I doubt that it’s ever taught in school today, because it seems that the National Education Association has different ideas about what our kids need to know.
But most adults over 40 surely are familiar with the story about young George Washington, who had been given a small hatchet for his birthday.
Eager to try it out, the boy looked for something to hack (the word had a different meaning in our forefathers' days). And he found it — a little cherry tree. When his father found that a perfectly good cherry tree had been destroyed, he asked George whether he knew what had happened.
“Father, I cannot tell a lie,” said the future first president of the United States of America. “I did it.”
An insignificant story, perhaps, just a little morality tale for kids. No one today can verify whether it actually happened. I, for one, believe it did, mainly because if its apparent insignificance. If there weren’t a factual basis for the story, who would make it up? Surely a fableist would conjure up something more dramatic than a little boy cutting down a cherry tree with his new hatchet.
But what makes it significant is that it underscores, from a very early age, the character of the man who became our first president — and a role model for all who would follow him into that office. His honesty never was questioned throughout his distinguished military career, his political leadership, and his virtually unanimously elected two terms as president of the United States.
In fact, his admiring friend Thomas Jefferson wrote about Washington: “His integrity was the most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known. He was, in every sense of the word, a wise, a good, and a great man.”
Is it any wonder, then, that parents and teachers have pointed to the man we call “the father of our country” for nearly 200 years as an example for our kids to emulate? That, too, makes the story of the apple tree meaningful and important: Children can understand the moral and learn a valuable lesson from their earliest years.
Now, contrast the story of Washington and the lifelong accounts of his honesty, his truth-telling with the actions of President Obama, in whom so many hopes and dreams have been vested.
A family man who professed during his campaign that he strongly supported marriage as between a man and a woman. A father who said he personally opposed abortion, though he believed in a woman’s “right to choose.” A presidential hopeful who said he would veto any and all earmarks — “pork” — that congressmen tried to sneak into appropriations bills.
This president professed to have become a Christian while a member for 20 years of the Trinity Baptist Church, whose pastor was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Yes, the raging minister we heard repeatedly on TV braying “God bless America? No! God D--- America!!”
Then-candidate Obama swore he’d never heard anything like that from his pastor during the 20 years he was a member and ultimately disavowed and sort of condemned the statement and some others.
But during the short time that Obama has been president, he has done and said things that absolutely contradict what he said previously.
The “family man” who reveres marriage as between a man and a woman just signed an executive order (not mandated by the people or their representatives) providing taxpayer-funded support and entitlements to the same-sex “partners” of government employees. And this executive order isn't nearly enough to please the homosexual constituents who believe they helped elect Obama, and they certainly did. They want a lot more.
The father who “opposes” abortion, on becoming president, signed his first executive order: committing $200,000,000 of taxpayer funds to international family planning, the chief provider of abortions in the world!
The president who, as a candidate, promised to veto any and all earmarks signed his first appropriations bill, a $410 billion dollar monstrosity, which contained 8,570 earmarks! His explanation was that Congress (Democratic) had inserted all these projects, and he didn’t feel he should veto them. This while committing trillions of dollars of taxpayer funds, without our consent or even discussion, to bail out financial institutions and take control of the auto industry and start creating a socialist America.
And the Christian president announced, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation,” and we could even be deemed “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." America has been “arrogant,” and this country behaved “contrary to our ideals” after 9/11, he said. You know — it sounds as if he had heard a few of Wright’s sermons after all. And may have said “amen” a few times.
As we reflect on the weekend during which we honored our fathers, let’s honor and thank God for the “father of our country.” And pray that, before it’s too late, he might give us another George Washington.
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