and the Federalists emboldened the system of check and balances that was built into the national fabric. And despite Democratic-Republican control of the executive branch, Federalist ideology continued to influence the country in the decisions handed down by the Supreme Court, which obtained coequal status as a branch of government in 1800.
The Founders knew that the young Nation would inevitably undergo great changes in the decades and centuries ahead — and they knew that change is good for a nation. They also knew, however, that rapid political change and power shifts could have violent circumstances. So, to borrow from President Barack Obama, the Founders designed a system that would always leave room for one political party or another to “gum up the works” as new ideas and legislation were introduced.
James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 10: “The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man. … A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power … have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.”
Today, it seems, it is forgotten that the Nation’s political system was designed with political obstruction as a goal rather than an impediment to progress. And according to some pundits, the system designed by the Nation’s Founders is used with original intent only by “political terrorists.”
On Wednesday, MSNBC talking head Chris Mathews accused Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) of being a “political terrorist” for calling on fellow Republicans to refuse to fund government operations unless funding for the implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is choked off.
“I believe it’s terrorism: This is the first time I’ve seen a political party, or even a fraction of it, say that their number one goal is to shut down the American government, kill a bill that’s already been passed by congress, and refuse to pay bills already run up by congress in an attempt to basically risk default,” Matthews said on MSNBC’s Hardball. “This is an attempt to destroy all we know of the republican form of government in this country.”
Cruz’s point was this: Previous and further GOP votes to undo Obamacare are empty symbolic gestures meant to simply appease constituents.
“We don’t have the votes, and we are unlikely to get the votes in closed-door meetings in Washington. The only way that we win this fight is if the American people rise up,” Cruz said.
In the face of the implementation of a nationalized healthcare system — which even some supporters aren’t sure is going to work — and at a time when the U.S. owes mountains of debt, Cruz sees holding government spending hostage to avoid further government spending as the only option.
“My focus for the next 61 days is very directly targeted to one thing, and that is working to defund Obamacare,” Cruz said. “This is the best opportunity we have to defund Obamacare and quite possibly our last opportunity to effectively defund Obamacare.”
But he doesn’t have many mainstream GOP allies, as many of his colleagues prefer empty promises to repeal Obamacare to actual action. Instead, Cruz and a handful of Tea Party favorites such as Senators Mike Lee of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky are working to get the American public involved.
“For us to win this fight, the American people have to be with us,” he said. “We want to keep the government open… Why is President Obama threatening to shut down the Federal government in order to force Obamacare down the throats of the American people?”
Cruz is no political terrorist, he simply understands that the Founders left him a system, which no matter how bloated and corrupt it grows, contains at its core, the ability for underdog political leaders to have the power to side with constituents in tangible ways — a political necessity when their colleagues prefer lip-service in public and playing the part of lapdog to bureaucracy behind closed doors.