Before leaving office as our nation’s first President, George Washington composed a Farewell Address to the people of the United States. He felt the need to impart his final thoughts regarding the future of the new nation. One of his foremost concerns was his belief that political parties would eventually divide and weaken the country. His words have proven to be a prophecy now playing out in today’s headlines.
What would Washington think if he could witness our current political climate? Political parties routinely incite discord among citizens in the hope of destroying the credibility and character of their opponents. Their goal is to further their own agendas. Politicians have forgotten that they were elected to represent the people — not the Democratic Party and not the Republican Party. Why then are we depending on partisan politicians to protect the legacy of America?
If the people of 1776 could commit to defeat the British Empire then it should be an easy task for the people of 2017 to take back the spirit of America that George Washington was so desperate to protect. Refuse to participate in the partisanship. Resolve to be respectful of opposing views. Reject the culture of hate and divisiveness and tone down the rhetoric.
On September 11, 2001 we put aside our differences and came together in an eruption of patriotism. For a brief moment, we remembered that there was something at stake larger than ourselves. Let us not wait for another national tragedy to remind us that Americans are made up of heart and compassion. Let us extend some of those qualities to each other.
Washington’s Farewell Address was filled with reminders of the fragility of freedom. It was apparent from his address that Washington was immensely proud of America and he encouraged pride and patriotism in others. In reading his words, I had the overwhelming sense that Washington wanted people to remember that “love of country” was the common thread that bound us all.
Each generation passes down the legacy of this great country to the next. Given that so much blood has been shed to preserve our freedom, that is a tremendous responsibility. We must wake up and remember that America was designed to function as a Union. Do not let this be the generation that allows America to go down in history as a failed experiment.
Reference: Senate Document No. 106-21 – Washington’s Farewell Address