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.