Friday, July 23, 2010

Our President says Farewell

by Dubby Riley

In just two months from now, it will have been 214 years since George Washington wrote and published, in the The Independent Chronicle his Farewell Address. Oh my heavens friends--please make time to read it and contemplate his words and feelings carefully. Washington's farewell address, which asks Americans to put aside party differnces in favor of unity, teaches us the deeper meaning of patriotism.

Time and space and your natural desire to be "informed" without sacrificing the thousands of details which require your attention, and my own feeble ability to contribute to your greater education will leave much to be desired in this essay. I would like to promise you a series of thoughts which need to be mentioned, were I to give good and responsible consideration to the many topics addressed by Washington's massive intellectual dissertation. But at this moment I am so moved by something else from the Father of our Country, that instead of intellect I want to devote these few words to affection.

But before my heartfelt tenderness is revealed, please allow my philosophical tendencies a slight reign of freedom. Should you grant that wish, then the general outline of the future "thinking" concerning Washington's major points is as follows:

A. I tremble by our first president's magnamity and his generous contribution in writing this address. But in the name of progress we should consider his words with a broader view of what the world has become. I propose that we broaden his definition of "the people" of this new country to be "the people of this new world." That we invite all people of all colors and all nations to be part of this great vision and great unity of which Washington refers.

B. That we reserve our own partiality of opinions and fears and that we embrace fully his great courage and nobility. For instance, I worry that our current president may have to submit his own farewell address, in just two years from now. And the reason for other emotions besides worry such as anger and grief and fear and negativity and judgement stem from my own conviction that our president is facing a tide of hate and corruption and ignorance. And further my prejudice is fueled by my relentless habit of blaming powers that "agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one against another" to use Washington's words. But honestly, instead of blaming and accusing, I understand that what is required is gentleness and loving devotion to people and planet, which includes how I behave toward those who seem to be "stirring the pot" of hatred and division. So instead of blame we should agree to listen carefully. Instead of accusing other people we should continue to focus our power on helping others and broadening our definition of unity.

C. Washington warned us not to develop an over-powerful military establishment. "avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty." His vision from that time extended backward and forward. He considered Rome and he considered England but how could he have seen Hitler's army or our own in Afganistan? But he seems to know them well. In every case, if you trace the problems of money and power it will lead you to military might. What do we need to learn or relearn or unlearn to stop putting young people in the path of danger so that money interests can maintain their grip of sovereignty over nations and people?

I'd like to promise to return to those subjects but I won't. I won't promise. With your kindness though and any show of interest, I'll gladly engage in further conversations which may develop into another essay, should such an effort be born of need or temptation.

So with these last few words I want to try to express how I've taken Washington into my heart with a new appreciation. He has helped me to grow as a man and as a human. He raises me to new levels and gives me new goals and new hope. I think if you'll spend thirty minutes or an hour to swallow his loving gift and then allow it to be digested beyond your intellect, you too will discover a warm glow that should help you be a better citizen and a better caregiver. What I mean by digesting this beyond intellect is allow it to coat your soul with the fineness of it. This is a supreme meditation, I'm convinced. It came to him and was meant to be shared so that mankind could progress. It is a precious metal, both medicine and armour. It will serve you well intellectually but it will renew you spiritually, if you allow it to.


  1. Ohmy. What a lovely, loving, luscious post!

    The editor in me wants to chastise you for 'burying the lead,' as your final paragraph is what your post is all about; the significant impact Washington's words have had on your life. But I'm so in awe of that final paragraph, that I will absolve you of all editorial sins!

    Each sentence of that last paragraph shines with emotion and gratitude. As it happens, I'm listening to a Beethoven symphony as I read it, so that, too, has added more power and depth to each word. I highly recommend it!

    "...allow it to coat your soul with the fineness of it." Beautiful imagery.

    I, too, love that you exhort us to use both intellectual and spiritual strength to resolve the serious issues we face today. Washington would agree wholeheartedly.

    While reading the address (every bit as incredible as you stated) I was struck by one sentence, in particular:

    "Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment."

    Love of liberty interwoven with the ligaments of our hearts. Yes, it's making my heart smile right now.

    Thanks for a beautiful post, Dubby. It reminds us all of the firm foundation on which this country was founded, and a better perspective from which to build the solutions to our global problems today.

  2. Dub, my compadre', my brother. I recall a request you made of me, in what seems another lifetime. "Write me a song", was all it said. Years later... again, another lifetime, I wrote this for you.

    If the measure of a man
    is to leave the world a better place,
    have you done all that you can to make it so?

    Have you opened up your hand
    to your brother in a different place,
    to make your peace with him before you go?

    If the measure of a man
    is the vision that he has,
    Have you done all that you can
    to let it show?

    For the gift you've given me
    is knowing all I need,
    is the friends that I have gathered on the road.

    Here's to you, Caretaker
    Take good care,as you go.
    A song for you, Caretaker
    Remember me, out on the road
    I quit now, at risk of getting all mushy. 'nuff said.
    I love you my friend.

  3. Well Jo and Rick. We meet again! I won't say we have to stop meeting like this. Why would I?

    I saw something recently. A video about social media and it pointed out that these "tatoos" are permanent. We put them, our words, in these little boxes, and then we push "send." Then they go up and are permanent for the world (in this case, like a total of 20 people, and sometimes only 3 or whatever, so by pretty much any definition, a small planet :)--) to see.

    So we three meet again. Seems to be a habit. And there will be other comments too, I hope. I also hope I'll be as diligent and as thoughtful as Jo always is. She never leaves a comment unattended. Very gently and with control but mostly with enormous affection, she responds, closing the loop so beautifully and so simply. I may neglect some comments, which I apologize for in advance. But I hope I won't.

    And Rick, I'm sure I've thanked you for the song. I think I remember the first time you sang it for me, but then again, maybe I don't. But I remember thinking I remember, or I think I do. But then again, maybe I don't. But anyway, thanks brother and for the reminder, which now I will remember. Or maybe I won't.

    Love you both to the moon and back. Here's a huddle hug with George in the middle, our newest smiling heart recruit.

  4. by George, you may have a point there. then again, you may just be channeling George, in which case I should be addressing this to him. Thanks George. You too Jo. Or is it Jorge?

  5. Nothing is permanent, y'all.

    My favorite story about my beloved George is the fact that he gave up the presidency, turned his sword over to Congress, and went back to farming. What a guy.

    Also he was bullet proof. Did you know? "His Excellency" by Joseph Ellis is a totally completely fabulous biography of G. Check it out.

    I dumped ice cold water on Washington's tomb way back when I was a priestess. I wanted to wake him up so he could come help us out of this god awful mess our country is in the midst of. What I sensed was that he said, "Leave me alone! I'm sleeping."

    Oh well.

  6. Thanks Reya. I hope you get a chance to read his Farewell Address. You'll see he hasn't ever left. Hugs.


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