All those voting in the mid-term election next week (that’s everyone, right?) should take some time and read George Washington’s Farewell Address. Wikipedia also has a synopsis of the Address if your literacy skills are inadequate.
It’s amusing and disconcerting to note that practically all of Washington’s advice has been ignored. He advises against political parties: We’ve got ‘em in spades. He advises against public debt: Uh, yeah, blew that one too. He advises against favoritism toward other nations: We’ve got Israel and Great Britain. He advises against frivolous Constitutional amendments: We had Prohibition and we’re trying to a Marriage amendment. He even advises that the morality of religion should influence government… so of course we went with separation of church and state.
Buy hey, what does George know? He was a doddering old man when he wrote that crazy stuff (with help from James Madison and Alexander Hamilton).
I read somewhere that one Senator every year reads Washington’s Farewell Address aloud on the Senate floor. (The House apparently stopped the practice in the supremely ironic year of 1984.) I think that should be televised for the whole country to hear. I also think every president should be required to publish a farewell address with advice for the coming generations. (Not in the form of a best-selling memoir.)