History Tells Us…

My colleague mentioned how he wanted to share George Washington’s Farewell Address with his 11th grade English class because Washington placed some warnings in his address that we are witnessing right now. This piqued my interest as I never have closely read the address; it is lengthy and not my type of reading, but I was very interested in Washington’s warnings when it came to political parties.

Washington was in pain and did not want to seek another term. He resigned from the presidency, but before he left the highest office in the United States, he had James Madison and Alexander Hamilton help him draft the speech. Washington asked that people put their selfish needs aside and come together in unity. He said, “Your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty and…the love of the one ought to endear you to the preservation of the other.” Together as one…together we’re free.

Although the government was young and Washington was the first president, he could see some demons surrounding political parties – maybe not 200 years into the future – but some insight from his critics. Whatever the case may have been, one of Washington’s warnings was the loyalty of a political party over the nation was dangerous. Washington called voting according to loyalty of a particular political party rather than the common interest of the nation leads to a “spirit of revenge” and the rise of “cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men” who would “usurp themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

Hmm. This sounds familiar. Washington understood the hearts of men who didn’t think about the needs of the American people. Now, I know during this time, slavery was in existence and slaves were not considered men or women, but now that we are beyond that awful era, Washington’s words echo clear in 2020, especially what Trump is doing and not doing after the election.

Another pertinent warning Washington provided in his speech is entanglements with foreign governments. He believed that the United States needed to be on good terms with foreign nations, especially being neutral in their affairs; however, he believed that if the United States’ officials and political parties access “foreign influence and corruption.”

What I believe is that Washington’s words are manifesting themselves in the Republican party at this moment. I’m not saying that Democrats are innocent, but currently, in our lives, Washington’s warnings have not been heeded by our government. To be honest with you, I believe that Trump will want to create his own political party and create a second Civil War in this country.

However, I am hoping that the temper tantrums will cease and that some Republican official will open his or her eyes and say “Wait a minute! We are wasting money and time! We need to move forward.” Or, maybe a psychiatrist will say, “Seriously, Trump is sick. He exhibits the signs of (fill in the blank).”

I heard on the news that Biden isn’t worried about Trump. He is taking the high road. He’s not getting distracted by the “sore loser” tendency Trump is emitting. I don’t know if you noticed, but while Trump is self-absorbed in losing a suing states, COVID has immersed Americans and mobile morgues are back!

So, what is important? Pacifying a grown man who disregards American policies set up by the Founding Fathers? Or, trying to save our nation from the deadliest disease this world has ever seen to get our Americans back to work?

Revenge is not good, as Washington mentioned in his speech. The rise of unprincipled men (and women) is causing our country to look weak. I am not sure if Trump wants to resemble Putin, but his cronies are elevating him to a dangerous point of dictatorship.

Anyway, I found the speech interesting and a bit frightening. Hopefully those who read this will spread Washington’s warnings.

Author: L.S. Watson

Hi. My name is L.S. Watson, and I'm an English teacher at a charter high school. I enjoy traveling (my favorite places are Rome and Paris), writing poetry, and watching documentaries. I have a lovable yet stubborn Yorkie-Poo named Chuy.

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