Honoring George Washington

28 October 2014

Too often these days we hear of people who are offended that the Founding Fathers were not perfect; that they should somehow be shining gods who exhibited pefection in evey way.   Would that those who so criticise them - or anyone else - be so perfect; it is certain that they themselves are not.

Rather, let us hold up and remember the Founding Fathers for all that they did accomplish, for what it means for us - the wonderful country we live in, and preserve those accomplishments in our own time, and for the coming generations.
America's heritage is unique and unsurpassed in all of history.

What follows is an open letter, which was sent to the Pastors of Christ Church, Alexandria, Virginia.   This letter is in response to a news item in Fox News that reports that a plaque honoring one of the church's founding members, George Washinton, is being removed.

See that news article here.   The church can be contacted here.

****   a Church which now chooses to desecrate his memory and achievements   ****

To the Reverends York-Simmons, Murphy, VanDeventer, and Gillespie,
    of the Christ Church of Alexandria, Virginia:

I have read a Fox News article reporting that you are taking down the plaque for George Washington.  

I cannot begin to describe how much this pains me.   This is a horrible and very wrong decision.  

To those who "feel uneasy or unwelcome", I would say, "Stop being so sensitive.   Apparently you do not know your history, and do not know how much you have to be thankful for, that George Washington was indeed your country's first President, as well as the leader of the Army that made the United States possible."

If it were not for George Washington, you would not have the freedom to express your so-called un-easiness.   Washington could easily have declared himself King.   Many people urged him to do it, including part of his Army.   Had he done so, there would be no Constitution, no Bill of Rights.  

Slavery is certainly a horrible thing.   But I think a little perspective is in order.   Firstly, while the Founding Fathers could not - could not - eliminate slavery in their time - and they certainly did try - they deliberately set the stage for its elimination as soon as that would be possible.   Had they taken any other path, slavery could easily have endured well into the twentieth century; it is hard to imagine when exactly events might have otherwise led to the end of slavery.   There is no guarantee that slavery would not still exist in the U.S. today.   It is virtually assured that if slavery had been ended in the U.S., it would have been in the memory of those now alive, and the consequent upheaval would be an issue of our times, not those of more than a century ago.  

Secondly, the United States was one of the first countries to eliminate slavery.   Slavery endures to this day.   The most recent figure I have seen still counts about 30 million people living in slavery.   Africa has close to a million, or more.   India has millions.  

Slavery, in the past and in the present, is not limited to those of any skin color, nor gender.   Virtually everone - of all nationalities - has ancestors in the not-too-distant past who were slaves; it has been endemic throughout humanity's history.   It is only now disappearing because of the actions of people like George Washington, and countries like the United States.   Without a country like the United States, it could easily return.  

Slavery survives for two basic reasons: labor and sex, just as has always been true.   No country is totally immune; forced-labor and sex-trafficking continue throughout the world.   Those who are the most vocal today about slavery in the distant past would be a lot more convincing and a lot more valuable if they contributed to the elimination of slavery in the present time.  

Again, I urge you to maintain the plaque celebrating the fact that George Washington was a notable member of your church.   Taking it down only answers the goal of those who would wipe out America's uniqueness - its history of freedom, and its recognition that individual rights are above the government.   The United States is unique in the entire world; for those living under every other government on the planet, "rights" are only those that the government "gives" you - and no more.   Only in America do we state that Rights precede the government, which we created, and which is only there to protect and preserve those Rights.  

Removing that plaque only serves the cause of those who would have us forget all that America - and its Founding Fathers, including George Washington - stand for; all that they fought for, and that for which they dedicated their "Lives, their Fortunes, and their Sacred Honor." Some died for it; some lost their fortunes.   But America is what it is because of them.   It is not perfect, but people are not perfect.   The Founding Fathers laid the groundwork for others to make the improvements they knew they themselves could not.   They made further improvement possible, knowing we are none of us perfect.  

I am a City Councilman in the city of Mauldin, South Carolina.   Even at that remoteness from the Federal government in Washington, DC, part of my Oath of Office is to preserve the United States Constitution and its unique foundation on our Rights.   I know of no elected official who does not take that Oath very seriously.   There may be some; I sometimes wonder about certain members of Congress.   But there is no doubt the exceptions are rare.   Far and away, most elected officials mean it when they swear to "preserve and protect" the U.S. Constitution, and therefore, our Rights.  

Please reconsider your decision and keep that plaque for George Washington for all to see.   I would certainly feel unwelcome in your church if you were to take it down.

I wonder if those who might be so critical of this great man, who made the world they live in possible, have ever heard the statement, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

-- Scott Crosby

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