Stream July 4th Exclusive: An Interview With George Washington
As a special treat to celebrate our nation’s birth, The Stream is particularly honored to have the chance to sit down and speak with the Father of our Nation, George Washington.
The interview took place at Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia, up the road from General Washington’s home in Mount Vernon.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
STREAM: It is such an honor to meet you and talk with you about America’s birth and the blessings of liberty.
But first, I have to note our surroundings. The ballroom at Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, some 8 miles up the road from your home at Mount Vernon. Gadsby’s was the longtime home of the Washington Birthnight Ball.
WASHINGTON: Dancing is so agreeable and innocent an amusement.
STREAM: I know. I married a dancer and you are quite the dancer yourself. Stories abound about how you would dance for three hours straight, dancing every set so that all the ladies might have the pleasure of dancing with you.
WASHINGTON: Alas! Our dancing days are no more.
STREAM: Still, it’s hard to imagine you having a social life, Commanding General of the Continental Army that defeated the British, First President of the United States. Honored as the Father of our Country.
WASHINGTON: Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country.
The Revolution and Independence
STREAM: Point well taken, sir. Let’s return to 1776. Why Independence then?
WASHINGTON: The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.
STREAM: So the colonies grew impatient with being under the thumb of the British crown. Declared Independence. Yet in 1776, the situation looked dire. You were a rag-tag army against the world’s most powerful army.
WASHINGTON: A Freeman, contending for liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.
STREAM: That’s what you told your troops two days before the signing of the Declaration. And they would eventually prove you right.
WASHINGTON: Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.
STREAM: But there were some very dark days. Do you remember what you wrote about your sleepless nights?
WASHINGTON: I do. “The reflection upon my Situation, & that of this Army, produces many an uneasy hour when all around me are wrapped in Sleep. Few People know the Predicament we are In. If I shall be able to rise superior to these, and many other difficulties, which might be innumerated, I shall most religiously believe that the finger of Providence is in it.”
STREAM: And sure enough, at Yorktown in 1783, victory was won. And to your credit, you gave credit where credit was due. Tell us about the role of God in our nation.
On God and Country
WASHINGTON: It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors.
And no People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People 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.
WASHINGTON: Do not let anyone claim tribute of American patriotism if they even attempt to remove religion from politics.
STREAM: We have responsibilities as individuals, too, to keep the main thing the main thing, right?
WASHINGTON: While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”
Building a Nation
STREAM: So through the Divine Hand of the Almighty God, our nation was born. But creating a new nation birthed in freedom, is no easy task.
WASHINGTON: To form a new Government, requires infinite care, & unbounded attention; for if the foundation is badly laid the superstructure must be bad.
STREAM: Thankfully, you and your fellow Founding Fathers provided a powerful foundation. That our rights derive from God, not man. That power lies with “We the People,” not rulers and governments. Yet, you all understood — unlike the progressives of our day — the follies, foils and fickleness of mankind. You set up checks and balances.
You, in particular, General Washington, pressed the importance of unity and the dangers of division.
WASHINGTON: If we mean to support the liberty and independence which have cost us so much blood and treasure to establish, we must drive far away the demon of party spirit and local reproach.
We are either a United people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all matters of general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a national character to support.
STREAM: National Character. This is important.
WASHINGTON: Citizens by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of AMERICAN, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.
However political parties may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
STREAM: So we have seen. Perhaps even more destructive, progressives today have launched a non-stop assault on the American character. Bombarding our children with the message that America is a bad place. And has been from the beginning.
WASHINGTON: Nothing is a greater stranger to my breast, or a sin that my soul more abhors, than that black and detestable one, ingratitude.
A United Citizenry
STREAM: You mentioned citizens “by choice.”
WASHINGTON: I had always hoped that this land might become a safe & agreeable Asylum to the virtuous & persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.
STREAM: But again, the key is unity. Assimilation. E Pluribus Unum. “From the many, one.” What Alexander Hamilton called “the harmony of ingredients.”
WASHINGTON: The policy or advantage of immigration taking place in a body — I mean, the settling of them in a body — may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the language, habits, and principles which they bring with them — good or bad. Whereas by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures, and laws: in a word, soon become one people.
STREAM: One people. One nation, under God, indivisible. With liberty and justice for all. I hate to end on a sour note, General Washington, but on this July 4th, your United States is far from that. We are back to those sleepless hours, a “predicament” where we desperately need the “finger of Providence,” the intercession of the Almighty God. Any hope you can offer?
WASHINGTON: A superintending Providence is ordering everything for the best, and that, in due time, all will end well. Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
STREAM: That’s our task here at The Stream. Are there any last thoughts you want to share about the Revolution and Independence Day?
WASHINGTON: The Man must be bad indeed who can look upon the events of the American Revolution without feeling the warmest gratitude towards the great Author of the Universe whose divine interposition was so frequently manifested in our behalf.
Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Stream, chief barista for The Brew and co-author, with John Zmirak, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration. You can follow him at @StreamingAl at GETTR, Gab, Parler, and now at TRUTH Social.