George Washington, Donald Trump, and a Christmas Wish
All I want for Christmas is my country back.
No, I don’t expect Santa Claus to restore sovereignty to the American people. I don’t believe in fairy tales told by politicians.
But this Christmas season maybe we can learn a lesson from the early Christians and from Jesus Christ himself that some things are worth fighting for — not necessarily with swords (or guns) but with ideas, with moral certainty and with faith. It’s worth remembering, too, that the Jewish people were looking for a messiah not to save their souls, but to restore their country — to raise up Israel to its former greatness.
I suppose today someone would have accused the Jews of Jesus’ time of being “nationalists” (the “chosen people” indeed!) or xenophobic racists (why not call the Roman invaders something more soothing, like “economic migrants” or “displaced peoples”?), but let’s not quibble over semantics. We can all agree that the Jesus whose birth the world celebrates this week did not go along to get along; he did not practice “political correctness”; and he did not hesitate to claim the mantle of David as he sought to Make Israel Great Again.
In America, the equivalent of King David would be George Washington, the first president. But oddly enough, Washington is also the equivalent of Jesus, as they were both leaders of a small band of revolutionaries who wanted to change the world for the better. It is therefore doubly important for Americans to consult the wisdom of President Washington as we navigate the treacherous political waters of the 21st century.
In his Farewell Address of 1796, Washington laid out the principles he believed would keep America strong and that — if followed today — could make America great. Of course, some people will deny that America needs to be restored to greatness today, but if so, let them explain why we have fallen so far short of Washington’s prescription for the blessings of liberty.
“Unity of government,” he said, “… is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that liberty which you so highly prize.”
Washington warned that this unity will be under constant attack by both “internal and external enemies,” and that we should watch “for its preservation with jealous anxiety, discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest.”
Can we not agree that today there are dangerous forces at work that violate this principle — that intentionally and with dark purpose do indeed seek to alienate us from one another? Washington spoke, in addition, of the legitimate threat to our republic that was represented by unregulated human nature (or as he described it, “that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart”).
He warned of “a small but artful and enterprising minority” who may work “under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities.” I don’t know of any better definition of the Deep State fighting against President Trump, except perhaps for the one described in Washington’s next paragraph when he speaks of political factions as “potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
If we still valued “unity of government,” then all of us would be in agreement that the Mueller investigation, and the rogue FBI and intelligence operations that led to it, are blatant examples of how cunning and ambitious people without principles can seek to “usurp the reins of government” for their own unjust purposes.
It should also be noted that Washington warned the nation to “resist with care the spirit of innovation upon [the] principles” enshrined in the Constitution. “One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown.”
We have already seen savage “improvements” made in the Constitution that put at risk the perfect balance envisioned by the Founding Fathers between the states and the federal government. Chief among those was the 17th Amendment, which did away with the provision whereby each state had direct involvement in the federal government through the representation of its selected senators, who were answerable to the state legislature. Today, those who don’t understand the genius of the Founders want to cause further mayhem by doing away with the Electoral College, leading inevitably to a single-party dominance in the presidency that would tear our country apart.
Washington’s warning against factions has played itself out to the point where Americans no longer share a common bond of patriotic fervor, but instead succumb to a partisan fever that “agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection.” You only need to watch CNN for any single hour during the day to recognize the false alarms and the animosity that imperil our government, and the eternal threat of unjust impeachment under which Trump lives is nothing less than a form of insurrection against the presidency no different in intent from that which Lincoln faced when he took office.
Finally, before taking leave of the sanity of 1796 and returning to our own dangerous redoubt in 2018, we should also acknowledge Washington’s caution regarding foreign relations, and how closely it aligns with President Trump’s “America First” policy.
“The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave,” said Washington. “It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.”
President Trump likewise has asked why our nation benefits from ongoing hostilities with Russia, North Korea and China. He has also riled up the globalists among us with his decision to withdraw our troops from Syria rather than commit them to a century of war, which would no doubt be necessary if our mission is to remain there until such time as peace has been restored.
It may be hard for the brilliant minds at MSNBC and CNN to understand it, but a sober reading of Washington’s Farewell Address shows clearly that President Trump is in closer alignment with Washington’s admonitions than any other recent president.