President Trump paid tribute to George Washington when he recently delivered the 2020 convocation speech at West Point. While congratulating the cadet graduates and reminding the world of the success of his defense modernization program that gives the U.S. unchallenged superiority, Trump missed an opportunity to mention that Washington’s “Farewell Address” was a warning to the nation that America’s greatest threat would be internal, rather than external military incursions.
Prophetic in nature, the Farewell Address so gripped the American people at the time that it was read and reprinted more than the Declaration of Independence. It was a penetrating articulation of three sources of peril to freedom and the republican form of American democracy that citizens needed to guard against:
- the failure of institutions to keep people informed and enlightened
- the problems of party factions and hyper-partisanship
- the decline of religious obligation and national morality
The recent urban chaos and violence reminds us how dangerous mobs can be and how critically important it is to have crowd control through appropriate and effective National Guard, police, and law enforcement action. But what people really need to realize is that the devastation to cities and property in urban areas across the country is not a bad dream, but rather a glimpse of what America’s internal enemies want for the whole country.
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