As the government shut down grinds along, I am reminded of a stern warning about party politics. It was issued in 1796. It came from our greatest national hero and first president, George Washington.

As Washington readied himself to exit public life he wrote a farewell address in which he wrote, “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. 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.”

How prophetic Washington was. Public liberty has been ruined in the last generation from party politics. We are not free. We are at the mercy of the whims of two political parties who are bent on not giving in to the other. The public good and the good of the nation come second to politicians saving face and standing up to the other party. 

Our president is no better. He says he will take the mantle for the shutdown and now wants to blame Democrats for it. When we do what is best for Americans and not for political parties we will make America great again. Until then we are stuck living under the “frightful despotism” that Washington warned against. 

Maybe in another 223 years we will listen to our greatest American and heed the warnings and advice of those who made this nation that we are currently trying to destroy. 

—Mike LaMarra