George Washington warned us (sort of) about this election


I am not sure how many social studies’ lesson plans have been torched by this year’s presidential race, but Washington Post columnist Stuart Rothenberg has a pretty good, not-from-the-textbook summary of the current, raging battle for the free world’s most important office.

“This election has gone from unusual to unexpected to surprising to odd to strange to weird to bizarre,” which is where we now find ourselves,” he writes, predicting that the next few weeks before Election Day will be “indescribable.”

It should be difficult for either Clinton or Trump supporters to argue with that summation and prediction, although I am sure many will. It’s the nature of the political divisiveness that has made our country’s basic civic exercise so uncivil.

In his farewell address in 1796, George Washington warned against the “common and continual mischiefs” of partisanship, but I doubt that Washington had any idea just how bad those “mischiefs” would become, even to the point of paralyzing government in the national capital that now bears his name.

He couldn’t have predicted either that a woman would ever be a major party’s nominee for the nation’s top office, that she would be eminently more qualified for the office than her chief male rival – or that she would be so vilified by a large chunk of Americans for a laundry’s list of reasons, some deserved but many driven by sheer partisanship, sexism or conspiratorial imaginations.

Elections are about choices, and seldom is any choice perfect. But there are numerous reasons for supporting Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, the basic reason being competence for high office. TSTA and the National Education Association are supporting Clinton because she is the only candidate running for president who has a grasp of the needs of public schools, students and educators. She will promote public education, not demonize or privatize it.

Public education is an afterthought for Trump. About the only thing he has said about public schools is to propose the diversion of education tax dollars for private school vouchers. And he is a horrible role model for children, unless the schoolyard bully is your idea of world leadership.

In the column linked below, Rothenberg writes: “Republicans hate Clinton so much that they are willing to embrace a populist snake oil salesman who is proud he hasn’t paid his taxes, rarely (if ever) sounds thoughtful, knowledgeable or intelligent, and goes on 3 a.m. tweet binges to avenge past slights. And oh, yes, he uses his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits and to purchase a huge painting of himself. Intelligent conservatives have recoiled from Trump, wisely noting that he is a narcissist with no ideology.”

Unfortunately, not everyone willing to risk the country’s future on this snake oil salesman is a Republican. Too bad George Washington couldn’t warn us about him.







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