No. 45 lives in a world of illusion | AspenTimes.com
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No. 45 lives in a world of illusion

Oh, the difference in character from our first president, George Washington, sworn into office in 1789, to where we find ourselves today with our 45th president refusing to concede the election.

Historians tell us that George Washington was reluctant to even be the first president after having fought a grueling revolutionary war for eight years. He had a healthy sense of self-doubt despite being by all accounts a truly remarkable man, and questioned his own ability to lead the new nation. He far preferred farming to power, eschewed titles his countrymen tried to foist on him such as “his excellency” and insisted on being called just Mr. President.

On his trip from Mount Vernon to New York to be inaugurated, he did his best to avoid the pomp and pageantry planned to greet him on the route. Before entering New York, he wrote to the then governor of the state, “I can assure you, with the utmost sincerity, that no reception can be so congenial to my feelings as a quiet entry devoid of ceremony.”

Washington bluntly refused the lifetime appointment that some of his countrymen suggested and hoped that his serving just two terms would set a precedent for future presidents. Except for FDR, it did. To go from that great man to the anxious and unhappy 45th president wearing a red ball cap inscribed with Make America Great Again, a man refusing to relinquish power despite an overwhelming defeat in both the electoral college and the popular vote, does not bode well for the providence of this country. We will never have another Washington, but let’s hope any future president has some of his qualities: considerable intelligence, unquestionable courage and that thing we’ve so missed the past four years: a show of humility, decency and a perspective on his own abilities.

Mark Harvey

Basalt


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