Friday, April 22, 2011

What would George Washington say?

            “The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.”                                     George Washington

            “I wish I could ask George exactly what he meant by this quote,” I mused out loud.

            My father nodded. “It seems self-explanatory on the surface, but there is something deeper underneath.”

            “I have often wondered why the American people put up with their inept government misusing huge amounts of tax money. Why do people think the government is more qualified to spend their money than they are?”

            “There’s power in having that much money, so the government isn’t likely to cut back on their spending. Our only hope is to elect a congress that understands basic economics and is incorruptible.”

            “Funny one, Dad.” We smiled at each other a bit wistfully.
            “Of course the question is whether the people are truly patient, or if they are sheep willing to be led by the government. I’m afraid that Washington assessed his fellow citizens more kindly than I do. Do you know that a friend told me that she didn’t pay any taxes this year because she got a refund? That’s intolerable stupidity!”

            “Those are your education tax dollars at work,” he answered.

            I had to agree. “The sad part is that she is a public school teacher. That’s just scary.”

            “Do you think that the Constitution is going to last another 200 years?”

            “I wish I could say yes, but I fear that we’re going to see a Socialist form of government take over in the near future. It has already begun. The bailout of the banks and the auto manufacturers are clear signs that the American government has substantially veered from the course of our representative Republic. And then there's Obama-care, the latest in socialized medicine.”

            “What do you think Washington would have to say if he were alive today?” my Dad asked me.

            “I wish I knew,” I replied. “I think he’d be sad. What do you think?”

            “I think he’d say that freedom is worth fighting for, and that the American people need to get their act together before they lose their hard-won freedom.”

            “And he’d be right,” I agreed.

            “Besides, there is hope for the future. Look at the two fine young men you have raised. It’ll be their turn soon, and you have given them the tools they need to make a difference in the world. They are educated, well-traveled, and thoughtful. They’re what this country needs.”

            “That’s a big burden for the next generation.” I sighed. “I wish we hadn’t given them so much to overcome.”

            “Don’t forget that Washington also said, ‘Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth’."

            “I hope you and Washington are right, Dad. You know me, though. The glass is always half empty to me.”

            “I think you should do what you can to teach your students about freedom and liberty, and try to see the glass as half full. You are part of the solution, too.”

            “You’re awesome, Dad.”

            He laughed. “I try.”