36. George

When I think about the beginning of our country and the Founding Generation, I see them more inclusively than some; I see the famous and the not-so-famous; I see the everyday people who suffered and risked their lives along with those of higher profiles; I see all of those who made major sacrifices so we (the Americans of their future) could live lives of liberty and live those lives in freedom.

I can't think about the Founding Generation and not think about our first and most important President, George Washington. As a General of a fledgling army, he pulled a bunch of individual militia units together and over time created the unified Continental army. This was a slow and painstaking process. He was creating an army from scratch! He then took on, and defeated, the best-equipped and most well-trained army in the world. He was not experienced enough to do this, of course, but no one in the colonies was. Washington had to figure things out as he went along. Despite some shortcomings, he was an outstanding leader! I don't know if he was the best choice, but he certainly was the obvious choice for our first President, as he was the one person the entire country looked up to and trusted.

Washington was trustworthy, not only because of what he did, but because of what he didn't do. As a General, he didn't rush into battle, he waited until things were favorable. He saw death and destruction all around and knew if he made a big enough mistake everything could be lost--everything! He was careful with his choices; he was careful with his men's lives. He didn't see war as an opportunity to profit himself or his cronies. As a General, he was in a position at the end of the war to do whatever he wanted. His men believed in him and they would have followed him in any undertaking. With all of the various revolutions going on in the world throughout 2014, I can't help but wonder if any one of them has a George Washington to see them through their revolution? Washington was elected our first President because he chose to not become a dictator. At the end of the war--he stepped down, when he could have taken over! Can you imagine any one of these greedy, selfish, self-important, self-absorbed, top 1% supporting politicians we elect to have the character to step down for the good of the country, for the good of our collective future? In stepping down as a General, George Washington showed by his actions he was a leader and worthy of everyone's trust. This is our beginning, this is our legacy from him. This is our heritage, this is our stability and this is our common decency.

originally posted October 2014
reposted March 2018

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