What’s he hiding?
Have you ever heard someone say a bad word about George Washington? Seems like a silly question, I know, but in this age of divisive politics, all past presidents are used for fodder to improve a politician’s standing with one group or another.
Speaking to a group of pretentious liberals? Babble rhetorically about Ronald Reagan being our nation’s first dictator. Dinner party with rabid Republicans? Share your thoughts about Franklin Roosevelt smashing the invisible hand of the market with socialist regulations that destroyed the future of our nation. Attending a Baptist ceremony? Tell a couple good jokes about Bill Clinton having an affair with a Jewish woman.* Find yourself at a secret meeting of the nation’s big business leaders? Mention how Abraham Lincoln destroyed the economy by increasing overhead by infinity.
*The only thing they give you is grief and all they make are reservations.
George Washington, though? Never speak ill about our Nation’s first president. It would be political suicide. Hell, even Anthony Weiner thinks that’s a bad idea.* Anthony Weiner jokes are fools’ gold, the man has turned himself into a walking punch line better than any comedian could tell, which is a more impressive accomplishment than becoming Mayor of New York. Suck on that Bill De Blasio.
The folk legends about Washington make Michael Bay’s movies seem grounded in reality. Take the famous crossing of the Delaware, for instance. With his men’s backs against the walls and suffering through a freezing winter with little food rations, the valiant Washington decided to make the bold move to lead his men across the icy Delaware and attack the British under cover of the night. This brave act turned the tide of the war and led to the building of the greatest nation ever. The cherry on top was that the attack was launched on the night of December 25th – Christmas night. The only thing missing was a cameo by Baby Jesus.
Anyone who is or has been a subordinate knows that bosses come up with half-baked ideas, order people to find a way to turn their ideas into reality, and then take all the credit for the work. What makes us so sure that this was any different in 1776? I do not have my doubts that Washington gave the orders to cross the Delaware. My uncertainty lies with him leading the troops across the river while standing in the front of a rowboat crossing the icy, choppy Delaware. It is more likely that he was sitting in his warm, well-lit tent playing chess with Benjamin Franklin and drinking the tea they “dumped” into the Boston Harbor. Then, after they won the battle, he commissioned someone to paint a re-creation of the crossing with him standing tall next to an American Flag with his foot on the edge of the boat.
The myths of Washington go back to his childhood. Apparently the man was incapable of telling a lie, at least according to the famous Cherry Tree fable. As the story goes, a young Washington was given a Hatchet for his sixth birthday. The Xbox of this era.
Little Georgie loved chopping things with his hatchet more than Kanye West loves Kanye West. However, one day he went a little overboard with his chopping and chopped down one of his father’s beloved cherry trees. Upon discovering this Washington’s father asked him, “George, do you know who has killed my beautiful little cherry tree?” His response, “I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot tell a lie! I cut it down with my little hatchet.” “My son,” Washington’s father responded, “that you should not be afraid to tell the truth is more to me than a thousand trees!”
What? Do you expect me to believe this story happened anywhere in the history of this planet? No six-year-old kid has ever admitted to his parents that he did something wrong. More likely, little Georgie probably tried to go buy a new Cherry tree to replace the old one. Lacking in knowledge of botany, he would have no idea that the tree would not immediately grow to full size no matter how much water he poured on it.
Unfortunately, he would not get the chance to learn this as he would not know that new trees cost money, which he would have none of since he was six. He would therefore have to come up with some elaborate story about a bear coming out of nowhere and chasing him through the garden and knocking over the tree, allowing him to get away safely. A story his father would clearly see right through, leaving Washington with no choice, but to blame his friend with the worst reputation. “It was Tom Jefferson, pop, I swear. He heard how fun it was while hanging down by the slave quarters.”
The nail in the coffin that proves this is a fable, like Snow White or a Jacksonville Jaguar fan, is his father’s reaction. Now, my dad does not own a cherry tree because he was born in the 20th century, but had I broke a prized possession of his, say his golf clubs, when I was six, his reaction would not have been to praise me for my honesty. Instead, he would tee me up like a Titleist and let me know what an idiot I am. Then, he would teach me a lesson by making me sell a whole bunch more lemonade in order to pay it off.
Now, everyone who was smart and cool enough to read this site can answer proudly, yes, I have heard someone say a bad word about George Washington and it was glorious. You’re welcome.
This Post Written By Tom Demetrio, Co-Founder of Millennial Man