As the American people face more division, corruption, moral decay, antipathy and direct challenges to our patriotism, we are heartened by what could be.
In Chapter 13 of The New Founders, General Washington, alive in 21st Century America, and today’s incarnates of the founders Jack Murray (Madison), Josh Anders (Adams), Anthony Hahn (Hamilton) and Tim Jenson (Jefferson) experience an epiphany during services at the National Cathedral and confirm Providence’s calling when George Washington quotes Abraham Lincoln on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
From Chapter 13 of The New Founders…
The new founders had just experienced simultaneous epiphanies during the 7:15am services at the National Cathedral. George had asked to begin his Sunday in church and the men could not think of a more appropriate place for George to worship than in the exquisite house of worship. Using the minister’s words as her vehicle, Providence found the men sitting quietly in the back of the old Cathedral.
The nation’s recent birthday was the topic of the day’s sermon and, accordingly, the minister discussed how our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values, documented in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and reflected in the laws, customs, and mores of our everyday lives. She preached that the founders knew that our civil society would only stand as long as the citizenry maintained such values. Without those values, our republican system would fail. The minister seemed to be looking directly at the five men as she began quoting the founders themselves.
“John Adams wrote in the Massachusetts Bill of Rights that, ‘the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality.’” Josh Anders sat focused on the minister as she went on. “Adams believed, ‘One great advantage of the Christian religion is that it brings the great principle of the law of nature and nations; Love your neighbor as yourself, and do to others as you would that others should do to you, to the knowledge, belief and veneration of the whole people.’”
Mr. Washington looked fondly at Anders and the rest of the men as the minister continued stressing that America had lost its way; the United States of America was accelerating down a slope away from the values that made it what it was. “We have allowed government to push itself into our lives and take responsibility for raising our children.”
The minister continued, pointing to the recent examples of unwanted government intervention. She described agents, without parental consent, who confiscated school children’s brown bag lunches they deemed not in accordance with federal guidelines. She touched on the healthcare mandates, laws passed without being read by the lawmakers. She was in a controlled rant, railing how society had marginalized religious groups, language and icons in favor of secular symbols.
The minister forcefully proclaimed that all of these godless policies must stop and be turned around immediately; that the country was in desperate need of a new leader, one who understood our country’s founding, one who was one with our people, one who would lead us back to the principles that brought us greatness. The four new founders were thunderstruck in their pews as the scattered congregation applauded. Each looked at the other, knowing that the minister addressed them and them alone. Each achieved inspiration as they focused on General Washington, his back straight, head slightly bowed, but eyes aimed forward in determination.
The minister closed by quoting George Washington who said that it was impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible and that reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality could prevail in exclusion of religious principle. “Mr. Washington memorialized this feeling forever in his farewell address when he stated, ‘Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens…’”
The men stood outside of Josh’s limo at the bottom step of the Lincoln Memorial.
They could not stop thinking of the sermon they had heard fifteen minutes earlier. They mulled around the sidewalk for a few moments while Mr. Washington studied each man, noting their expressions. The silence was broken by a smiling Anders. “Gentlemen, Mr. President, I believe we all experienced an epiphany at the National Cathedral. All of us have been wondering since Friday afternoon why we were brought together in Philadelphia, the forces at work, and what they have in store for us. Well, I believe we received our answer this morning. Providence spoke to us and has led us to this brilliant morning. As President Reagan so optimistically stated, ”It’s morning in America.”
With that said, General Washington looked up the steps of the memorial and led the men past a small number of early morning tourists to the summit. The father of our country was once again face-to-face with the larger than life President Lincoln. Mr. Washington walked to his left and studied the inscribed Gettysburg address. He then turned right and focused on Lincoln’s second inaugural. As George focused, he inched toward the middle of the rail and began speaking aloud, first directed toward the men and then for all within earshot.
“Indeed, anything is possible in this great land of ours. President Abraham Lincoln had uncommon strength, courage, and conviction. He took the sacred oath of office clear and forthright in his noble intentions, committed to relegating the shackles of slavery across these United States to, as President Reagan said in describing the demise of the Soviet Union, the scrapheap of history, while somehow bringing the nation together.”
The men shot each other looks of astonishment. Hahn mouthed to the others, “What the hell?”
Anders shrugged, smiled and winked at Jenson, Hahn, and Murray. “I guess he watched the History Channel in the hotel this morning.”
The men looked down and chuckled as George resumed his lecture. “I see a man before me who knew that his ideals were supported by the majority, vehemently rejected by many and deemed worthy of war by all. I see a man who was viewed by more than a few as a tyrant, yet brought the country together. And yet with the threat of certain war looming, Mr. Lincoln steadfastly held his guiding principles.”
Mr. Washington reviewed the growing audience that built around him. He started to walk slowly toward the top of the steps and into the morning sunshine. While his audience grew, so did his ideas and the strength in his voice. Mr. Washington said he could see the steadfastness in Lincoln’s clinched fist and steely eyes. He described Lincoln as a man who may have bent during the horrific stresses of war but who refused to break.
George then quoted a founding father. “As Thomas Paine once wrote, ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.’”
Mr. Washington was now on the top step of the Lincoln Memorial. He stood tall, erect and strong, as the crowd grew. Many cell phones were pointed in his direction, recording every word. One phone hoisted in the air to capture the moment belonged to Josh Anders. Even the park rangers moved in closer to listen. One even handed George his megaphone which he politely declined.
“The founders had not settled the question of slavery when the Constitution was adopted. It was left to the next generation to decide, but, like Mr. Lincoln, they truly believed in the individual’s liberty and freedom in the Natural Rights of Man.”
He spoke extemporaneously, something not lost on the new founders.
“Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, ‘That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.’ Not all Caucasian men, but ALL MEN. Jefferson also wrote that the abomination of slavery must end, stating that there is a superior bench reserved in Heaven for those who hasten it.”
Looking toward the turgid crowd, a more confident and passionate Mr. Washington began reciting some of the most famous words in American history. “‘Four score and seven years go….that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.’”
He paused as the waves of people soaked in one president’s words delivered by another. He needed to connect these words and show relevance in today’s world.
“Yes, the founders did bring forth a new nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. That founding principle is ingrained in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, documents which lay out our principles as American citizens, inspired not from some legislature or monarch, but from God the Almighty Himself, stressing that our government is of, by, and for the people, not of, by, and for the government, nor of one man.”
Mr. Washington chastised today’s political class by pointing out that while DC had monuments to great men and women, there are too many monuments erected by government in honor of itself. He directly cited the colossal edifices erected for the Departments of Education and Agriculture. He questioned why anybody would have veritable monstrosities dedicated to bureaucracies called Housing and Urban Development.
“Remember, these United States of America are exceptional in the history of human civilization. Do not let anyone or any law makers tell you what you or your family can or cannot have. Do not let them tell you what you or your family can or cannot achieve. Your life belongs to you. Your happiness is yours to define.”
Hahn leaned toward Jenson and Murray and whispered that he felt like he was dreaming. The two men hardly acknowledged their colleague as they remained riveted on their new leader.
“Be sure that your public servants understand that they work for you. They are there to clear the way for your pursuit of happiness and not to limit it!”
By now, the crowd had surrounded Mr. Washington and the new founders. A number of well-wishers started to reach out and touch the first president, as if to ensure that he was not a mirage or a figment of their imagination. The General had whipped the mass into a near frenzy and his cabinet of gentlemen sensed it was time to depart.
To Jack’s relief, Josh Anders took the initiative and quickly called his driver while motioning the men to surround Mr. Washington like secret service agents and lead him to the approaching limo. The crowd followed with thunderous applause as their chant of “MORE” echoed throughout the mall and within the Lincoln Memorial itself. As the group of men hurried to the waiting car, Mr. Washington stopped and paused yet again. He placed one foot on the floorboard of the back seat, stood tall above the crowd, and surveyed the scene.
“Thank you for sharing this moment in history with me. God bless all of you and God bless the United States of America!”
The crowd, having drawn silent when Mr. Washington raised himself up, erupted into a deafening cheer, followed by a rousing “USA” chant. The father of our country gave one last look around, smiled, and disappeared into the idling limousine. At once, the people rushed the car to get a look at the most powerful and mesmerizing speaker they had ever laid eyes on. But their looks were fleeting as the car sped away toward the Jefferson Memorial.
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