Sunday, February 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

Today marks the 277th birthday of George Washington. In recent decades, Washington's prominence among our top Presidents has declined in favor or Lincoln. Of course, both men had a decisive influence on the Union as we know it. But as Lincoln himself believed, no one was more indispensable than Washington in shaping the American nation.

Through the harrowing years of Revolution, Washington alone embodied the nation that had, as yet, no constitution or permanent government. Washington created, maintained and led the army without which the Revolution would most certainly have failed. Without Washington's support, there would have been no Constitutional Convention and no Constitution. Without his steady leadership and keen foresight as the first President, the infant nation might have quickly disintegrated. Without his determination to quit that leadership and pass it along, there might easily have been either a benign dictatorship or renewed internal struggle.

It's a shame that we no longer celebrate him or Lincoln but merely mark a President's Day that is mainly an excuse for a school holiday and car dealer "salathons." At least, though, we can remember him.

Any thoughts? Post a comment.

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