February 22, 2012

According to Joseph Kallow of the Hoover Institute most, if not all, of the public school history textbooks do not mention that February 22, 1732 was the day on which our first President was born. In fact, the accepted 11th grade textbook on American History in the schools of Massachusetts, Maryland and California, devote less than one single page to the Father of our Country.

Back in 1981, when Ronald Reagan was strongly objecting to having a national holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr, his mere objection was to the fact that we would have a holiday the leader for civil rights rather than the Father of our Constitutional Rights. He, of course, was referring to George Washington.

Our first president was born on this day 280 years ago and the only mention he gets these days, other than on Conservative Talk Radio and Fox News, is a shared day with Abraham Lincoln. And then it is only called "President's Day."

My grandson informed me this past weekend that he is out of school Monday because the schools are closed in observance of President's Day. When I asked if he knew which Presidents share the day, Chandler, all of ten years of age said, "well there was Abraham Lincoln, William Harrison, and Ronald Reagan. Yep, these three were born in February and around the same time, although Reagan's was the 6th and Harrison the 9th, but he left out George Washington!

"Oh yeah, George Washington, he was the first President and he owned a lot of slaves."

Bingo! Welcome to the world of 21st century public school history class.

George Washington owned slaves, was a general in a war in which many people were killed to start a nation that would allow people to own slaves, have huge plantations with lots of money and helped lead of group of old men to write a document which left out the right for women to vote, and gave men the right to own guns and use them to protect their property (among many other negative notations).

I have an idea for the far-left National Education Association and the American Teacher's Association,...let's get real! Let's truly talk history!

Since the birth of the Progressive Era -- celebrating 100 years of victory this November -- "real" history, as it pertains to the Founders, has been treated with less time and more negativity.  Even since I was in High School (early 70's) the number of pages documenting actual facts, from the first permanent settlement in Jamestown, VA thru the Civil War (viz. War of Northern Aggression) has declined nearly 90 percent and what remains of the teaching from those periods often highlights the fractured nature and chaos between the slave and non-slave holding states.

Gone, are the accounts of how a weak conglomerate of colonies were able to ban together with the help of the French allies to defeat the most powerful nation on earth at the time. Gone are the glimpses of how Washington was able to take a group of untrained and ill-prepared soldiers and march through some of the roughest of battles for over seven years.

We don't read about Washington's ability to moderate through the debates in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 to bring about a wonderful consensus and a masterpiece that gave birth to the strongest Republic known to man.

There is only the slightest mention of his years as President and certainly no teachings from his famous Farewell Address, a speech I would like to quote from at this juncture.  The purpose for my bringing this to your attention is to highlight just of brilliant this man was and how close to a prophet he proves to have been -- in the light of our partisan bickering and certain losses of our freedoms and individualities.

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it 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 very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching 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, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

From these three paragraphs alone we have all the reasons in the world to declare this February 22 to be the Birthday of Our Founding Father # 1. If only the people controlling the government today would take a step back an analyze these words!

In summary, here is what President Washington wants us to know today:

  • Unity of government is important to the citizens of the United States because unity supports our independence, peace, safety, prosperity and liberty.
  • I can foresee, however, that many will employ mistruths, often covertly and insidiously, to weaken our conviction to preserving national unity.
  • It is of the utmost importance that we properly estimate the value of our national union, and develop the unwavering habit of preserving it; moreover, our collective efforts to do so should always be cordial.
  • We should disapprove of – to the point of embarrassing – those who would even suggest national unity is not necessary, or that any portion of our country or its citizens can be alienated from the rest.
  • Some will attempt to undermine our national unity by misrepresenting the opinions and goals of others; this is something from which you cannot shield yourself too much, as these misrepresentations will make us feel alien to one another, when instead we should be fostering feelings of fraternal affection.
  • The alternate domination of one party over another, especially when sharpened by the spirit of revenge, is itself a frightful form of despotism, which gradually leads to a more formal and permanent despotism.
  • This despotism leads citizens to seek security by granting individuals absolute power; but leaders who would accept such power are only interested in elevating themselves at the expense of public liberty.

Will these thoughts ever be conveyed to the kids in our public schools today? Nope! Neither will they be read, spoken of, or thought about, by those who hold the reins on our country today.

Regardless of all the nonsense and with sincere apologies for the subtle demise of a nation you helped to found, we wish you a very Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.