Friday, February 10, 2017

Does U.S. Senate follow advice it honors?

Every year, the U.S. Senate has a member read George Washington’s Farewell Address.  For more details of this, see

It is a slog for many of us today to read the Address in its entirety, but it has much that has been ignored, even by those who read it.  For example,
"Hence likewise they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establish-ments, which under any form of government are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."
Or, very germane to the current Senate:
"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful 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.”
Have the many Republican Senators who have read the Farewell Address already forgotten:
"It is important, likewise, that the habits of think-ing in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another.  The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism."
There is much to agree with and some to disagree with, but the main thrust should be a guide for all of us.  What bothers me is how much those who annually read and listen to the reading of this document soon ignore it.

I ask my readers to select a few key points and write, email, or phone their two Senators if they are honestly following these points or have compelling reasons in the public interest to ignore some of Washington’s advice.

For the text, see

See also "Did George Washington warn us about Donald Trump".