“Four score and seven years ago our fathers
brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty…”
The opening words of the Gettysburg Address. Words we are all familiar with, having read them early in our educational system… I recall memorizing them in the 6th grade.
But who among us is familiar with the Farewell Address of George Washington? Who has read it? No one has memorized it, most likely, no portion of the Farewell Address is memorized in our public school system.
I read the Farewell Address for the first time this morning. I will be 72 in July.
“…truly enlightened and independent patriot.” We don’t have many of these Americans around today.
“I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy…” Trump Blew a HOLE in that maxim…
But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of
his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.
It agitates the community with ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions—by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained—and by exciting jealousy, ill will, and a disposition to retaliate in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.
Though in reviewing the incidents of my administration I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.