Recognizing that it can never happen, wouldn’t it be phenomenal to hear the reaction of President George Washington if he could return and share his opinion about the current policies of the United States government? As a strong admirer of our Founding Fathers and a passionate supporter of our Constitution, I would be intrigued to hear Washington’s views regarding just what is going on in our government today.
When Washington completed his second term as President, he addressed an open letter to the American people on September 19, 1796, which I find to be most interesting and significant to our governance some 213 years later. Here is an excerpt:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
‘Tis substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?”
Your Commander believes Washington’s thoughtful words have equal applicability to our government today as they did back in 1796. I suspect that were a President to speak those words today he would be vehemently attacked by many, especially the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorneys. One must wonder if we have progressed over these many years, or have we slipped backwards into a society of uncivil discourse with almost total disregard for ethical behavior.