Wednesday, February 5, 2014

SOTU

This is not a blog post bashing on Obama, so if you are looking for that, you'll have to look else where.  If you are an Obama fan, I hope you won't be offended.

This is a lesson in history.  (I know, what a snore right?)

But yesterday when my 15 year old students stared at me with huge eyes and a concerned look on their face and asked, "Mrs. B, why don't they get it?  Why do they let it happen???"  It seriously hurts.

If history has taught us nothing else we can easily see one common theme no matter the time period, no matter the civilization.  There is one thing that we can learn and easily not repeat.  I think often times we are turned off to this concept because whenever anyone tries to teach us this principle they try and scare us.  They talk of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Bloody Mary, Che, Ivan the Terrible, Nero, Castro, Napoleon, or even Genghis Khan.  They speak of greed, genocides, famines, mass murders, corruption with this one central theme.  Sadly this is a very important principle but often times we are so turned off by evil that we start to tune out.  But today I want to talk about this principle through the example of one of my favorite heroes, totally cliche, but a amazing all the same.

George Washington.

Now I'm sure you've heard the tale that at some point people begged George Washington to be king.  Now whether this tale is true is debatable.  But we've heard this classic theme both in the Old Testament and Book of Mormon.  People begging for a king.  As far as George is concerned we really don't have very much documentation on whether that really did happen frequently or not.

But we do have one letter.  In May 1782... so almost a year and a half before the Constitution was created and ratified there was a Colonel Lewis Nicola.  He wrote a letter to George talking about the poor conditions of his army.  He was upset with Congress saying it was too weak.  His solution was quite simple, establish a strong monarchy and put George as king.  (Now clearly this guy had no right or power to do such an act, but he was just suggesting that it was a good idea.)

George's response:

"No occurrence in the course of the war has given me more painful sensations than your information of there being such ideas existing in the army and these I must view with abhorrence and reprehend with severity."  He went on to say that these ideas were "big with the greatest mischief that can befall my country.  You could not have found a person to whom your schemes are more disagreeable."  "If you have any regard for your country, concern yourself or posterity, or respect for me, banish these thoughts from your mind, and never communicate, as from yourself or anyone else, a sentiment of the like nature." George Washington to Lewis Nicola (22 May 1782)

George Washington understood something that sadly we as Americans are forgetting.  We don't want a king.  Even if it is the most benevolent man that has ever lived, we don't want him to rule as King.  I could talk about how power corrupts, I could tell the horror the power of one man can create.  But even if he made the best possible decisions for our country we still don't want him to rule with unlimited power.  Even if he can create laws that could end world hunger, provide world peace, and make everyone happy... it would not be worth it.    Because I know enough of history to know what could happen next.  Eventually power is transferred.  Eventually power changes.  And when one person has that much power nothing can stop him.

So no, this is not a post bashing on Obama.  I don't blame him.  I truly hope he really is trying to do what he thinks is best for this country.  I really want to hope.  But I am bashing.  I am standing from the top of every soap box that I possibly can stand on to scream, Do we not know history???  Have we learned nothing???  When a President of the United States clearly states, for the entire country to hear, that he is going to completely break the laws created in the Constitution and usurp power and he gets a standing ovation from those whose responsibility is to make sure he doesn't overstep his power as president.... I hang my head low.  How can I teach history?  How can I keep going?  How have we forgotten so quickly?  How have we become like those from times before that beg for a king?  How have we learned nothing?

No, I don't want to talk of starvation, deaths, or bondage.  History has done enough of that.  I want to talk of a piece of light.  Power is evil.  The more it is spread out the better.  One man who understood that.  One man who I believe God protected to teach this very important lesson.  George Washington would have made a wonderful king.  But luckily for us, he knew better, he knew history.

If only America did the same.

2 comments:

Harris said...

I totally agree!! However I would hope of he truly does try to take power that does not belong to him the, the other offices will use the system of checks and balances to take the power and put it where it belongs. Lets all pray for that!
Dez

goddessdivine said...

George is my hero! I wish we saw more men like him today.

Well, His Majesty did say today (albeit, jokingly) "I'm the president, I can do whatever I want." Hmm. It may have been in jest, but something like that doesn't come out of someone's mouth if there isn't a hint of meaning it.

3 more years. I don't know if I can take it.