on October 6, 2016 by in Golden News, Comments Off on Alcorn: Feeling all partied out

Alcorn: Feeling all partied out

I have only recently started to appreciate the degree to which smart people seem to be able to see around corners and into the future. For instance, if you go back a bit to a couple seasons of “The West Wing,” those writers had entire story lines related to candidates with hidden health issues and primary seasons that led to contentious conventions. Sound familiar?

Or, for instance, take the following quotes (slightly altered to fit the vernacular) from a famous American, and see if they don’t ring true today.

“One of the tools of Party to acquire power, on some issues, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other issue groups. You cannot guard yourselves too closely against the inflammatory nature of these lies.”

“But it is easy to predict that different issue groups will go to any length to convince you that the natural and beneficial sense of unity that binds our country and its people together, and the strength we derive from it, is an illusion.”

“The mischief of Party … serves always to distract public debate and weaken good government. It agitates the country with petty envy and alarmist extremism, stirs animosity of group against group, and breeds dissension and separatism. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.”

I cannot read those lines without shaking my head at the degree to which our country has walked into this trap of Party. In fact, my old friend Michael and I, whom I have written about before, have been bantering lately the idea of what it would take to break the power of the two major political parties. And, though we agree on almost nothing politically, we come together at the point of recognizing that party politics has left us in a dreadful mess as we approach the November election.

Consider that, according to public polling, neither Trump nor Hillary manage to crack the 50 percent mark on being suitable to be president. But, somehow, within the bifurcated camps that are the Democrats and the Republicans, these two managed to overwhelm the other aspirants for tribal leadership enough that, now, we, as a country, are stuck with two people, neither of whom most of us want to be sitting in the Oval Office.

And, as if presidential politics weren’t discouraging enough, consider that over the last six months, both Democrat factions and Republican factions within the Congress have blocked legislation that would have provided more resources for the Veterans’ Administration. Resources that might have, oh, I don’t know, staffed the suicide help hotline so that one in three vets who call in don’t have to wait on hold. Talk about “weakening good government.”

And you can’t even turn on football without being reminded that certain issue groups have made it a point to emphasize the ways in which we are not united.

You want to know what I find particularly sad about these prophecies? That the source of them was the one man who was strong enough to shepherd the country through its birth, to supervise its efforts to recreate a more perfect union, to bring into existence the forms of government that we have today, and who, then, walked away from power when he could have claimed it for life. He knew no Party –; he was simply American.

Of course, I’m talking about George Washington, who put all these verses together in his Farewell Address. Our very first President warned us of just what has come to pass today. 220 years ago, this wise and incorruptible man saw what we have become.

We’ve been warned: “The miseries which result eventually lead men to seek safety in the absolute power of one individual; and, sooner or later, the leader of one Party who is stronger than her or his opponents, will use this to seize everything, on the ruins of Public Liberty.”

Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His novels are available at MichaelJAlcorn.com

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