Tuesday, February 22, 2011

George Washington, Still Right and Upright

It's George Washington's birthday again,
the father of our country, a term he
richly deserves. All in all, he was our
best President, even above Lincoln and
FDR. (Did you know his will directed
wife Martha to free their slaves, while
Jefferson did no such thing?) He comported
himself admirably, always aware he was
setting precedent, an Enlightenment exponent
if there ever was one, even besting the
wordier Benjamin Franklin in certain respects.

Washington thought highly of Alexander Hamilton's
intelligence and authorship, having Hamilton
write many of his speeches. But the essay
warning of "entangling alliances" was Washington
at his most experienced and heartfelt best.
What has history shown since? That trade,
travel and imperialism gone wild has given
the U.S. and the rest of Earth a world of trouble.

Examples abound, but currently, the U.K. is seriously
rethinking its ties to Libya, as Libya has just killed
a number of its own protesters. (Moamar Ghaddafi isn't
as kind as other dictators in his region.) Pirates
recently killed four Americans on their yacht near
Oman. Three years ago, the news was awash with reports
that our "friend/trading partner" China sent us
contaminated baby bibs, pet food,wood, ad infinitum.
Every instance of these negative international interactions
reminds me of Honest George and his farewell speech.
There's a sensible balance between isolationism and
world travel/babble run amok. Looking toward a more
sane world, it behooves us to find it.

George Washington: still right, ever upright, an
example all in public life should periodically
recur to.

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