Merriam-Webster defines a Statesman as a “wise, skillful, and respected political leader.” The same dictionary describes a politician as “a person experienced in the art or science of government.” It also gives the definition: “a person engaged in conducting the business of a government.”
When we think of a President today, who do we think of? Our first thought may well come towards our current President. Or we may think of JFK, or Ronald Reagan, or Franklin Roosevelt. But if we are honest with ourselves, what exactly comes to our minds when we think of our current President? Could it be intimidation, class-warfare, or an iron fist of demands that must “take place or else”? The problem with our current President is that he wasn’t elected to be President. What came to be, as a result of the media outlets and the entertainment industry, is the election of “Hollywood” to be our leader. Not Hollywood in the real sense of the word such as film, actors, movies, and film producers, but a political celebrity.
Now, when we look in our wallets and pull out a dollar bill, does anyone take the time to think about the face on that bill? It is a man we refer to as the “Father of our Country,” George Washington. Our first President was not the intellectual beast that graced such men as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, or James Madison. As a matter of fact, Washington’s educational background was minimal with no more than maybe five years of formal education, with the rest of his learning occurring through his mother and self-teaching. He didn’t come across as a particularly affectionate man; and according to the Catholic Exchange, he spoke little in public meetings and “lacked the charisma of many of his successors. Defeating the British with his ragtag army was an impressive feat, but he was not a traditional military hero. He won no spectacular victories during the Revolutionary War. Although he is widely admired as an outstanding president, few of his policies were stupendous successes.”
What was it that set this leader aside from most leaders in America during his day? His character and statesmanship was what gained respect from those who far exceeded Washington in so many areas, including intellect. He was a master at mastering self-control. Washington wrote to his friend and aide de camp Alexander Hamilton: “I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain (what I consider the most enviable of all titles) the character of an honest man.”
Though he was not a master of great military exploits, he was nonetheless a master of himself. Virtue and character were the great President’s high marks as nothing was more profound than when he resigned as Commander and Chief of the Continental Army and then declining a third term as President of the United States. Keep in mind that this man could very easily have ran a third, a fourth, and a fifth term; and every time, Washington would’ve received a perfect electoral vote. Every time! Does anyone feel the same could be said of the most “cool and hip” President of this generation? Voting for a leader should never be based on race, which is something the milquetoast G.O.P needs to get through their thick skulls. But if it must, hypothetically speaking, please consider Allen West. Because if there is one thing we all need to remember this upcoming President’s Day, it is that true leadership doesn’t rest with leaning on the backs of racist, misogynist “rap artists” but rather in the mastery of one’s character and virtue.
Photo Credit: OZinOH (Creative Commons)