The First Inaugural Address

The First Inaugural Address

The first Inaugural Address ever in our country is of course George Washington’s first Address to congress after being elected and sworn in as President of the United States.

It became one of our great civic rituals that is part of the pomp and circumstance in the transfer of power from one President to the next.

Washington’s 1st inaugural is important (at least to me) because he was inherently honest. At the beginning of his address he admits to the anxiety that being elected President had caused him and how he misses his retirement.

In the 2nd paragraph of his speech he says “it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being” that he not only bless him but the new nation that had been established.

He continues throughout the speech to embrace the duty he feels to the American people and the new nation, to accept the responsibility of the office and to again ask God to guide and preserve the freedoms and liberties of the people.

George had a very good grasp on the enormity of the position he was in. He was honest about his fears, his anxiety and his gratitude. He was also wise enough to lay his anxiety at the feet of God to guide him on that 1st Presidential journey.

The first Inaugural set a precedent for other Presidents to follow. George was not worried about invoking the assistance of God or worried about offending anyone by his beliefs.

George Washington also set another precedent as he was sworn in by adding four words to the end of the oath, he said: “so help me God.” Every President after President Washington has uttered those same words.

Why then do so many Americans find the mention of God so offensive? Why in our modern times is Christianity under attack?

Neither George Washington nor any of the founding fathers stated or forced citizens to prescribe to their beliefs but simply invoked the blessings of their God upon this nation. As many have done after them and up to now we are still receiving those blessings.

Let us remember that our strength and our preserverance comes to us from a higher power: One Nation Under God.

Anti Federalists to the Rescue

Anti Federalists to the Rescue

After the smoke cleared at the end of the American Revolution things got very serious very fast.

Unlike our Twitter feed, Facebook, 24 hour News Channel lives things back in 1783 did not move quite so quickly.

But there was a sense of urgency in establishing a government to protect the new citizens of the brand new United States of America!

And yet it took 5 years before the U.S. Constitution was written and ratified in 1788 and another 10 months before George Washington was sworn in as our First President.

Why did this take so long? Our fore fathers took the establishment of our new government very seriously. We needed our government to have enough power to coin money, establish a military to protect us and unite the new 13 states into one country while at the same time not having so much power that we would turn into a tyranny.

After all, the colonists had just spent 8 years and countless lives fighting against a tyranny!

In the end, the U.S. Constitution was the perfect balance of order in the three branches and strength in the Central government. Or was it?

The Federalists wanted to ratify the U.S. Constitution quickly. They felt there were enough provisions in the Constitution as written to limit the Federal powers…but the Anti-Federalists were more cautious and thought the Constitution gave the federal government too much power and it would eventually be used to oppress the people.

I am in awe that the more things change the more things stay the same. After 231 years it seems we are still having the same debate.

The Anti-Federalists came to the people’s rescue by insisting on and finally gaining the addition of the Bill of Rights–which protects the people’s rights then and now from a too big, too complicated and too oppressive Federal government.

If it’s not obvious to you yet let me explain. The Federalists eventually evolved into the Democratic Party while the Anti-Federalists evolved into the Republican Party.

While there were very intelligent and well meaning delegates on both sides, cool heads prevaled and the perfect balance of power was created thanks in major part to the more conservative delegates protecting the people and the country.

As you go about your busy run around every day lives remember we would not have this life at all if it had not been for the Anti-Federalists.

And if we want to preserve this nation and our freedoms we need to sit up and pay attention to what a few are attempting to do to take control of the government.

Anti-Federalists to the rescue! May cool heads prevail and protect our nation and our freedoms from the few power hungry politicians that would destroy our way of life just to say they won.

Rights and Responsibility

Rights and Responsibility

With great power comes great responsibility.  Powerful words used in a Spiderman movie.  Powerful words and true words.

The United States is the most powerful country in the world.  Because we are are powerful we must live up to the great responsibilities we have to lead the world by example.

This great nation has the responsibility to establish a more perfect union–we are not perfect but we must continue to strive to be the best.

Our country has the responsibility to establish justice for our citizens, to keep them safe from criminals that would do our society harm.

This nation has the responsibility to insure domestic tranquility–so we can lead ordered and calm lives.

The United States has the responsibility to provide for the common defense to protect us from bad actors from other countries who want to destroy our way of life.

This country has the responsibility to promote the general welfare of our citizenry by encouraging people to educate themselves and provide the necessary services for each other: police, fire, medical, agriculture, education.

Our nation has the responsibility to secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our future generations to have the ability to pursue our God given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

These are the principles our established government has promised to its citizens–to protect us and our rights.

We the people then, have the power–the government was established by us, for us.

And with that power comes great responsibility.

As citizens we have the responsibility to support and defend the Constitution, respect and obey federal, state, and local laws, respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others, participate and stay informed of issues affecting your community, pay income taxes on time, serve on a jury when called upon, defend the country if the need should arise and participate in the democratic process.

As citizens, we are not here to just sit back and receive from the government. That is not the reason we set up our government. We are here to live in a free society in which we have the resources to help ourselves and our communities and the government protects our rights to do so.

As citizens we must participate in the democratic process so we can knowledgeably chose people to represent our best interests–this above all is extremely important.

Use your power–fulfill your responsibility–participate in your democracy!

Early voting opens today!  Go out and vote!

The Lighthouse That Guides Us

The Lighthouse That Guides Us

As you know by now I love learning new things. Especially when those new things are about subjects that I enjoy like travel and history and America.

One thing I like to visit, especially in any coastal city, are lighthouses. Whenever possible we climb them to the top.

These are magnificent buildings that were built expressly to lead ships to harbor.

Fishermen and military ships alike could depend on lighthouses to light their way home through dark, fog and storms.

They were a beacon leading them to safety– and home.

But I wonder how many people know that one of the most important lighthouses in America was the Statue of Liberty?

In November of 1886, ordered by President Grover Cleveland, the Statue of Liberty was maintained and operated as a lighthouse in New York Harbor.

Not only has Lady Liberty served as a beacon for sailors during this time but forevermore the light–and the hope–in her torch, has welcomed so many immigrants to this wonderful nation.

She served as a lighthouse until 1902. And while that function may have ended–her light has never diminished.

Lady Liberty is our symbol of freedom and hope and the opportunity that leads us all to strive for a better life.

She is the lighthouse that leads us home.

From The New Colossus: “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”