Having heard more than my fill of partisan bickering over the fiscal cliff, I am reminded of the wise words of David Lipscomb:
The staple of Northern politics is abuse of the South, of the Democratic party and men. The staple of Southern politics is abuse of the North, and the Republican party and men. Now, if all were to unite in abusing Mexico and its President, or were they to take in Mexico, and with it, all unite in baying the man in the moon, and vent their spite and spleen upon him, they would be just as happy, as free, as wealthy, as they are now in abusing each other.
There is not and never has been any principle involving the moral or material good of the people in politics.
Sectional party alignments have changed since 1880. The nature of politics has not.
For whatever reason, the above quote reminds me of this much later witticism by T. R. Burnett about the Spanish-American War that I’ve been meaning to share:
Congress has decided to tax beer $2 per barrel, to raise money to fight Spain. Now if Congress will tax Spain in order to raise revenue to fight beer, the thing will be evenly adjusted. Beer is a worse enemy of American than Spain can possibly be.