First State of the Union Address

Tuesday, January 28, AD 2014

The first state of the Union address, then called the President’s annual message to Congress, was delivered by President Washington to the First Congress on January 8, 1790.  It is also the shortest.  Would that his predecessors, as in so much else, had followed his example!  Here is the text of the speech:

FELLOW CITIZENS Of the SENATE, and HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES,

I EMBRACE with great satisfaction the opportunity, which now presents itself, of congratulating you on the present favourable prospects of our public affairs. The recent accession of the important state of Northcarolina to the Constitution of the United States (of which official information has been received)— the ruling credit and respectability of our country— the general and increasing good will towards the government of the union, and the concord, peace and plenty, with which we are blessed, are circumstances auspicious, in an excellent degree, to our national prosperity.

In reforming your consultations for the general good, you cannot but derive encouragement from the reflection, the measures of the last session have been as satisfactory to your constituents as the novelty and difficulty of the work allowed you to hope.– Still further to realize their expectations, and to secure the blessings which a gracious Providence has placed within our reach, will in the course of the present important session, call for the cool and deliberate exertion of your patriotism, firmness and wisdom.

Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defence will merit particular regard. To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

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2 Responses to First State of the Union Address

  • “And by teaching the people themselves to know, and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; between burthens proceeding from a disregard to their convenience, and those resulting from the inevitable exigencies of society; to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness, cherishing the first, avoiding the last, and uniting a speedy, but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the laws.”
    The first generation of citizens knew and understood freedom, the Blessings of Liberty, “the blessings which they have a right to expect, from a free and equal government.” “…from a free and equal government.” A government free from corruption and in equal Justice.

  • Thank you, Donald R. McClarey. I saved this for myself. George Washington is still with us.

Washington At Prayer

Sunday, December 22, AD 2013

There is an old tradition that Washington prayed in the snow at Valley Forge on Christmas Day 1777.  Certainly the wretched condition of the Continental Army in December of 1777, with a hungry winter beginning, would have driven commanders less pious than Washington to their knees.  However, Washington was pious and prayed every day.

The tradition rests on this account of the Reverend Nathaniel Randolph Snowden, a Presbyterian Minister in Philadelphia who lived from 1770-1851 and who wrote the following:

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5 Responses to Washington At Prayer

  • Some years ago there was a U. S. postage stamp with this same picture on it. I saved one. It is my favorite, over and above the stamp of Albert Einstein. I wish the post office would return the stamp to print. It is so beautiful, that and Washington crossing the Delaware. Frostbitten and hungry that army had the fire of freedom burning in their hearts. God bless America. Thank you Mr. McCleary for posting this.

  • To me, every twenty-five cent piece is a Medal of Freedom.

  • And now, Almighty Father,

    If it is Thy holy will that we shall obtain a place and name among the nations of the earth, grant that we may be enabled to show our gratitude for Thy goodness by our endeavors to fear and obey Thee. Bless us with thy wisdom in our counsels, success in battle, and let our victories be tempered with humanity. Endow, also, our enemies with enlightened minds, that they become sensible of their injustice, and willing to restore our liberty and peace. Grant the petition of Thy servant, for the sake of whom Thou hast called Thy beloved Son; nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done.

    –George Washington

  • Thank you, Lauran. I saved George Washington’s prayer. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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Thanksgiving Proclamation: 1789

Wednesday, November 27, AD 2013

Throughout the American Revolution Congress had set aside days of Thanksgiving to God for American victories.  After the surrender of Burgoyne in 1777 Congress authorized General Washington to proclaim a national day of Thanksgiving, which he did, designating it to be observed on December 18, 1777.  Thus, President Washington readily agreed when the new federal Congress authorized him to issue a Thanksgiving Proclamation, establishing the first American Thanksgiving to be held on the last Thursday in November.  Washington observed the day by attending church at Saint Paul Chapel and donating beer and food to imprisoned debtors in New York City.  Here is the text of the proclamation:

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Red Skelton, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and One Nation Under God

Thursday, November 14, AD 2013

Red Skelton and his unforgettable rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Skelton rose out of abject poverty to become one of the great comedians of his time.  His comment about the phrase “under God”  reminds us how deeply this phrase is embedded in American history:

The addition of “under God” to the pledge of allegiance in 1954 of course echoes this sentence from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — 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.”

The Pledge was altered with that phrase of Lincoln’s specifically in mind.  The Knights of Columbus played an important role in getting the pledge changed, beginning in 1951 to say the Pledge with the phrase “under God” inserted at all Knights of Columbus functions.

Lincoln probably recalled the phrase from George Washington’s use of it in his order to the Continental Army on August 27, 1776 before the battle of Long Island:

The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.

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One Response to Red Skelton, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and One Nation Under God

Remember, Remember

Tuesday, November 5, AD 2013

The idiotic anti-Catholic celebration of Guy Fawkes Day , observed each November fifth, was effectively ended in America during the Revolution, in large part due to George Washington.  Here is his order on November 5, 1775:

As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope–He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada.

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3 Responses to Remember, Remember

  • In Scotland, the 5th November is also kept by some as the anniversary of the landing of the Prince of Orange at Brixham harbour in England, delivering us, so we are assured, from “popery, slavery, wooden shoes and brass money.”

    Those whose forebears died at Kiliecrankie Pass with the Glory of the Grahams (the “Bluidy Clavers” of Covenanter legend) take a different view.

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  • Is there any real difference between “We Wun’t Be Druv!” and “Don’t Tread on Me!”?

    I think not.

    Trust in God, and keep your powder dry.

Patsy Custis, Larry McClarey and Sudep

Tuesday, July 9, AD 2013

MarthaParke_Custis

The Father of our country, George Washington, was never blessed with biological children.  When he married his wife Martha, she was a widow, and she brought two children into their marriage:  John Parke Custis, who was four, and Martha Parke Custis, who was two, and who was called Patsy.  Washington raised the two children as his own.

At the age of eleven or twelve Patsy began to have epileptic seizures.  The Washingtons consulted numerous doctors and attempted endless cures, all to no avail.  Modern medicine was not yet even in its infancy, and anti-seizure medications were over a century in the future.  However, even then it was known that epilepsy was not usually a mortal disorder.  Patsy had frequent seizures but she came out of them each time with no discernible harm.

On June 19, 1773 Patsy was  at Mount Vernon talking to her brother’s fiancée, Eleanor Calvert.  Patsy went to her room to retrieve a letter from her brother who was away at college.    Eleanor suddenly heard a strange noise and found Patsy on the floor having a seizure.  Her parents were summoned and George Washington placed her on her bed.  Family letters describe Washington kneeling at Patsy’s bedside, tears streaming down his face, praying for her recovery.    After only two minutes, Patsy died.  She was buried the next day, George writing to his brother-in-law, that his “sweet, innocent girl had died”:    [Patsy] rose from dinner about four o’clock in better health and spirits than she had appeared to have been in for some time; soon after which she was seized with one of her usual fits and expired in it in less than two minutes without uttering a word, a groan, or scarce a sigh. This sudden and unexpected blow … has almost reduced my poor wife to the lowest ebb of misery.

This is one of the earliest accounts of Sudep (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy).  The mechanism by which Sudep causes death is still mysterious.  It strikes young people, those between 20 and 40 are at highest risk, who are otherwise in good health except for their seizures.  It often occurs at night, and is usually unwitnessed.  The victims are often found in a prone position on their beds, or near their beds.  It is rare, striking one out of 1,000-3,000 of epilepsy sufferers each year.  In order for a death to be considered to be Sudep there can be no other explanation for the death.  The mortality figures on Sudep are uncertain because death certificates often do not indicate Sudep as the cause of death.  It is estimated that some 45,000 Americans die from Sudep each year, which puts it ahead of vehicular accidents by 13,000 for the year 2011 as a cause of death.  Go here to learn more about Sudep.

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18 Responses to Patsy Custis, Larry McClarey and Sudep

  • Dear Donald,
    The return to possibilities and circumstances unknown in your beautiful heart begs me to remind you of the Awesome Grace that surrounds Larry at this moment. A grace that any loving father would not wish his cherished son to be without…even for a second.

    On Sunday the 7th at 9:15am I was performing CPR on a 56 year old Co-worker who had collapsed due to a massive heart attack. While praying with her husband in the CCU last night an acceptance of Gods design came over him. He said; ” She was always His.” HIS.

    They, we, us. We are His, and graced to get to know love and share in His children while we are on Earth.

    My Co-worker will go off of life support today. A harvest team is coming up to give Life to waiting families in need of human organs.
    I do not have the families permission to share their names, however if you could pray for them today…it’s going to be a rough one for them.

    Donald. Peace.

  • “I do not have the families permission to share their names, however if you could pray for them today…it’s going to be a rough one for them.”

    Prayers on the way Philip.

    In regard to Larry I sometimes feel his presence. At his funeral mass I had the strangest wave of joy and peace sweep over me and I suspect that was his way of giving me a very small taste of what he is experiencing now. That knowledge sustains me.

  • Donald you have my heartfelt condolences. I’m sure that your sorrow and that of your family is matched only by Larry’s current joy. I am extremely fortunately that with 5 after me and 10 after them, I can only imagine your pain. May God’s peace and joy sustain you.

  • Thank you Steve. I have no doubt where Larry is. My sorrow is my missing him, and my joy is my memories of him and knowing that I will see him again, God willing, in a land that knows not autism, seizures and death.

  • Your story brings tears to my eyes. You lived a faithful daily love that Larry received and reciprocated. God bless you. That daily sharing is over for now– I sympathize with you, your wife and family. I am glad you get to feel joyful, and his presence for comfort.
    Through your writings on TAC your readers know a bit about your thoughts and priorities. Your story today is of grace in anguish and reinforces our faith. You are generous to help others who love in similar circumstances.
    Take great consolation in your confidence that his soul is saved, that he is living the blessed eternal life we all hope for our children. The same is apparently true for the co-worker of Philip. That confidence of salvation is everything.

  • Indeed Anzlyne. Larry was an unmixed blessing for my wife and me and he is still so. Death cannot conquer our love for him and his for us.

  • Anzlyne.

    My co-worker was a beautiful giver.
    She would ask the deceased family members if she could have one of his/hers favorite article of clothing. They would curiously give her a blouse or jacket. Then a week later, she would give the family a teddy bear she made out of the deceased clothing.
    She also made beautiful Easter eggs out of sugar and decorated them with thoughtful Crosses and faux gems.
    Her kindness and love will be missed in our Nursing home where she worked for three years.

    My friend/nurse and I gave our all on that fateful morn. When the EMS arrived we had 16 minutes filling her lungs and circulating her blood as best we could. The EMS worked another 15 minutes until finally a pulse was attained. We had high hopes however things did not go well.

    No one knows how long she was unconscious prior to being found cleaning a residents room. We gave her our best.

    Now some beautiful families will have had prayers answered by receiving her heart, her organs. I hope that the family will find Peace in that final offering.

  • Don, can I just say ditto to anzlyne? Your family is still in our prayers and we’re carrying a heavy heart for you.

  • Thank you RL. The prayers for us mean more to us than words can express.

  • I find it fascinating that a sick young man like Larry, having had a capacity that most of us would call diminished, can inspire more holiness, more love than all the theologians in the Church combined. There is nothing diminished in what you described above, Donald. Larry’s witness will now bear the fruit that God has foreordained. Romans 8:28-30.

  • Donald.
    As my wishes for you on the morning of Pentecost were for healing and peace, so too for today.
    By know means did I wish to belittle your broken heart. Sincerely our acts for others in need can become a healing balm for our soul.
    Your prayers for my friends family has that two fold benefit. That is not the intent however the love and mercy of God is undeniably infinite. My hope is that you have experienced the peace your prayers have offered to my friends family.
    Larry indeed is a Saint and working in souls around the world.
    Blessings.

  • “By no means did I wish to belittle your broken heart”

    Oh, I know that Philip. I have found all of your comments in regard to Larry on target and comforting.

  • What a poignant and heartfelt post and so characteristic of you to think of others in the midst of your grief. What-ifs are natural after such devastating events but I hope you will soon accept that if it had been God’s plan for you to respond, you would have responded. What sustained me when my wife died of breast cancer in 2004 was that, like Larry, she is in a better place and that the loss as great as it was, is ours not hers since she is in heaven.
    I can attest that you will frequently feel the peace and presence of Larry just as i have of Colette who is never far from my thoughts and. I believe, watches over me..
    One outcome of her death was my taking fa few years to write Colette’s Story about this wonderful woman for family and friends. Many were grateful saying “I laughed, I cried” in their notes of thanks.
    Your family can be assured that you are in the daily prayers of many.
    Best,
    Peter

  • My prayers for Colette Pete. Love is God’s great gift to all of us and it transcends death. Several years ago I had a client tell me that she spoke to her dead son every night. She asked me if I thought she was crazy. I told her that I was confident that she was entirely sane and that when you really loved someone you didn’t let death stand in the way of continuing to love him in the next world.

  • Wishing your family strength, peace and love from our Lord and Savior.

Quotes Suitable For Framing: George Washington

Tuesday, April 23, AD 2013

A contemplation of the compleat attainment (at a period earlier than could have been expected) of the object for which we contended against so formidable a power cannot but inspire us with astonishment and gratitude. The disadvantageous circumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such, as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unparalleled perseverance of the Armies of the U States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.  

George Washington

I love studying history, but one unfortunate feature of it is that one tends to learn of the flaws and mistakes of great men and women and that it lowers them in the esteem of the careful student of their careers.  I have not found that the case with Washington.  He certainly had flaws, a bad temper that he had to exert iron control over for example, and he made mistakes, as a study of his campaigns during the Revolution demonstrates.  However with Washington that is counterbalanced by what he accomplished in the teeth of immense odds, and his humility that made him relinquish power, something that inspired his adversary George III to hail him as the greatest man in the world.  God gave us a Washington when we most needed him and that, in the words of Washington, was, indeed, a standing miracle.

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Happy 281st Birthday General!

Friday, February 22, AD 2013

The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.

George Washington

This is the one hundred and tenth anniversary of the birth-day of Washington. We are met to celebrate this day. Washington is the mightiest name of earth — long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation. On that name, an eulogy is expected. It cannot be. To add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked deathless splendor, leave it shining on.

Abraham Lincoln

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One Response to Happy 281st Birthday General!

  • I will forgive Lincoln his hyperbole. I live 25 miles away from Sulgrave, where Washington’s ancestors came from. His name will always be remembered by those who love liberty, whatever their nationality.

George Washington, Howard Roark and George Bailey

Wednesday, December 26, AD 2012

[34] But the Pharisees hearing that he had silenced the Sadducees, came together:

[35] And one of them, a doctor of the law, asking him, tempting him:

[36] Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?

[37] Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.

[38] This is the greatest and the first commandment.

[39] And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

[40] On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets.

Matthew 22: 34-40

Joe Carter at Catholic Education Resource Center has a wonderful post entitled The Fountainhead of Bedford Falls, which compares the fictional characters Howard Roark and George Bailey:

Not surprisingly, Roark has become something of a cult figure, especially among young nerdy males entering post-adolescence. Although Roark is artistically gifted and technically brilliant, he prefers to take a job breaking rocks in a quarry than sell out to The Man. He provides a model for the underemployed, misunderstood, twenty-something misfit by choice. These see themselves in the uncompromising sulker, believing it better to vandalize and destroy than allow society to co-opt their dreams.

Rand herself would have certainly envisioned things differently. She would have sneered in disgust at the idea that Roark was anything like the slacker working at Starbucks the populists marching at Tea Parties. Her hero was a cross between the modernist architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the serial killer and child rapist William Hickman. Rand’s ideal was the nonconformist who exhibited sociopathic tendencies. She dreamed of the minority of brilliant, atheistic ubermensch who would “eventually trample society under its feet.” The vast majority of the people who read The Fountainhead might admire Roark, but they’d never emulate him.

Similarly, Capra’s audience flatters themselves by believing the message of Wonderful Life is that their own lives are just as worthy, just as noble, and just as wonderful’ as George Bailey’s. In a way, they are as delusional as the Randian Roark-worshippers. Despite the fact that they left their small-town communities for the city, put their parents in an assisted living facility and don’t know the names of their next door neighbors, they truly believe they are just like Capra’s hero.

Such delusions are the reason these characters have remained two of the most dominant archetypes of American individualism in pop culture. The pendulum of popularity is swinging back toward Rand but it’s Capra’s creation that should be our model for inspiration.

Roark is nihilistic, narrow-minded, and something of a bore. Bailey is far darker, more complex, and infinitely more interesting.

What makes George Bailey one of the most inspiring, emotionally complex characters in modern popular culture is that he continually chooses the needs of his family and community over his own self-interested ambitions and desires – and suffers immensely and repeatedly for his sacrifices.  

 Although sentimental, Capra’s movie is not a simplistic morality play. It’s true that the movie ends on a happy note late on Christmas Eve, when George is saved from ruin. But on Christmas Day he’ll wake to find that his life is not so different than it was when he wanted to commit suicide.

 He will remain a frustrated artist who is scraping by on a meager salary and living in a drafty old house in a one-stoplight town. All that has really changed is that he has gained a deeper appreciation of the value of faith, friends, and community – and that this is worth more than his worldly ambitions. Capra’s underlying message is thus radically subversive: It is by serving our fellow man, even to the point of subordinating our dreams and ambitions, that we achieve both true greatness and lasting happiness.

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46 Responses to George Washington, Howard Roark and George Bailey

  • “it is interesting how even in this often unjust world we see sin punished and virtue rewarded…”

    Well, not really. As Aristotle, the philosopher of common sense, saw, “the good” must be “our good” and, other things being equal, will lead to our flourishing. St Thomas, who agreed with Aristotle, notes that we only offend God, when we act against our own good [Non enim Deus a nobis offenditur nisi ex eo quod contra nostrum bonum agimus – ScG III. 122] How could it be otherwise?

  • Completely disagree MPS. Acting in a just manner is often short term detrimental. A simple example: a bank teller makes a mistake and gives you a 50 dollar bill instead of a 5 dollar bill. Returning the 50 to the teller is the right thing to do, but it deprives you of a windfall of 45.00. Philosophers often paint beautiful word pictures that often have only a passing resemblance to life.

  • “Virtue is its own reward.”

    As usual, IWL was aired on broadcast NBC on Christmas Eve. My (commie) ex-twin (my wife’s brother-in-law) emailed that the classic movie on TV and added a snide comment about “banksters.” Of course, every conservative and advocate for the private sector is “Mr. Potter.”

    My curt reply included a suggestion to concentrate on, and emulate, Bailey’s virtue and (firm grasp of the obvious) avoid Potter’s caricature evil.

    We are constantly confronted with choices: good or evil, life or death. Choose rightly.

  • 1. George Bailey does not suffer immensely. He has a portfolio of disappointments characteristic of middle-aged men.

    2. George Bailey is not particularly complex, just not unidimensional

    3. The catalyst for his suicide attempt is an act of embezzlement by the nefarious Potter for which he and his uncle are due to be blamed by bank examiners and the public prosecutor. It is actually a very implausible sequence of events, as is the solution. However, there is, in the course of the narrative, a solution, which is to say the problem will not be there in the morning.

    4. Despite George Bailey’s financial anxieties, the Bailey family is the most affluent depicted in the film, bar the bachelor Potter. George Bailey’s parents employ a domestic who appears to be in residence (proportionately much more common in 1928 than today), some amount of foreign travel is feasible on their income (uncharacteristic of the suburban bourgeois of 1968, much less 1928) and some amount of higher education in feasible. Please note, most youngsters between the ages of 14 and 18 were not (in 1928) enrolled in high school, much less have any opportunity for tertiary schooling.

    5. “Bedford Falls” is not a one-stoplight town. It has a taxi service, at least two banks, and specialty merchants. It was putatively inspired by Seneca Falls, N.Y., which is small but about 7x the size of real one-stoplight towns. It is also weirdly affluent by the standards of that time. The local high school has a swimming pool constructed under a gymnasium with a retractable floor.

    6. I have heard of elderly couples buffaloed into entering assisted living facilities by their relatives. I cannot imagine what the family dynamics must be in the situation I know best (bar that the oldest son is absolutely furious about the machinations of his niece and sister-in-law for which his accommodating brother was a conduit). That having been said, assisted living centers in New York, unlike nursing homes, are not places to where hospital patients are discharged either for rehabilitation care or because it is unsafe to send them home. You are not ‘put’ in assisted living. People elect assisted living after considering other alternatives. It is hideously expensive, and the residents therein are not typically gaga (which is to say under guardianship or readily manipulable), just suffering mobility problems. The clientele are the very small minority of the elderly with the retirement income (> $60 k a year) to pay for it or who calculate they will outlive their assets.

  • 1 Cor 13:3-7

    And if I distribute all my goods in order to feed the poor, and if I hand over my body to be burned, yet not have charity, it offers me nothing.
    Charity is patient, is kind. Charity does not envy, does not act wrongly, is not inflated.
    Charity is not ambitious, does not seek for itself, is not provoked to anger, devises no evil.
    Charity does not rejoice over iniquity, but rejoices in truth.
    Charity suffers all, believes all, hopes all, endures all.

    This is my problem with George Bailey. He’s depicted as a guy who does everything right, but he has no love. He has a short temper, he envies, and when he faces a major life challenge, he opts for suicide. I respect his actions, but he is a horrible human being.

    This article says that “if you really want to be happy in this world, and in the next, do good to others”. George Bailey is incredibly unhappy. Why? Take the scene where he nearly takes a job with Potter. He’s torn between two emotions: greed and anger. He wants the riches and power of Potter, but he also hates the man. I get no sense of love of principles, love of the town, desire to do right. The anger is targeted justly, but it doesn’t seem like righteous anger to me.

  • “He has a short temper, he envies,”

    He is also shown as loving, kind, humorous and courageous. In short he is a fairly typical human being with good moments and bad moments intermingled.

    “when he faces a major life challenge, he opts for suicide”

    No, he thinks of suicide. That is brought about by Potter’s statement that he is worth more dead than alive, and his desire to spare his family the shame of seeing him go to prison. (Never a real threat since the prosecution would have to prove embezzlement, not an easy thing to do, but this is overlooked in order to have the plot device to allow Clarence to show George how his life has been a force for good.)

    As for the job offer I think Bailey’s assessment of Potter is entirely accurate and his anger is justified. I suspect that some of the anger is directed at himself for being weak enough to be tempted by the offer without considering the impact on the savings and loan:

    GEORGE
    Well, what about the Building and Loan?

    POTTER
    Oh, confound it, man, are you afraid of success? I’m offering you
    a three year contract at twenty thousand dollars a year, starting
    today. Is it a deal or
    isn’t it?

    GEORGE
    Well, Mr. Potter, I . . . I . . . I know I ought to jump at the
    chance, but I . . . I just . . . I wonder if it would be possible
    for you to give me twenty-four
    hours to think it over?

    POTTER
    Sure, sure, sure. You go on home and talk about it to your wife.

    GEORGE
    I’d like to do that.

    POTTER
    In the meantime, I’ll draw up the papers.

    GEORGE
    All right, sir.

    POTTER (offers hand)
    Okay, George?

    GEORGE (taking his hand)
    Okay, Mr. Potter.

    As they shake hands, George feels a physical revulsion. Potter’s
    hand feels like a cold mackerel to him. In that moment of
    physical contact he knows he
    could never be associated with this man. George drops his hand
    with a shudder. He peers intently into Potter’s face.

    GEORGE (cont’d –– vehemently)
    No . . . no . . . no . . . no, now wait a minute, here! I don’t
    have to talk to anybody! I know right now, and the answer is no!
    NO! Doggone it!
    (getting madder all the time)
    You sit around here and you spin your little webs and you think
    the whole world revolves around you and your money. Well, it
    doesn’t, Mr. Potter! In the . . . in the
    whole vast configuration of things, I’d say you were nothing but
    a scurvy little spider. You . . .

    He turns and shouts at the goon, impassive as ever beside
    Potter’s wheelchair.

  • He has a short temper, he envies, and when he faces a major life challenge, he opts for suicide. I respect his actions, but he is a horrible human being.

    Pinky, if that character as portrayed manifests your idea of a ‘short temper’, you have lived a very sheltered existence. He is dissatisfied with his own situation, but he envies no one. People threatened with immanent personal disasters sometimes contemplate suicide. It is unserious, verging on demented, to view this character as a ‘horrible human being’.

  • Art, it’s been a while since I watched it, and I could be off-base. Maybe there were scenes depicting him as a caring person that I’ve forgotten. My impression of the character was entirely negative. And wasn’t he envious of his brother? Didn’t he snap at his wife, his daughter, his uncle?

  • And wasn’t he envious of his brother?

    No. The only envious figure is Potter.

    Didn’t he snap at his wife, his daughter, his uncle?

    Husbands, fathers, and nephews have been known to snap at the people they live and work with. Again, can that possibly be your idea of a ‘horrible person’?

  • Perhaps I should have said “horrible man”. There are two traits that are most despicable in a man: self-pity and bullying. I see the entire movie (except for the last ten minutes) as a documentation of self-pity. When Bailey yells at his wife and daughter, he becomes a bully.

    I’m reminded of Kipling’s “If”. Bailey fails Kipling’s standards of being a man across the board, but fails no test more than this: “and lose, and start again at your beginnings / and never breathe a word about your loss”. I promised myself that I’d get through the Christmas season without getting into another anti-Bailey rant, but it jsut drives me crazy to see him treated as someone worth emulation.

  • #39 love thy neighbor as thyself.

    George was witness to his fathers deep love for neighbor. He told George; “you were born older.” Possibly an acknowledgment of the sons wisdom in matters of “deeper” things, like self sacrifice, and love of neighbor; brothers near drowning & wrong pills to pharmacist client.
    I believe George is portrayed as a struggling suffering servant, and I for one love his humanity, fallibility included.

  • “When Bailey yells at his wife and daughter, he becomes a bully.”

    No, he is a man confronting what he views as financial ruin and disgrace for his family and not knowing what to do. I have snapped at my wife and kids for far less, and apologized later for such outbursts. I do not regard myself as either a horrible man or a bully for such failings, but rather a man possessed of a temper which I do my best to control, usually successfully, but sometimes not. As for self pity, the next person I meet who has not engaged in that at some point in their life will likely be the first. We aren’t all born as paragons of virtue and gifted with iron self control, but the important thing is that we learn from our sins and mistakes, engage in contrition and do our best to amend our lives.

  • The very end is precious.

    …no man is a failure who has friends.

    Georges friends are born of respect for the man. The undeniably presence of a man with true conviction to see the poor as brothers, even to the point of protecting a feeble uncle.

    George has friends, more friends than acquaintances…..chumps?…not at all. Good will to men….indeed.

  • I have never read Fountainhead or watched the movie. I watch Its a Wonderful Life with my kids every Christmas. George is human (he has strengths and weakness, conflicting desires and emotions, just as we all do) and if his one outburst in 28 plus years makes him a horrible person then I am ten times more horrible. And will pay for it in purgatory or hell as God deems appropriate. It is a movie and uses plot devices that are not accurate but . . . my take away is that with God’s help all will work out for the best.

  • I love the post and the connection between George W and George B. I have never read Fountainhead; lots of info right in the Gary Cooper clip. (A while back I ordered and enjoyed the Gary Cooper movie about Sgt York because of your post)
    I agree with Michael PS, Augustine and St Thomas…and I don’t think they think of good as long or short term : ) but eschatologically.
    There may be another example that makes your point but Denying yourself a random windfall (much less one that was predicated on the mistake of another person that may negatively cost that other person…. A windfall that never really belonged to you is not really sacrificing anything that was was personally yours or really detrimental to your condition. Remaining at status quo while not getting an advance is not the same as a loss.
    I always learn so much from the discourse on this blog. Thank you Mr. McClarey and all the regulars!

  • Thank you for your interesting and thought-provoking piece, Mr. McClarey. Ironically, over at First Things, Patrick Deneen recently posted a piece interpreting ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ from a different angle. Deneen, no doubt, agrees with your thesis — love of God and neighbor is the ultimate ingredient for a good life — but challenges our common notions of ‘success’ and ‘ambitions’, as well as our (unfortunate) disdain of ‘small’ towns and human scale lives.

    I agree with Deneen and his ilk (read Frontporchrepublic.com for a more thorough idea of their view of a ‘good life’). If you’ve time to read First Things today, I’d be interested in your take.

    Regardless of whether you find time or are even interested in doing so, I think this is an opportune time to thank you (and all the contributors of this blog) for your time, energy and thoughts that are needed to sustain a blog. Although, of course, I don’t agree with every viewpoint expressed here, I find the discourse and wisdom imparted here encouraging and enlightening.

    God bless you and yours during this holy season!

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/12/itrsquos-a-destructive-life

  • “but challenges our common notions of ‘success’ and ‘ambitions’, as well as our (unfortunate) disdain of ‘small’ towns and human scale lives.”

    I agree that success comes in many shapes and sizes Justin, and having been raised in a town of 10,000 and having lived now in a village of 4,000 for 27 years and counting, I have a keen appreciation for the virtues of small town life while not being blind to the vices.

  • I agree with Deneen and his ilk (read Frontporchrepublic.com for a more thorough idea of their view of a ‘good life’). If you’ve time to read First Things today, I’d be interested in your take.

    You did not ask for mine, but I will give it to you anyway. Deneen’s thesis is overstated. Bailey’s real estate development does not ‘destroy’ the town. It is an appendage to the town that has a mix of agreeable and disagreeable features. You can schlep around small towns in Upstate New York and see the same deal: a marked contrast between pre-war and post-war development. It is much more manifest in commercial real estate than in residential housing, however, and the older housing stock is still there. Post-war urban planning has been a failure, by and large. Deneen might have explored why such development was attractive to producer and consumer alike. That sort of inquiry would be incongruent with striking attitudes (which seems to be the main purpose of Front Porch Republic).

  • Deneen, no doubt, agrees with your thesis — love of God and neighbor is the ultimate ingredient for a good life — but challenges our common notions of ‘success’ and ‘ambitions’, as well as our (unfortunate) disdain of ‘small’ towns and human scale lives.

    You have confounded Deneen with Wendell Berry.

  • Pinky, I think you need to put the 19th c. verse aside and work on appreciating ordinary people. Just my $0.02.

  • Thank you for your response, Mr. McClarey and Mr. Deco.

    Mr. Deco: From my readings, Mr. Berry and Dr. Deneen are more similar than different — do you not agree?

  • If I recall correctly, First Things has had quite a few articles about city planning. It’s always nice to read an article that accuses George Bailey of things that even I wouldn’t, though.

    Art, we disagree about the movie.

  • Um, no, Pinky. We disagree about the propriety of certain emotional states. In the course of common-and-garden domestic life, people have words. Husbands and fathers who do not, on occasion, snarl and their wife or children are very unusual (or have very unusual children). And the notion that someone facing unjust criminal charges, civil liability, the loss of his livelihood, and social disgrace is ‘despicable’ for being in a state of distress about it is beyond flabbergasting. You were the one who made a to do about Sarah Palin’s ‘affect’ and now you are complaining that fictional character has any affect at all. What do you expect George Bailey to do, sing “Put on a Happy Face” and dance around the room with royal blue chickens, like one of the felt characters on Sesame Street?

  • Mr. Deco: From my readings, Mr. Berry and Dr. Deneen are more similar than different — do you not agree?

    Yes and no. Wendell Berry had a tour in academe, but he has spent the bulk of his adult life farming in Kentucky. He da man in a way Dr. Deneen can never be. (I think Berry is wrong to the degree he argues agrarian life is economically and socially viable for aught but a small minority given contemporary technology, but that is a different issue). I would be more impressed with the Front Porch crew if they were not so self-conscious about differentiating themselves from ‘them’ (that would be folk like Messrs. McClarey, Zummo, &c.), not so fixated on anyone within three-degrees-of-separation of William Kristol, were willing to knock-it off with chuffering about ’empire’, and actually concerned themselves vociferously with the true injuries to place (bad urban planning), limits (sexual misconduct and the misuse of divorce courts), and liberty (the mundane abuses of public prosecutors and family court judges). Not holdin’ my breath.

  • Art, we all have moments of self-pity. But that doesn’t make it any less pathetic. Bailey was beaten by a bully, and he fell into self-pity and bullying himself. Don’t expect me to laud it. Palin was beaten by a bully, and her supporters fell into self-pity and bullying. Don’t expect me to laud that either. Part of life is taking a punch. If you hire an incompetent uncle or run for VP with only two years of high-level experience, you’re going to get hit. Don’t feign surprise at it.

  • “and dance around the room with royal blue chickens, like one of the felt characters on Sesame Street?”

    Comment of the month Art!

  • Art, we all have moments of self-pity. But that doesn’t make it any less pathetic. Bailey was beaten by a bully, and he fell into self-pity and bullying himself. Don’t expect me to laud it.

    Pinky, you used terms like ‘horrible’ and ‘despicable’ to describe a man in quite unremarkable emotional states while facing unusual threats.

    Palin was beaten by a bully, and her supporters fell into self-pity and bullying.

    Who? You need to be able to distinguish between ‘self-pity’ and disgust or exasperation. You need to distinguish between argument, complaint, and ‘bullying’? You do not.

    Don’t expect me to laud that either. Part of life is taking a punch. If you hire an incompetent uncle or run for VP with only two years of high-level experience, you’re going to get hit. Don’t feign surprise at it.

    Actually, Gov. Palin’s background (11 years as a public executive) compared favorably with that of Barack Obama, Joseph Biden, John Edwards, and John Kerry (collective executive experience = zero). The following national candidates have put in comparable time (or more time) as a line administrator than Gov. Palin (summing time in public and private sector posts): Richard Cheney, George W. Bush, Ross Perot, James Stockdale, Lloyd Bentsen, George H. W. Bush, Sargent Shriver, Dwight Eisenhower, Earl Warren, John Bricker. That is no where near a majority of those who have run in the last 70 years. You are free to offer opinions on the weight of public sector experience v. private sector experience and of experience at various levels and with various quanta of people working under you. It is a bit rich though, for someone like Charles Fried to argue that Palin was so unprepared it justified a ballot for Barack Obama, whose work as an executive consisted of running the Chicago Annenberg Challenge into the ground. Of course, Fried could have argued she needed to have been a federal official to earn his vote (Obama’s two and a half years as an undistinguished working Senator being so valuable), though had he done so he would also have to explain why he accepted a post in the Reagan Administration, given that Mr. Reagan’s preparation for the office was strictly in Sacramento. Fried is a law professor. He argues for a living. At least that’s what I’ve heard. (Was the foregoing paragraph ‘self-pitying’ or ‘bullying’, btw?

  • By the way, Pinky, the name of the firm in the film is “Bailey Brothers Building and Loan”. Although the company was formally incorporated, it was founded by the uncle. (btw, there are people in this world who have performance problems but who can still be valuable).

  • I was never going to comment here again, but something Philip wrote struck me: “The very end is precious….no man is a failure who has friends.”

    Authentic Christians have friends.

    Liberals, progressives, libertarians, Ayn Rand objectivists, dope smoking legalizers, anti-nuclear activists, etc. – do they have friends?

    I used to read Ayn Rand. But it affected my thinking. So I stopped reading her works. I watched the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” many times. I never read anything into it other than a wonderful moral theme, just the opposite of the selfish individualism of liberalism, libertarianism and objectivism that glorifies ego and the right to choose ahead of everything, including God, one’s neighbors, personal responsibility and integrity.

  • “Authentic Christians have friends.

    Liberals, progressives, libertarians, Ayn Rand objectivists, dope smoking legalizers, anti-nuclear activists, etc. – do they have friends?”

    Of course not, Paul. None of them have any friends, and they all hate their families too. And none of them could possibly be Authentic Christians either! You have to be a registered Republican to earn that distinction.

  • Check-Check, JL.

    Christians love those that hate them and pray for those that persecute them. I think PWP was communicating that.

    And, he was being charitable in performing Spiritual Works of Mercy: “Admonish the sinner” and “Instruct the ignorant.”

    In his way, PWP is trying to save souls. That is charity.

  • JL,

    I am not a registered Republican. I joined the Constitution Party because its platform more closely conforms to Church teaching than that of any other.

    http://www.constitutionparty.com/Portals/0/Images/National%20Platform%20Full%20Version.pdf

    Thank you, T. Shaw, for the support.

  • Of course not, Paul. None of them have any friends, and they all hate their families too. And none of them could possibly be Authentic Christians either!

    Do you have hobbies other than maladroit sarcasm?

    Actually, if you read accounts of the dynamics of the social circle around Ayn Rand prior to its implosion in 1968, you can see the question of whether or not they could at that point form and maintain non-pathological friendships is a serious one. People whose lives revolve around drug use generally socialize with fellow addicts as well (and they exploit each other for their next fix).

    You have to be a registered Republican to earn that distinction.

    Falls kinda flat. A number of the regulars here have been contending for years with seamless-garment / peace-and-justice hucksters who have been maintaining just the converse or twisting themselves into knots to excuse the Democratic Party.

  • Paul,

    Apologies for the errant assumption. I think the point still sticks, namely that a particular party affiliation, or lack thereof, is not necessarily the best indicator of “Christian Authenticity.”

    Art,

    I play the banjo, too. But that’s basically it. Sarcasm and bluegrass.

    Of course objectivists are a messed up bunch, but not sure how te others are indicted as incapable of maintaining friendships. And not everyone who is for the legalization of drugs makes drug use the central pillar of their life, so I reject that mischaracterization.

    And I think the point does NOT fall flat. Being a Republican does not make you a good Christian. Not being a Republican does not make you a good Christian. Being a good Christian makes you a good Christian.

  • And I think the point does NOT fall flat. Being a Republican does not make you a good Christian. Not being a Republican does not make you a good Christian. Being a good Christian makes you a good Christian.

    Since you are criticizing something no one asserted implicitly or explicitly, the point falls flat.

    A generation ago, John LaFalce could get about a quarter of the House Democratic Caucus to sign a pro-life petition of sorts. Three years ago, Bart Stupak rounded up a grand total of 5% of the House Democratic Caucus for an interim period of resistance to an extension of public provision of abortion. Outside of Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, the Democratic Party is rotten all the way down. Too bad, but that’s the deal. Recognizing that forecloses some political stances (stances preferred by the peace-and-justice poseurs, the “Catholic” higher education establishment, and sundry Church-o-crats). It does not require other stances. I will cast a ballot for members of my local Democratic caucus if they are tasked with making decisions about land use plans or the fire department budget; if their preferred candidates are tasked with decisions about Medicaid expenditure or matrimonial law, forget it.

  • I mostly agree with JL. However, people who put their personal freedom to choose first – for example, the overwhelming majority of objectivists, libertarians, liberals, progressives and Democrats – are by definition NOT Christian. Given the pro-abortion platform of the Libertarian and Democratic Parties, one wonders how a person can be either Libertarian or Democrat and have a legitimate claim to being authentically Christian. To get back to the point of the post, Ayn Rand’s heroes are selfish SOBs full of intellectual arrogance. But “It’s A Wonderful Life” shows a very opposite attitude of humility and gratitude. Those virtues, very Christian indeed, have never been the hallmark of any objectivist, libertarian, liberal, progressive or Democrat. I will concede that few Republicans possess them either, but overall they have a better chance. That being said, “Being a good Christian makes you a good Christian.”

  • Paul-

    If it’s on a bumper sticker……
    “Pro- Woman, Pro-Choice & Pro-Family.”
    ……..then it must be true.

    When it comes right down to it, I am so very happy that we will be judged by God. Could you imagine being judged by man?

    God knows the heart of man. Our witness to love and our imperfect applications to serve our neighbor including our intent, will speak volumes on that great and terrible day. I too like the movie, and the heart of an imperfect George Baily.

  • Perhaps you are correct, Philip, nevertheless I am reminded of the admonition of Hebrews 10:30-31 – “30 For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

  • Paul-
    Prov. 8:17; “I love them that love me: and they that in the morning early watch for me, shall find me.”

    As for me, I will continue to grope for him, and continue on this path knowing full well that the more I decrease the more He may increase in me and that Anything that is good and holy from me is not mine, for His works are good, His are Holy, and not mine.

    T.Merton; “Perhaps if I only realized that I do not admire what many admire I would begin to Live afterall. I would be liberated from the painful duty of saying things I do not think, and acting in ways that betrays Gods truth and the integrity of my own soul.”

    Living simply and trying to walk humbly.
    May all of our walks lead to eternal rest in The Sacred Heart.
    I’m glad your back Paul. I enjoy reading the many learned insights you and many other participants bring to TAC.

  • Thanks, Philip. I have to continuous learn your motto:

    “Living simply and trying to walk humbly,” along with steering clear of anti-nuclear activists. 😉

    Somebody reminded me today that God is so awesomely holy that we should be on flat on our face prostrate in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. What you said applies: “As for me, I will continue to grope for him, and continue on this path knowing full well that the more I decrease the more He may increase in me and that Anything that is good and holy from me is not mine, for His works are good, His are Holy, and not mine.”

    PS, I love TAC, but loathe anti-nuclearism almost as much as I do liberalism.

  • Your welcome Paul.
    All of us have our “anti-nuclear” challenges.
    For some it’s the acceptance of others that flaunt their sin publicly. The acceptance that they we’re made in Gods image, and we must accept them as Gods handiwork, however never accepting their lifestyle, or sin.
    All of life on Earth is testing ground.
    Praise Jesus.

  • Paul,

    I’m curious what you mean when you say “anti-nuclearism.” Could you expand?

  • JL, I am referring to “anti-nuclear energy”. I have worked in commercial nuclear power for 30+ years as a submarine reactor operator, an instrumentation and controls technician, a radiation monitoring systems engineer, a digital design engineer, an engineering training instructor, and a software QA specialist. I have taught Pressurized and Boiling Water Reactor Systems training as well as a variety of instrumentation and controls training courses. Nuclear energy is safe, clean and cheap, even including Fukushima where only 6 people died compared with 1700 lives lost in a nearby dam collapse from the earthquake. A blogger here at TAC would not accept reasoned arguments with backup from reputable sources such as the IAEA, the US NRC, NEI, WANO, etc. He denigrated me as some nit wit on the Internet, and defaulted to that vaunted excess of liberal anti-nuclear intelligentsia called Academia which in practice knows nothing about this complex subject. The facts that coal fired power plant pollution (that he supports) releases more radiation in the form of radium, uranium and thorium meant nothing to him. The fact that coal pollution kills 30000 people annually in the US from air pollution was irrelevant to him. He could not be reasoned with and all the web links to reputable scientific sources were useless. I can’t abide stuff like that. I know what happened at Fukushima, Chernobyl, TMI and Windscale. I teach training courses on those accidents, and they pale in comparison to the tens of thousands of lives lost from dam collapses and fossil fuel pollution. Logic and science mean nothing to either libertarian or liberal. They are so full of their intellectual self-confidence that they will reject any authority because by goodness, they are so darned smart! Ok, you asked, JL, And that’s my answer. BTW, if you want to know who I am, look me up on LinkedIn. There are not too many Paul Primaveras over there who work in nuclear. My critic here, decrying me as just another net bot, went by a pseudonym, not even his real name, refusing to divulge who he really is. Well, you can easily find out who I am and verify that I am not lying. I believe in science the same way that I believe in the Bible. Because it’s true. It’s that simple.

  • And PS, the best nuclear weapon is one whose uranium or plutonium is being recycled as fuel in a commercial nuclear reactor, forever making it unavailable for weapons use!

  • Paul, rest assured that at least one contributor here very much appreciates your reason and knowledge when it comes to nuclear energy.

  • Thank you, Paul Z. I know that you and Donald and many of the rest are among the best. And I like this post of Donald’s, how it contrasts the hubris of objectivism and libertarianism with the humility and gratitude of old fashion Americana, which is how I feel about “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

The Father of Our Country and the Almighty

Sunday, November 25, AD 2012

Today is the feast day of Christ the King in the Catholic Liturgical Calendar, signaling the ending of the Church year.  On this date my thoughts turn to April 30, 1789 when President George Washington commenced the government of the United States under its new Constitution with the first inaugural address.  Below is the address.  Pay special attention to the second paragraph where Washington acknowledges the role of God in bringing about the American Republic and his final paragraph where he states that America depends upon God’s cotinued blessing: so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

AMONG the vicissitudes incident to life no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the 14th day of the present month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining years—a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary as well as more dear to me by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with despondence one who (inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpracticed in the duties of civil administration) ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies. In this conflict of emotions all I dare aver is that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circumstance by which it might be affected. All I dare hope is that if, in executing this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendent proof of the confidence of my fellow-citizens, and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and untried cares before me, my error will be palliated by the motives which mislead me, and its consequences be judged by my country with some share of the partiality in which they originated.

 

 

Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities from which the event has resulted can not be compared with the means by which most governments have been established without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence.

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Thanksgiving Proclamation: 1795

Thursday, November 22, AD 2012

When we review the calamities which afflict so many other nations, the present condition of the United States affords much matter of consolation and satisfaction. Our exemption hitherto from foreign war, an increasing prospect of the continuance of that exception, the great degree of internal tranquillity we have enjoyed, the recent confirmation of that tranquillity by the suppression of an insurrection which so wantonly threatened it, the happy course of our public affairs in general, the unexampled prosperity of all classes of our citizens, are circumstances which peculiarly mark our situation with indications of the Divine beneficence toward us. In such a state of things it is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience.

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6 Responses to Thanksgiving Proclamation: 1795

  • Happy Thanksgiving all!

    This year I give thanks for recent national events which led me back to prayer (any moment not encumbered with worldly labors) and to the Truth. The Truth that this vail of tears in which we (poor, banished children of Eve) exist is not our true home. The Truth that some day we may enter our true, happy home with Christ, who by His Life, Death, and Resurrection purchased for us the rewards of eternal life.

    “Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the Promises of Christ.”

    Now, the cooking begins. And, dig in!

  • Happy Thanksgiving to you to T.Shaw and to all contributors, commenters and readers of TAC.

  • Pingback: THANKSGIVING DAY SPECIAL | Big Pulpit
  • Did he have two speeches like this? Here he assigns it to Nov. 26th.

    “Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be — That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks — for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation — for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war — for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed — for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.”

    Read more: EDITORIAL: Rendering our sincere thanks – Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/21/rendering-our-sincere-thanks/#ixzz2D0KU12ZD
    Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

    And sort of run-on sentences.

  • AMERICAN SPIRIT STILL LIVES!

    The true American spirit will always live – I know why.
    Liberty and religious freedom are ever our cry.
    Don’t let a day pass without honor for the God we trust.
    To aspire for salvation must always be our main thrust.

    The hour of visitation must never be forgotten.
    Without trust in God, our nation could not be begotten.
    We must ensure that Christianity again prevails.
    Without the God of Abraham our basic nature fails.

    The liberty ball is silent – freedom we still ensure.
    In the hearts of Americans it will always endure.
    I will fly Old Glory when our nation is again free.
    Socialism leads a nation into ignominy.

    Now, the nation my military career defended,
    has by traitorous American votes been upended.
    A grave sin was committed against unborn human life.
    God’s Justice surely demands vengeance and eternal strife.

    When spirit seems at its very worst, patriots heed the call.
    They know what made liberty and freedom refuse to fall.
    The American dream, now in default, we must revive,
    Only with revived trust in God can our nation survive.

    Bob Rowland
    X1/XVIII/MMXII

Militia Immediately Prior to the American Revolution

Monday, November 12, AD 2012

In the first post in this series on militia in the American Revolution, which may be read here, we looked at American militia in the Colonial period. In the years following the French and Indian War, as Great Britain and her colonies increasingly clashed, several of the colonies began to beef up their militias as an armed clash with Great Britain moved from unthinkable to likely. Massachusetts took the lead in this process with the formation of minutemen companies. This was not an innovation. The Massachusetts militia had fielded minutemen companies since 1645. These were young men, no more than 30, chosen for their physical strength and endurance, and formed into picked companies.

The necessity for putting the Massachusetts militia on a war footing was underlined in 1774. General Thomas Gage was appointed military governor of Massachusetts in early 1774. He embarked on a campaign to disarm the Massachusetts militia. In an event that is largely forgotten today but was a huge event throughout the colonies in 1774, on September 1, 1774 Gage sent an expedition of British troops to seized the powder at the arsenal located in Sommerville, Massachusetts. The British succeeded in their mission and almost started the Revolutionary War. Militia units formed up in alarm throughout Massachusetts and surrounding colonies in New England, thinking that a war had begun while wild rumors flew, and it was several days before calm was restored. This Powder Alarm caused the militia in Massachusetts and the colonies to take steps to protect their arsenals for fear of a deliberate British policy to disarm them and leave them helpless before the redcoats. The stage was set for Lexington and Concord.

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One Response to Militia Immediately Prior to the American Revolution

  • “General Thomas Gage was appointed military governor of Massachusetts in early 1774. He embarked on a campaign to disarm the Massachusetts militia.”

    May be the reason so-called progressives have been trying to judicially repeal the Second Amendment for most of the past 100 years. Destitue, disarmed depressed dependents are easier to control.

Remember, Remember

Monday, November 5, AD 2012

The idiotic anti-Catholic celebration of Guy Fawkes Day , observed each November fifth, was effectively ended in America during the Revolution, in large part due to George Washington.  Here is his order on November 5, 1775:

As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope–He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada.

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11 Responses to Remember, Remember

  • I’m beginning to think that Communist propaganda has nothing on the older Protestant variety. Apparently its all harmless fun; burning Guy Fawkes in effigy, taunting Catholics as Papists until one realises that Cromwell was a murderous maniac and the Tudor Settlement of Ireland was nothing but a massive land grab by the genocidal Puritans.

  • If only people remembered it for that, at least it would be something outside the 5 minute attention span of modern British people. Outside of Lewes, which burns the Pope, and various other infamous dignitaries in effigy, there is more concentration of having an excuse to let off fireworks for over a month, and have a night out, weather permitting.
    Since encountering the Libertarian movement online, I have been confused at the fact that Guido is hailed as some sort of freedom fighter – probably to be played by Mel Gibson in any film version – rather than a monarchist who wanted to reinstate what he and others saw as the legitimate monarch of Britain. Sadly, the Papacy’s earlier fatwa – sorry, encyclical – against Elizabeth didn’t really set the tone for future relations, as it really became a life or death matter, especially for young Catholics, who subsequently went to Europe and got radicalised. Gosh, I’m sorry, how the language of today slips in 😉
    I am reading through Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty, and of course Catholics didn’t have it much better in the colonies, outside of Rhode Island (for a while).

    I’m not sure there is right or wrong fully on either side. Nationalism was rising and clashing with the Empire of yesterday, and people could be forgiven for not adapting sooner to the changes, or for thinking the new social movement was actually about liberty, rather than a redistribution of power from one clerical power to another.

  • “I am reading through Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty, and of course Catholics didn’t have it much better in the colonies, outside of Rhode Island (for a while).”
    Pennsylavania was tolerant of Catholics, and in Maryland Catholics could worship although they could not participate in government. Our glorious Revolution of 1776 began to change all that with lightning speed.

    “Sadly, the Papacy’s earlier fatwa – sorry, encyclical – against Elizabeth”

    No need for ahistorical childishness. Elizabeth treated Catholics as a criminal class that the government could imprison, dispossess and execute as it so pleased. Guy Fawkes and his compatriots had the amazing thought that Catholics should not be treated as criminals for wishing to follow the religion of their forefathers.

  • Ivan-
    I’m actually kind of glad that my public school history classes were so horribly bad; I didn’t have a lot of the “known” stuff to overcome when I found out it was, shocker, just anti-Catholic and/or anti-Religious mythology.

    People always see reason for ahistorical childishness when they don’t have anything better to support their views. It’s like being funny, without having to actually be witty.

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  • You’re right of course Donald, although I have seen both sides, having been Baptist until recently when I began my conversion. The Tudors persecuted Baptists as well as Catholics. However, the resistance to Elizabeth from Rome was not because of her treatment of individual catholics (after all, Protestants met the same fate in Europe, under Mary, and even under Henry VIII if they weren’t the right kind), but her survival of an uprising by catholics who sought to use force to unthrone her, much as the later 1605 plot hoped.

    Guido Fawkes was engaged in actions designed to reinstate a Catholic monarch, but if the plot had succeeded then persecution of Protestants would have been just as virulent. No one has clean hands from that time, except probably the Quakers.

    I’m sorry, i didn’t realise I needed my sense of humour removed once I became a catholic.

    Btw Pennsylvania as an English colony came later. Maryland ended up with a Protestant majority, and catholicism was outlawed after 1688 by the otherwise much vaunted William of Orange. There was also persecution of catholics in Maryland in the 1650s during the Commonwealth.

  • “However, the resistance to Elizabeth from Rome was not because of her treatment of individual catholics (after all, Protestants met the same fate in Europe, under Mary, and even under Henry VIII if they weren’t the right kind), but her survival of an uprising by catholics who sought to use force to unthrone her, much as the later 1605 plot hoped.”

    After her accession Elizabeth played a clever game for some years in which it could be hoped by the Church that she would eventually restore Catholicism or at least tolerate it. Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558 and the bull Regnans in Excelsis of 1570 could be regarded as a tardy recognition of the fact that Elizabeth was an enemy of the Church. In the crushing of the Howard rebellion in 1569 she had some 750 of the rebels excuted, a fairly bloody action even for those sanguinary times. In the face of such an action I do not see what any Pope could do other than to recognize reality.

    Your assumption about what Guy Fawkes and his compatriots would have done in regard to persecuting Protestants is just that, an assumption. Considering the power of Protestants in England I rather think they would have called for toleration, if only as a means of survival.

    “Btw Pennsylvania as an English colony came later. Maryland ended up with a Protestant majority, and catholicism was outlawed after 1688 by the otherwise much vaunted William of Orange. There was also persecution of catholics in Maryland in the 1650s during the Commonwealth.”

    Yes, I have a passing familiarity with American history, as several hundred posts on this blog can attest, along with several hundred additional posts on my American history blog Almost Chosen People. The Catholics in Maryland passed the Edict of Toleration in 1649, would that their example had been followed by their Protestant brethren after they came to power.

  • Food for thought:

    Betsy Newmark (a teacher, I think) quoted at Instapundit: “Given that Guy Fawkes [Gunpowder Conspiracy] was part of a Catholic conspiracy against Protestants, here is an interesting observation that occurred to me if Romney should win and the Democrats maintain control of the Senate: in that scenario, there would be no Protestants at the top levels of any of our three branches of government. Romney and Reid are Mormons; Ryan, Boehner, and Durbin (Majority Whip) are Catholics, and Eric Cantor, the Majority Leader of the House is Jewish. And the Supreme Court has three Jews and six Catholics. Think about that in the context of the history of prejudice against Catholics, Mormons, and Jews in our nation’s history. Having just talked about nativism in 19th century U.S. history, I find this factoid simply amazing – in some ways, just as eye-opening as the first African-American president.”

  • Foxfier,

    Its easy to figure out that there is a pattern to the vilification of Catholics. Guy Fawkes conspired to return the Pope’s authority, that of a foreigner over England and thus should be abhorred by all true Englishmen, but when Protestant schemers some eighty years invited another foreigner William of Orange to overthrow a lawful king, James II, that should count as a patriotic act to thwart Catholic autocracy. Living under autocracy sounds terrible until one realises that for the ordinary Briton it would have made little difference whether he was leveed by the King or by some usurping earls or thieves such as Raleigh or some other pirate. Limitless greed for the Church’s wealth fired much of the reforming zeal of the Protestants.

  • Ivan-
    you have to realize it’s a possibility before you can see the pattern, and even if you know it’s possible, you have to have more information than we were offered.

    Even in American history, we never got into what religion this or that official type person was; Fawks would’ve been mentioned as Catholic, just to tie him to the Catholic Irish Terrorists (no mention of anyone being Protestant, just not-Catholic) and the myths about “the Crusade and Inquisition” were pretty much assumed.

    Folk history.

  • Heck, I didn’t even know until some guy over on Ricochet tried to defend the then-King Fawks was going to attack by demanding to know how many folks had been harassed between James becoming king and the plot being caught. Three known martyrs in the two years, for things like “being a priest.” I knew that property could be taken, and similar things, but didn’t realized being caught as a priest was automatic death– and that helping one was likewise, unless you recanted. (and that’s before one gets into the theory that it was all a setup to make James hate Catholics, in part because they used gun powder, which was supposedly a state monopoly.)

Fortnight For Freedom Day Eight: Catholics and the Father of our Country

Thursday, June 28, AD 2012

 

Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom:

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

 

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

 

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

 

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the eighth of these blog posts.

America has been blessed by God in many ways but I suspect no blessing has been greater than His granting us George Washington to lead us in our struggle for independence and to be our first President.  Catholics have perhaps more reason than other Americans to keep the memory of Washington alive in our hearts.  In a time of strong prejudice against Catholics in many parts of the colonies he was free from religious bigotry as he demonstrated on November 5, 1775 when he banned the anti-Catholic Guy Fawkes celebrations.

“As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope – He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada.”

Order in Quarters, November 5, 1775

– George Washington

This stand against anti-Catholicism was not unusual for Washington.  Throughout his life Washington had Catholic friends, including John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the US.  He would sometimes attend Mass, as he did during the Constitutional Convention when he led a delegation of the Convention to attend Mass in Philadelphia as he had attended Protestant churches in that town during the Convention.  This sent a powerful signal that under the Constitution Catholics would be just as good Americans as Protestant Americans.

Washington underlined this point in response to a letter from prominent Catholics, including Charles and John Carroll, congratulating him on being elected President:

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2 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day Eight: Catholics and the Father of our Country

  • The oath of office which George Washington took – an oath which Barack Hussein Obama has never believed in, does not now believe in and will never believe in. May God have mercy on this nation and deliver us from such a reprobate of depravity, iniquity and idolatry.

  • The words of George Washington bring tears to my eyes. Would that we could be blessed with such a leader again.
    I think he is a saint, really.
    Maybe he’ll pray for us from where he is.

Brits Vote for Washington as Greatest Enemy

Monday, April 16, AD 2012

No, not our government, the general. (Though they’d be forgiven for thinking so based on some things this administration has done.)

He’s one of our Founding Fathers, but according to the Brits, George Washington is public enemy #1.

Our nation’s first president, who led the 13 colonies in the Revolution against England’s tyrannical rule, was picked by a wide margin in a National Army Museum in London poll as the greatest foe ever faced by Britain.

Washington delivered one of “the most jarring defeat(s)” ever inflicted upon the British Empire at the time, said author and historian Stephen Brumwell, according to London’s Telegraph.

“He was a worthy opponent,” he said.

Washington was selected among five other finalists, who were picked during an online poll that received at least 8,000 votes. The four other potential British foils were Ireland’s Michael Collins, France’s Napoleon Bonaparte, Germany’s Erwin Rommel, and Turkey’s Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

At least somebody still respects winners.

H/t: Stacy McCain.

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15 Responses to Brits Vote for Washington as Greatest Enemy

  • Great minds and all of that Paul. I have a post on this for Almost Chosen People on this later in the week. King George III of all people paid the ultimate accolade to the Father of Our Nation:

    “The king asked his American painter, Benjamin West, what Washington would do after winning independence. West replied, “They say he will return to his farm.”

    “If he does that,” the incredulous monarch said, “he will be the greatest man in the world.””

    The first Catholic Bishop in the United States, John Carroll, from his eulogy on the death of Washington:

    “The last act of his supreme magistracy was to inculcate in most impressive language on his countrymen… his deliberate and solemn advice; to bear incessantly in their minds that nations and individuals are under the moral government of an infinitely wise and just Providence; that the foundations of their happiness are morality and religion; and their union among themselves their rock of safety… May these United States flourish in pure and undefiled religion, in morality, peace, union, liberty, and the enjoyment of their excellent Constitution, as long as respect, honor, and veneration shall gather around the name of Washington; that is, whilst there still shall be any surviving record of human events!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2L052IJbg8&feature=related

  • I knew this one would be up your alley, Don.

    Of course Washington’s model was Cincinnatus. The Society of the Cincinnati is not far from my office.

  • For our part, side ways sort of, do we forgive Benedict Arnold?

  • I tend to agree with a captured American sergeant who Arnold asked in 1781 what would happen to him if we captured him. The sergeant replied that the leg he had wounded at Quebec and Saratoga would be cut off and buried with full military honors. The rest of him would then be hung on a very tall gibbet.

  • Shows how Britain is, sadly, a hollow shell of its past when we see this sort of thing. Fortunately, there is still a minority of people there who still remember the great days of “Rule Brittanica”, and hopefully will pull them out of the mire that is engulfing them.
    Of that list, Washington, Collins and Ataturk were fighting on their own land, in defense of it, or attempting to expel an aggressor – which Brittain was in those cases.
    Bonaparte and Rommell were agressors against England, and I suspect Bonaparte was the worst of the two.
    Had they said Hitler instead of Rommel, then he would have surpassed Bonaparte.

  • “Shows how Britain is, sadly, a hollow shell of its past when we see this sort of thing.”

    I actually took pride in it Don! A great nation like the UK needs a worthy greatest enemy. A homicidal maniac like Hitler or a jumped up Corsican lieutenant of artillery simply do not fill the role!

  • In my mind, Washington’s personal qualities set him head and shoulders above the others.

    His greatness was in his possession (in spades!) of all the human virtues. He was not a military genius nor a conqueror, a la Alexander or Atla.

    The image of Washington praying at Valley Forge. Read the history of the War of Independence and I think one must conclude that the Divine Assistance always was with the Continental Army and Congress.

    Supposedly, King George said, “Washington was the greatest man of his time.” when he was informed that Washington refused a crown.

    Michael Collin did not live long enough. The other nominees’ personal attributes pale in comparison to the Father of our Country. Yes, I am a “little” prejudiced.

  • Kiwi – the difference is in the use of the word “Greatest.” Not in the sense of “largest threat” but as in “Which of Britain’ victorious opponents would be held most admirable?”

    Had the question been “Who was Britain’s worst foe?” then Der Fuhrer would have certainly topped the list, followed somwhere closely by King Phillip II of Spain and Oliver Cromwell, methinks.

  • Just a point of clarification: the rankings are of military commanders only, so Hitler would not be eligible for this listing. And yes, the #1 ranking in this context is definitely a compliment.

  • It is as silly to sanctify Washington as it would be to canonize the Duke of Wellington. But as far as the USA is concerned he was the man for the hour, as Churchill, despite his shortcomings, was for England in 1940. Michael Collins is a more ambiguous figure. His statesmanship in the 1921 treaty negotiations is recognized, but his earlier assumption that Ireland’s freedom could only be achieved by bloody revolution has been questioned, and rightly so. Most of the victims of his terror campaign were Irish Catholics – the Royal Irish Constabulary was referred to disparagingly by Ulster protestants as the ‘Fenian Force’ . And the problem with Irish nationalism, that it is intimately bound up with extreme violence, is part of the Collins legacy which should not be glossed over.

  • The Iron Duke did not have the difficulties that Washington had John in simply keeping his army in existence, a point that I address today at Almost Chosen People.

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/valley-forge-rations/

    Also, unlike Washington, Wellington in his personal relations could be a nasty piece of work, as I am sure his wife would attest.

    In regard to Collins, Home Rule was never going to be granted to Ireland as long as Ulster was prepared to revolt against it, this being graphically demonstrated just prior to the onset of World War I. Churchill’s father’s quip in 1891 that “Ulster Will Fight, and Ulster Will Be Right” demonstrated just how long enduring and intransigient this sentiment was. Independence simply was not going to be granted without fighting, and Collins led the guerilla campaign which was the only avenue the Republicans had since a conventional conflict was hopeless for the Irish. Winston Churchill, who negotiated the peace with Collins, paid him this tribute after Collins’ death:

    “Successor to a sinister inheritance, reared among fierce conditions and moving through ferocious times, he supplied those qualities of action and personality with-out which the foundations of Irish nationhood would not have been re-established.”

  • One more feather in George Washington’s cap – he indirectly benefited Canada, Australia and New Zealand. After losing her thirteen American colonies, Britain became more lenient towards her colonial subjects.

  • Don, it’s ironic that Collins was more respected by the British than he was by many of his own countrymen. Having worked in England he had no animosity towards the English and had none of the religious bigotry which sadly still exists in the North. The point I was making was that what Collins settled for in 1921 was effectively what would have happened anyway (by 1914 the HR Bill had passed both houses of Parliament and the Unionists knew that the best they could hope for was an opt-out for Ulster protestants). In British political circles it was expected that partition would not last and that the six counties would merge with the rest of Ireland sooner rather than later.

    This point was not lost on the Ulster Unionists who with an eye on the demographic situation in the six counties, and ever-fearful of a sell-out by Westminster, spent the next fifty years entrenching their position by effectively treating the Catholics as second-class citizens. The hands-off approach of successive British governments (who after all had a duty to ensure that all citizens were treated fairly) unravelled in 1968. Even then, it was nearly four years before direct rule was imposed, by which time NI had descended into a vortex of terrorism and counter-terrorism, the main driving force for which was a newly resurgent IRA. This delayed the inevitable political settlement for over a quarter of a century.

  • I have long thought John that De Valera set Collins up by sending him to negotiate the peace. He knew that any peace that the British would agree to would be unacceptable to many Republicans which is why he did not go. Collins understood this, which is why as he was signing the peace treaty he said that he was signing his own death warrant. De Valera never said truer words than these:

    “I can’t see my way to becoming patron of the Michael Collins Foundation. It’s my considered opinion that in the fullness of time, history will record the greatness of Collins and it will be recorded at my expense”.

  • As, Don, I think it has been. I have on my bookshelf biographies of Collins and Dev by Tim Pat Coogan which I think are well-reseached and balanced. When Collins negotiated the treaty in 1921 he knew better than anyone that he was in no position to resume military operations against the British, although he soon had to undertake operations against the anti-treaty faction in Ireland – and it should be remembered that the ‘civil war’ claimed more lives than the so-called ‘war of independence’.

    Fast-forward seventy years. Gerry Adams, who had imbibed Irish republicanism and irredentism with his mother’s milk (but was as much a politician as a terrorist) realized that the ‘armed struggle’ was not only futile but counter-productive, and worked for a political settlement. He was the only man who could bring the Army Council round, and the stark truth was that PIRA had shot its bolt; riddled with informers, compromised by an increasingly sophisticated intelligence apparatus, its ‘military’ operations more and more difficult to execute, its lack of sophisticated weaponry, its lack of funds; this amounted to a comprehensive defeat.

140 Rallies Around Country Against HHS Mandate

Friday, March 23, AD 2012

22 Responses to 140 Rallies Around Country Against HHS Mandate

  • (Copied over from post below) Houston rally went very well – beautiful day, inspiring speakers. One young female speaker in particular who recognized the despicable tactic of the media and HHS supporters to change the narrative from religious freedom to banning contraceptives. She was not fooled, but unfortunately too many others are.

    Tough to estimate the crowd, several hundred at least. And very well behaved – vocal with cheers for the speakers, but no disruptive conduct at all. Lots of kids present too, mostly babies and elementary school age. An Orthodox priest, several Catholic nuns, Catholic priest and Protestant Minister (…walk into a rally…sounds like the intro of a joke).

    Four or five cops on hand, and essentially just sat in the shade, chatted with each other, and watched – not much for them to do.

  • Thank you for the first hand account c matt. Happy that it went so well!

  • Of course there wasn’t much for the police to do! These are peaceful demonstrations by peace-loving people, not harrassment and intimidation, looting and destruction by Occupy Wall Street fleabaggers!

  • Would go to the ones in my area– there are three that I know of– but 12 is the middle of nap time, and husband’s work isn’t anywhere near any of them to help wrangle two tired kids. Boo. :^(

    Glad it went well elsewhere.

  • Only about 300 people attended, in Tacoma Washington, but the sun was glorious and the five speakers encouraged the faithful to act with love and courage.

  • It’s great these rallies are going on, but isn’t this all going to be settled, for good or for ill, in the courts? As egregious Obama’s overreach is, isn’t this event anticipated for by the Founding Fathers, i.e., a system of checks and balances intended to correct such overreaches?

  • The Founding Fathers would have been astounded by the idea of a President having the power to simply order that employers provide anything. If a President acted in that matter, as a tyrant I believe they would have termed such an abuse of office by the Chief Executive, they would not have looked to the courts for a remedy. They would have looked to the people to preserve their liberty either at the ballot box or, in the final extremity, on the battlefield.

    “The people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived.”

    James Madison

  • Perhaps so, but I can’t help thinking we’ve had similar overreaches, such as FDR trying to pack the Supreme Court.

  • Odd you should mention that, tso, I’m re-reading “Liberal Fascism” right now and just got to the chapter of past examples of American-style fascism in our history….

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  • This was a front page story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer this morning: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2012/03/protesters_condemn_president_o.html

  • Right, because people like me don’t deserve medical insurance because we had an appendectomy. And people like my wife don’t deserve medical insurance because they quit drinking.

    If you want fascism, then I believe stupid Catholics don’t deserve medical insurance, because otherwise their children might survive to reproduction age.

  • And people like me don’t deserve medical insurance because we’re healthy, pay our own bills, were responsibly insured for years and simply can’t afford being charged more for one daughter than the entire family use to have to pay.

    Nothing quite like having to pay for pregnancy coverage on your two year old!

  • Incidentally lifewrecker, you’re just a troll. A not-very-skilled, flailing, lying troll.

  • Foxfier:
    “Nothing quite like having to pay for pregnancy coverage on your two year old!” Excellent post. Foxfire, especially if your two year old chooses to become a nun.

  • LW:

    What evidence do you have?

    Compared to what? Hint: in 2008, when gas cost $1.88 a gallon, 85% of Americans had (by their estimations) good health insurance. Under Obama hell care from 3 million to 20 million will not be able to keep their plans.

    How much will Obama hell care cost? Hint: the system will be dead on arrival. The cost estimate keeps rising each month into added trillions that America cannot afford.

    WTF are you talkng about?

    Other issues are the government ordering once-free Americans to buy something they don’t want; ordering the Church to break its beliefs; and seizing the people’s health care.

  • “If you want fascism, then I believe stupid Catholics don’t deserve medical insurance, because otherwise their children might survive to reproduction age.”

    Aptly named Lifewrecker, I will put up with a lot from a troll if the troll is entertaining or can argue well. Since you can do neither apparently, and are simply a boring bigot, I am dispensing with your troll services and banning you from this site.

  • Mr McClarey
    I think you should imbed some music, something grand like the Russin music, when you do the banning-

  • Not a bad idea Anzlyne, or perhaps this clip, 🙂 :

  • Today, I heard that FEMA will not help the tornado victims. How much healthcare does anybody think that they are going to get when Obama thinks you do not deserve healthcare unless you are being aborted, contracepted, sterilized, transgenderized or transhumanized?. You cannot even save your premiums because Obamacare will take them as penalties for not buying Obamacare. Freedom.

  • I had the privilege of being present in the belly of the beast – right outside the offices of DHHS, the office of Katherine Sibelius (a professed Catholic, in reality a traitorous apostate.) We joined 1,300 others including many from TFP and Non-Catholic Christians (one non-catholic cleric came all the way from South Korea, where his church has been praying for America), who respectfully joined us in praying our Lady’s Rosary – perhaps a little clumsy given their lack of familiarity with the mysteries and that they add the doxology to the end of the Lord’s Prayer (Pater Noster), which is odd since they are so intent on Sola Scriptura. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful testimony to God’s power, because Protestants, especially Evangelicals, would not have been caught dead praying with Catholics a generation or two ago. Two thing we can attribute to Obama and radical secularists in general: they have unified our bishops and are uniting Christians. God certainly has a keen sense of humor.

    All people of faith had better learn quickly that once the First Amendment is eroded, then we are one step away from wiping out the American Creed – that God gives rights, not government and that a right to life and free exercise of religion (not limited to worship) are the pillars of freedom. Roe v. Wade made killing babies legal as an option; PPACA makes killing babies not only legal but compulsory.

    We will not comply. Strengthen your faith, it will be tested like it never has been in our lifetime. Christ prevails! We win!

    Pray for SOCTUS, especially those who are Catholic. This week is more pivotal than the third week of January in 1973, almost 40 years ago.

  • Thank you, Mr. McClarey, for tossing that ignorant dupe out on his/her virtual ear. I only wish the weekend had not been so filled at my house, as I would like to have gotten a lick or two in, myself.

    I now imagine he/she will scuttle back to his/her troll village and proudly annouce that he/she has been tossed from another right-wing Religious blog – just another sign of how close-minded and oppressive people like us can be.

George Washington Celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day

Saturday, March 17, AD 2012

 

Throughout his life George Washington had a great deal of sympathy for the struggles of the Irish against their English rulers, seeing in those struggles a mirror for the American fight for independence.  Irish immigrants to America, Protestant and Catholic, were enthusiastic in their embrace of the American cause, and during the Revolutionary War many of the soldiers who served in the Continental Army were Irish or of Irish descent.  Therefore when General Washington heard in March 1780 that the Irish Parliament had passed free trade legislation, he issued the following general order to the Army on March 16, 1780:

The general congratulates the army on the very interesting proceedings of the parliament of Ireland and the inhabitants of that country which have been lately communicated;  not only as they appear calculated to remove those heavy and tyrannical oppressions on their trade but to restore to a brave and generous people their ancient rights and freedom and by their operations to promote the cause of America.

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7 Responses to George Washington Celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day

  • The Army was encamped in Morristown, New Jersey that March.

    This year the American veteran is the honoree. As ever, the 69th (now 165) Inf. will lead. Some of these brave soldiers served in Iraq and too many there gave the last full measure of devotion. Many daily are on duty around NY since 11 September.

    Except for the black-hearted occupiers in Ulster, both Catholic and Protestant Irishmen were for independence.

    The NY TV coverage just began.

    The first (on the planet) St. Patrick’s Day Parade was in Boston in 1737.

    The first NYC parade was 1762.

    According to accounts, the Irish Brigade during the CW, after Holy Mass of course, would host colorful celebrations on our Patron Saint’s Holy Day.

    Erin Go Bragh!

    Washington’s mother was Irish . . .

  • The video implies that George Washington was chosen to lead the Continental Army DESPITE never having led an army in the field. This is not altogether accurate. Washington had certainly led militia in battle. And after Braddock’s fall, command of his army fell to Washington. It was Washington’s leadership and calm demeanor and fortitude in leading the retreat of Braddock’s forces that likely saved them from complete annihilation.

    It would prove to be a well of experience that Washington would dip into time and again during the Revolution.

    Yes, Washington was chosen to command the Continental Army for his character, but it was a character that was famous throughout the colonies because of the reputation he had forged for himself during the retreat of Braddock’s army.

    Primarily, though, he was chosen because he was a Virginian with military experience, as opposed to a hot-headed New Englander.

  • “And after Braddock’s fall, command of his army fell to Washington. It was Washington’s leadership and calm demeanor and fortitude in leading the retreat of Braddock’s forces that likely saved them from complete annihilation.”

    True Jay, and what is more remarkable is that as a Virginia militia officer Washington had no place in the formal chain of command. He took command as a result of his courage and the fact that he was the only one who had a clue as to how to fend off the French attack and have the army conduct a fighting retreat. After the battle Colonel Dunbar of the Royal Army took command, but Washington and his Virginians were the heroes of the day as Braddock acknowledge before he died. Washington commanded the Virginia militia on the frontier for the remainder of the French and the Indian War. Washington was by far the most experienced American soldier in a land that lacked any regular army.

  • Speaking of Irish immigration to Amreikay (as the Irish often said) here’s the classic Paddy’s Green Shore, performed by the Irish folk singer Paul Brady:

  • But if at last our color should
    Be torn from Ireland’s heart,
    Her sons with shame and sorrow
    From the dear old sod will part.
    I’ve heard a whisper of a country
    That lives far beyond the say,
    Where rich and poor stand equal
    In the light of freedom’s day.

    Oh, Erin! Must we lave you,
    Driven by the tyrant’s hand?
    Must we ask a mother’s welcome
    From a strange but happy land?
    Where the cruel cross of England’s thralldom
    Never shall be seen
    And where in peace we’ll live and die
    A-wearing of the green.

  • Speaking of wearing of the green, today was the 61st annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Holyoke, MA. It lasted about three and a half hours televised on public tv. An estimated 400,000 – 500,00 were there. The route has been being lined with chairs since last Sunday. Last night, city blocks (the starting point of yesterday’s road race) were closed downtown for celebrators at party tents. Lots of green shamrocks painted on the streets and tee-shirts the color of the hat on the Wolfeken song for the runners. The parade had floats, colleens, area town and city officials, depts., schools, bands, the hospital, the Mummers, Rep. Neal and Sen. Olver.