Fifth-term Congressman from Michigan Justin Amash declared his independence from partisan politics on July 4th. He made his announcement in an op-ed in the Washington Post, citing disenchantment with the present system and quoting George Washington’s warning regarding the detrimental influences of partisanship:
In recent years, though, I’ve become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it. The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions.
Washington said of partisanship, in one of America’s most prescient addresses: “… It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection…”
Indeed, we can clearly see the results of partisanship gone amok in our current constantly-bickering leadership.
As one of the 63 members of Congress elected as a result of the Tea Party Movement and as Chairman of the House Liberty Caucus, Amash is considered a conservative-libertarian. Perhaps he proved to be more of a libertarian in the tradition of former Congressman from Texas Ron Paul than a conservative in the Tea Party mold. Thus, Amash is not only out of step with Democrats, but also with conservative Republicans. Notoriously, he is the only Republican at present to support the impeachment of Donald Trump.
A recent exchange between five GOP Representatives working on a deal to bring a missile defense site to Fort Custer in Michigan and Justin Amash might provide insight where Amash stands regarding the powerful military-industrial complex.
The GOP Representatives highlighted figures showing the missile defense site could have an estimated $3.2 billion in economic impact, including 300 direct jobs and 1,800 support jobs; and Amash replied that the Defense Department is not a jobs program.
“It appears that Congressman Amash’s consistent opposition to all defense spending bills over the years was too much for the Pentagon to accept,” the statement from the five other members of Congress read. “It did not help and now they selected New York for the new missile defense site.”
Amash replied in a statement released Friday that “taxpayer dollars for defense should be used to boost American’s safety, not to boost politicians,” he said. “The Department of Defense is not a jobs program.” The Battlecreek Enquirer, June 28, 2019.
Perhaps Justin Amash is not leaving a political party but joining a growing number of equally disaffected voters who have no party affiliation. For clarification, citizens do not need to belong to a political party to be able to vote.
Unaffiliated voters are voting with their feet. They are registering their disdain for the current dysfunctional, bickering, do-nothing-productive two-party system that reflects the divisiveness we see in the general public. When so much focus is placed on the design of some (over-priced) sneakers, we are all in trouble.