Father of Our Country
The phrase “father of our country” brings to mind strong and vivid imagery and could not be a more applicable analogy in the case of our first president. For a son, a father is the template and guide to how he learns to be a man, for better or for worse. For a daughter, her father teaches how vital her existence is to making the world a better place.
Just as easily, a bad father can do more damage to tear down the values and confidence of the family than any other influence.
George Washington set the example of selfless sacrifice for what a public servant ought to be and set into motion a standard to the world for generations to come. By declining the title of King and limiting his service to two terms, Washington’s self-imposed limitations have been the reigns on tyranny for centuries.
“The Constitution Is the Guide, Which I Never Will Abandon”
Although Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention, his role in defining the Constitution was never more influential than it was as his time as president of the United States. His example and his conservative interpretation of the newly crafted document set the tone for how future presidents would execute the duties of the office.
“The powers of the Executive of the United States,” wrote Washington in mid-1794, “are more definite, and better understood perhaps than those of almost any other Country; and my aim has been, and will continue to be, neither to stretch, nor relax from them in any instance whatever, unless imperious circumstances should render the measure indispensible."
Many secularists today attempt to paint Washington as an irreligious man who wanted there to be no relationship between the state and religion and call into question his own Christianity. George Washington's adopted daughter declared, “one might as well question Washington's patriotism as question his Christianity.”
The Father of our country set the standard that there be no litmus test to a man’s faith when it comes to public office as well as declaring their protection under the law regardless of what their faith may or may not be when he said:
“In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.”
As the first president of our nation, Washington may very well be the only president who was ever completely above party politics. This election cycle, “party politics” and “party loyalty” have come front and center as voters have turned from the establishment to “outsiders” such as Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Washington understood the value in the party but also could see how it could devolve and get out of control quickly. His farewell address in 1796 said as much.
“Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party generally.... A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”
Wisdom for the Ages
Washington’s example is enduring to this day, and his wisdom saw through time. His conservative approach to leading a nation still sets a standard that our future leaders can rely on to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
"If to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterwards defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The rest is in the hands of God."
Featured Image: George Washington, Father of Our Country and First President of the United States