The Parthenon

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EDITORIAL: Modern America is George Washington’s worst nightmare

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“But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.”

This line in George Washington’s Farewell Address is shocking and distressing. It seems as if Washington was writing this in 2018, rather than in 1796. As the first president of the nation, as a founder and framer of the American government, he was warning against what he felt would destroy the nation, what is happening now.

At the time, Republicans and Federalists were already laying manifest a polarizing political atmosphere, and to this day, as the government shuts down over partisan disagreements, and name-calling screams throughout the capitol, it is clear that this fury of party spirit, this polarization has only widened, into something of a nation very much divided. Washington said, “it is that your union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty…(partisan misrepresentations) tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.” Washington would be greatly distressed by the current political atmosphere, and all of the United States should be, too.

Since 2016, Russia has been in headlines, as talks of collusion with Trump grow more and more possible. Regardless of this collusion, it is clear and fact that the Russian government interfered in the United States presidential election, something that should shake us to our core. They favored one candidate over the other, and their preferred candidate won. The “mischiefs of foreign intrigue” that George Washington warned about has been something that has slipped through the cracks of democracy and is something that could certainly undermine the foundation of our nation.

“To guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism”—this line only brings to mind one name: Donald Trump, who is putting America first, making America great again, a trust fund kid fighting for our coal miners and a draft dodger defending veterans. Sometimes, he even mentions God. Essentially, Donald Trump has run a con artist’s dream scheme by becoming elected. He used trigger words and false fears, pandering to sensibilities of American people. Don’t dare kneel at the national anthem in protest—that disrespects the veterans who fought for that right. The media is fake and spews lies, because they hold him accountable. He has put on an act in an effort to feed his ego and attain power.

The mere fact that he dodged the draft during Vietnam would lead him to be despised and untrusted by George Washington himself, and Alexander Hamilton would have a multitude of words about this man. Donald Trump is no patriot. He is an egotistical, angry man who plays the part, cooing to people he doesn’t know. He understands nothing about the Constitution, about the public service or government. He is a selfish, greedy despot who tricked his way into the White House.

It is sad and scary to read the words of George Washington and to compare them with the words of our current president. Washington really did believe in this country and really hoped and dreamed it would be a prosperous land. But all his greatest fears have come true, and America has to do something now to fix it.

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