- - Sunday, November 6, 2016

George Washington was first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen, a soldier remembered as uniquely inspiring to the men who went through hell with him at Valley Forge. Washington is not particularly remembered as a political scientist, but early on he recognized what may yet be the fatal flaw in the American political system.

He recognized the blind partisanship born of the party system, and we see it writ large in the presidential election campaign coming to a merciful end on Tuesday. He foresaw with remarkable clarity and prescience how organized factions could come together to obstruct the execution of the laws enacted by Congress, and how this would effectively override the Constitutional separation of powers of the executive, congressional and judicial branches of the government.

He must have had a prophetic dream about the coming of someone named Hillary Clinton, when, late in life, he wrote that “however [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

We rarely elect presidents now who can write with such insight, precision and eloquence about what we are capable of doing, and have done, to ourselves. Washington, like others of the founding fathers, spoke with an abhorrence of mincing words. Mincing was not thought manly.

Washington understood, as many Americans do not, that political parties are organized as if to promote graft, greed and corruption, leading inexorably to putting party above country. How else to explain the Clintons? Even an abridged catalog of Hillary’s high crimes and misdemeanors would lead reasonable Democrats to see them as they are, petty thieves grown fat and sassy with corruption of the public trust. But voters with excessive loyalty to party granted both of them access to the means of exploiting the White House.

Hillary Clinton’s record as secretary of State is more than enough to send her to prison, but the public, seduced by the rewards of partisan politics, is unable to see what George Washington said would happen to an unwary electorate. Hillary used her position at the State Department to sell favors, influence and even the nation’s resources and security secrets in a brazen pay-to-play scheme to enrich the Clinton family. Anyone who can read or watch a talking head on television knows by now the particulars, but millions have bought the notion that “what difference, at this point, does it make?”

Hillary showed her character long ago, from stealing furniture and furnishings on her way out of the White House to trading access to defense secrets and even the nation’s uranium reserves in return for millions of dollars in contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Bubba mostly left the heavy lifting to Hillary and concentrated on satisfying cheap lusts with the White House help.

George Washington, like a modern prophet, was concerned with the damage that loyalty to party above country would inflict in a time far beyond his own. The alternate domination of one political party over another, he said, would enable one party enjoying temporary control of the government to use that power to exact revenge on the other at the expense of the country.

This tendency toward atrocities directed at the party out of power, he said, “is itself a frightful despotism. But it leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.”

Americans must take Washington with them Tuesday to their voting places.

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