today we celebrate George Washington's birthday...it's really the twenty-second day of February...but America chose to annually commemorate the day on the third Monday in February, and so this is where we begin the day.
And to that end, we go to Washington's Farewell Address.
The speech, was actually never spoken in front of a grand crowd. It was published after a collaboration of thoughts and remarks and drafts, covering a span of a number of years -- the gist of it beginning from what was intended to be a retirement speech, after his first term as president, with much of it provided by James Madison. This final, now famous, Farewell Address, was first printed in The Independent Chronicle of Philadelphia.
Can you just imagine having cohorts of the caliber of Alexander Hamilton and John Jay and James Madison critiquing and revising every word, every phrase, every patriotic thought, into what became a final draft? Makes me speechless just thinking about it.
just love this part...regarding the Constitution....
But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.
This not only depicts the natural integrity of character in George through and through, it also characterizes just how America got here.
It's called a collaboration of unconscionable highs and lows of bad governance, spanning a century.
In the next breath, he calls upon us to recognize....
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.
It is not my intention to say very much today; I mean, c'mon, as if this girl could compete.
It is my intention to direct you to the Farewell Address to read in full, and take it all in on your own time. Start and stop HERE, courtesy of The Avalon Project, Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy at Yale.
Here's, however, how 'Geo. Washington' finishes, just because he is so so good and it sounds oh so sweet, humility dripping from a fountain of devotion to our beautiful country, America...
Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.
Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.In it's entirety, the Address clearly documents a time and a level of acumen unimaginable and great.
Certainly, considering this day and this age, it distinguishes a level of free governing and civic duty and moral character in the abstract today...case in point, the cast of characters we get to decide on becoming the next president of the United States, but I digress.
Oh how Geo. must be rolling in his grave to watch this spectacle --
- to observe a free and limited Republic turn more and more into an Oligarchy of the State, fully dependent upon destroying every Independence from birth
- to observe a governing class brazenly usurp Nature's Law, where the origins of where true liberty of a free people, under God and the Rule of Law, begin
- all the while, at every turn of an administration, turn the very pursuit of Happiness into a bureaucratic minefield.
Shame on us.
Sure, it may be a happy holiday, but in reality, it's just another sad day in America.
Make it a Good Day, G