published Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Honor George Washington

No day is more suitable than today for reflecting on the greatness of our first president, George Washington. He was born on this date in 1732.

Nearly three centuries later, we marvel at his wise and stalwart guidance during the American Revolution and in the formative years of our United States of America.

Washington's leadership was vital in throwing off the yoke of British tyranny and establishing the greatest, freest, richest country the world has ever known.

But Gen. Washington was not only "first in war" but also "first in peace" and "first in the hearts of his countrymen."

Unwilling to establish anything akin to a monarchy in the United States, Washington declined to serve more than two terms as president. While more terms of service by a president of Washington's stature and goodness might have seemed desirable in the short term, he surely knew that unlimited terms could become a curse on the nation if a power-hungry president took office.

The custom of presidents being elected to serve only two terms was wisely upheld voluntarily for more than a century. Then Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected four times, in 1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944. He died in office in 1945.

Prudently, in 1951, the 22nd Amendment to our Constitution was ratified, so today, no one may be elected to the presidency more than twice.

As we remember Washington's legacy, it is important for us to examine our modern United States of America and consider whether we are living up to the lofty principles that our Founding Fathers established—principles that made this the finest country in history.

Would Washington embrace today's reckless government spending, which makes a mockery of our Constitution's clear limits on federal authority? Even allowing for inflation over the centuries, would he find it conceivable that the United States has amassed a $14 trillion debt—with trillions more on the way? Would he accept the fact that much of our debt is owed to foreign nations?

Would he approve of federal dictation in medical care, in education and in many other things that the Constitution left to the states or the people—and prohibited to the federal government?

Wouldn't he instead be shocked upon seeing our government's assumption of so much power in almost every area of our lives. Wouldn't he plead with President Barack Obama and our Congress to restore respect for the Constitution's limitations on government authority?

Our hearts swell with pride as we remember George Washington. But we can best honor his memory by upholding the principles that he and our Constitution helped establish.

As for Washington himself, consider some remarks by another great American, Abraham Lincoln, in 1842 on the 110th anniversary of Washington's birth: "On that name a eulogy is expected. It cannot be. To add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked, deathless splendor, leave it shining on."

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Francis said...

george washington to barack obama.....my how the standards have been lowered.

if obama had to set the precedent, we would have been subjected to a long line of dictators,monarchs or some sort of authoritarian, and the constitution would be whatever it needed to be in order for the person at the top to maintain power.

February 22, 2011 at 7:48 a.m.
holdout said...

I'm not sure that breaking away from our King was a good idea. It was certainly illegal. We were a part of the largest Empire that the world had ever seen and threw it aside. Of course now that the PM is running Great Britain and the Queen is only a figurehead I wouldn't want to go back. You know when Prince Harry becomes King he might just decide to send the Royal Navy to take Massachusetts back.

February 22, 2011 at 8:31 a.m.
Francis said...

holdout, we may not officially be under a monarchy, but we have a president and first lady who think they're king and queen. does that count?

February 22, 2011 at 10:50 a.m.
holdout said...

God save the king!

February 24, 2011 at 8:57 a.m.
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