Monday, February 17, 2020

Presidents' Day 2020

Today marks the celebration of Presidents' Day.  Initially, a holiday in celebration of the birthday of President George Washington, the day has expanded to encompass the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, as well as a celebration in honor of all those who have served as president of the United States of America.

In our current day, where our leadership disappoints us, where the divisions of our country seem to be widening, it is encouraging to look back to the exemplary presidents of our past for wisdom and counsel.

It is traditional today for Washington's Farewell Address to be read and it's surprising how much it is still applicable to us today.  He pleas for unity and warns against partisan fighting.  He emphasizes the purpose and importance checks on political power.  He pushes for neutrality and free trade.

I've included an excerpt of text of his address below, with my emphasis added, as well as a bonus at the end.

"Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope, that my Country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man, who views it in the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers."

George Washington
United States - September 17, 1796

One last time.

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