Newsflash from Washington, DC--August 3, 2009
Today we start an exiting new section of our news service called ‘In the A & D’(Interviews with the Alive & Dead).
The first interviewee is a very well known colonial American whose leadership, both on and off the field of battle, was crucial to the success of America as a nation. Dear readers it is an honor to present our first president, the father of our country, George Washington.
PMNS: Mr. President, it is--oh, do you prefer to be called General, or Mr. President?
PRES./GEN. WASHINGTON : It is a pleasure to be here with the Pete Morin News Service, and you may call me ‘Your Excellency’--just kidding. John Adams and several original members of Congress debated this issue at great length, but I finally put an end to it all by simply having them refer to me as ‘Mr. President’.
PMNS: Very good, thank you Mr. President. Mr. President, many of the questions I will be posing to you tonight will be difficult to answer since they come from the perspective of the twenty first century and yet you will be able to answer only as an eighteenth century man. I hope you understand the significance of the problem, but will give us your best recollection and insight from your perspective.
PRES: I understand, but really the twenty first century means nothing to someone who is dead. I suppose I could have dreamed about such a time and if I had I’m sure I wouldn’t recognize a thing--except , perhaps, those intangibles that mankind searches for; the timelessness of freedom and liberty.
PMNS: Well put Mr. President. The first question I have concerns life in colonial America; what was it like?
PRES: Life in the eighteenth century was probably better than most times of recorded history. The beginnings of the industrial revolution were providing goods and wares on a scale never quite seen before. Life was still difficult, of course, but with skilled tradesmen, a growing population and even the beginnings of a medical profession gaining a foothold, life was bearable and then some. Women still have their place tending to house and raising the children; the men to toil in the fields and attend to the safety of the family. All in all the agrarian life of the time was both pleasing and arduous.
PMNS: Arduous in what sense?
PRES: Arduous in that we had those age old problems of conflict and survival that have always afflicted mankind. The Indians, indigenous to America, were prone to view the settler as an intruder and the settler viewed the Indian as a nuisance. Wars and skirmishes would erupt, but eventually a kind of truce would prevail. I can only imagine that people in the twenty first century must think that we lived such a bucolic, pastoral life, but such is not the case. Try working from dawn to dusk and even beyond; building your own home; tilling your own fields and growing your food; caring for your livestock; prepare for winter and spring and---
PMNS: Yes, YES--I agree arduous! For someone of your stature, however, you were spared this daily grind, were you not? The question that must be asked concerns the plight and bondage of the African. They didn’t share in the bounty of a free existence as you, a member of a privileged class. What say you about slavery?
PRES: It was, indeed, a peculiar institution. We cannot live with it, yet cannot live without it. Many of my fellow plantation owners are vexed from such a complicated issue. I can only say that it was acceptable to some, but not to others. Certain of the framers, as I recall, would debate, argue, and threaten recriminations should anyone attempt to change the status quo. We did our best to resolve the issue, but in the end could only agree to stop the continuation of the slave trade twenty years hence from the ratification of the Constitution. It was imperfect. We are but men, not angels.
PMNS: Would, in your opinion, the Constitution have been ratified if slavery had been outlawed?
PRES: Not only would there have been no Constitution, there would have been no convention. Passions would have run too high and feeling deeply affected if the question were put to law. The individual states would have been as separate as each a nation unto itself. The great compromise was in itself a victory to the ideal of nation building. To have been a part of that convention that gave birth to our nation was a proud achievement and to all those whose attendance at Philadelphia was vital to the future of all men is among my most cherished remembrances. My only regret is that we couldn’t open the darn windows in that hall--it was suffocating and the latrines weren’t properly maintained!
This concludes part 1 of our interview with President Washington. Tomorrow, we’ll continue with part 2 when we’ll ask the President about the Revolution and his Presidency.
A quick news clip from Washington--Congressman Dingell from Michigan has proposed that the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program be expanded to include the Chinese. Mr. Dingell, in his usual deliberate manner said, “just think of how prosperous Detroit will become, and it’ll only cost the taxpayer 50-60 trillion dollars!”
This news clip provided by the Pete Morin News Service