“[Partisanship] serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection... [Parties] are likely … 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.” That’s from President George Washington’s farewell address. In this context, the word “partisanship” means “political parties.” The quote can be parsed as follows: 1) political parties breed factionalism and divisiveness; 2) foreign powers meddle in domestic affairs when political parties ally with them; and 3) parties intensify regional mistrust and animosity. Look around and what do you see? 1. The two American parties are at each other’s throats and polarizing the country. The government is mired in stalemate and controversy; the traditional accoutrements of democratic government have been butchered; there is no room for compromise; the country teeters on a civil war. 2. The parties accuse one another of colluding with foreign governments to influence elections, spread dissent, and undermine the republic. One party is shredding trust in traditional alliances and mutual defense pacts, while favoring old adversaries. 3. Americans in one state or region have always mistrusted the political and economic intentions of other states or regions. And now, Southerners despise northerners, people in the northeast and along the west coast are labelled snooty elites, rural people have no use for urbanites, the races barely tolerate one another, and immigrants are accused of wicked acts. Can we save ourselves? No. I fear we have passed the tipping point. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.