Alan Keyes
Is factionalism endangering the people's sovereignty?
By Alan Keyes
January 9, 2017

Thanks to Abraham Lincoln's statesmanship, those who fought under the American flag in the war that ushered in the end of law-enforced slavery for blacks in the United States did so in the name of the Union. That commitment to the Union prevailed again in the 20th century when Republican Sen. Arthur Vandenberg, who was at the time the chairman of the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, "delivered a celebrated speech...asserting that we must stop 'partisan politics at the water's edge....'"

It will be the height of tragic irony for the people of the United States if the chief legacy of the first black to occupy the Oval Office ends up being the triumph of internecine, factional partisanship over the conduct of the foreign and national security affairs of the U.S. government. Yet such is the implication of the controversy that brought Obama administration intelligence officials to Capitol Hill Thursday to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee "for a hearing on 'foreign cyberthreats to the United States.'"

Thanks to reports from these major intelligence-gathering agencies of the United States government, the chairman of the committee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., asserts that "Every American should be alarmed by Russia's attack on our nation":
    He later called the Russian interference an "unprecedented attack on our democracy." He said his aim was "not to question the outcome of the presidential election" but to move forward with a full understanding of what had happened.
On the strength of the intelligence agencies' reports, the outgoing occupant of the Oval Office dramatically ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave U.S. territory. At the same time, incoming President Donald Trump and his national security team adamantly rejected the notion that Russian cyber-attacks boosted Donald Trump's chances of victory in the presidential election. Both Obama and Trump appear to be chiefly preoccupied with manipulating public perception of the controversy, in light of the partisan gains or losses that may result.

In this respect, Trump's statement that it's time "to move on" from the controversy savors somewhat of Obi Wan Kenobi's "nothing to see here" Jedi mind trickery. Should we simply gloss over the possibility that one of our major competitors/potential adversaries has mounted an attack against the mind of the American people (psyop) in order to effect regime change in the United States? Will this "make America great again," or push us toward the vassal status reserved for people so blindly divided against themselves that foreign powers can easily pick them apart? Will the 21st century see us become their prey, as the Chinese Empire became in the 19th century, when Europe's rising imperialism feasted upon the resplendent carcass of its waning authority?

Standing apart from all specious partisan piety, it's clear that our nation is in peril no matter which side of this controversy we consider. We are ill-served by Democrats whose tenure at the helm of our national administration has apparently left us no more secure against damaging foreign cyber-attacks than we are against a catastrophic EMP event. We are also ill-served by GOP partisans, so anxious to rebut the charge of foreign aid that they seem willing to overlook what may have been, quite literally, an attack against the sovereign body of the American people. To remove use from the shadow of such an attack, we need the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And then we need the unswerving dedication to act accordingly.

At the moment, we appear instead to have reached the nadir of factionalism George Washington foresaw as the pernicious and inevitable result of party politics. We have embraced an electoral system predicated on the view that attaining power is the defining goal of political activity, without regard to our common good. Now, it seems, we are poised to accept the inevitable consequence of that folly, which is an administration of government equally careless of it. One party is so afflicted with the furious cancer of tyrannical socialist ideology that it despises the very idea of our existence as a nation. The other is so beguiled by a soulless and tyrannical pragmatism that it is poised to exalt an empty show of nationalistic fervor, while neglecting the vocation of decent humanity that has, from its inception, expressed the spirit, and informed the living heart, of our true existence as a nation.

Though only gradually and imperfectly realized, that vocation has been to establish and preserve constitutional government, founded upon the premises of God- endowed right, for all people within our jurisdiction who are willing to act upon those premises; and to cooperate with decent people everywhere who willingly strive to do likewise. The purpose of our elections cannot be simply to award the fasces of power to some faction or other. It must be to serve and conserve the purposes of God-endowed right and justice that constitute the defining substance of our liberty. As a people, we do not win when this purpose is lost, for in losing it we lose our identity as a nation.

We should not have allowed our parties to degenerate into factions, acting for the sake of power without regard to the premises of right that constitute the common ground on which we stand. Can we risk compounding this partisan folly by allowing foreign governments to corrupt the exercise of choice that epitomizes our sovereign character as a people? It really doesn't matter which self-serving party appears to reap victory from this corruption – they do so at the expense of the individual exercise of sovereign right that constitutes the substantive bond of our nation. That is a cost which surely implies the dissolution of our union.

But which or our leaders still cares to preserve it? Which of them sets the example of seeking the truth that serves to do so, regardless of their own ambition and factional partisan interest? Every senator and representative in the U.S. Congress should step forward to do so. But a higher office entails a special responsibility to do so – the office of President of the United States. Oaths are all well and good. But unselfish deeds, in service to the good of all, best correspond to the vocation of our common citizenship. They are the best expressions of true American statesmanship. Will we ever see their like again? Only, I think, if we are willing, as in generations past, to turn to Almighty God, with earnest prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:20).

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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