the adventures of young george washington

Come sit on your dad’s knee, young George. In light of recent developments, I believe it’s time you and I had a father-and-son chat. As you know, we Washingtons are the proudest, most overachieving family in Virginia. And as such, I expect big things from you in this world. You might even go so far as to say that I possess the uncanny ability to foresee the future, and your prominent place in it. This may seem hard to believe, but in your lifetime, we’re gonna declare independence from the British and form our own country. And if you apply yourself, you have the leadership skills to play an important role in that whole process. It’d really make your old man proud to see you grow into that role, first as the general of the rebellious army during the bloody but necessary revolution, and later as the inaugural leader of that fledgling nation. No, not as a conquering warrior-king, but under far more noble circumstances: to be elected to your office by public mandate. But that’s all in the future, and only after you learn some valuable lessons from that incident with the cherry tree earlier this afternoon. You see, a leader is really doing his people a disservice if he cannot tell the occasional lie.

Case in point, when I happened upon you in the orchard, two things caught my attention right off the bat. One was the chopped-down cherry tree, and the other was you, standing there like a goon, holding a hatchet behind your back. It doesn’t exactly take Matlock (another one of my visions for the future, which I will discuss with you at length at an appropriate time) to figure out what happened. Now, if you’re gonna survive in the political world, the thing to do in that situation is to go on the defensive. You can successfully divert attention from the obvious fact of your guilt in the matter, if you instead place the focus of the argument on a perceived threat to your inalienable right to carry a hatchet with you at all times. Hell, double down and make the argument that this would be a crime-free society if more citizens were encouraged to carry around concealed hatchets for their protection. I mean, no crazed gunman is gonna try a shoot up a bank or a coffee shop full of hatchet-wielding patrons, am I right? It’s a simple question of public safety and the rights of individuals to protect themselves. Trust me, this hatchet thing, or something very similar, is gonna be a polarizing issue in the future.

Look, I’m not saying a leader should lie all the time, but removing it as an option altogether really takes one of your most vital authoritative tools off the table before the game even starts. All leaders lie sometimes, for a variety of reasons, but mostly to protect their followers from the many realities that they could never be expected to wrap their heads around. And remember, the trivial things you’ll have to lie about periodically are child’s play compared to the secrets future leaders of this hypothetical nation will have to conceal. George, can you imagine trying to sleep at night after your first day in office, having been briefed by the world’s foremost scientific authorities that space aliens have been living among us for hundreds of years? I certainly don’t envy the future leaders whose primary tasks include obscuring the fact that the confluence of news and entertainment in the corporate media is just an elaborately designed smokescreen designed to prevent the population from discovering that the only thing preventing the fragile construct of society from dissolving into chaos is people’s continued willingness to mindlessly purchase and consume everything within arm’s reach. Can you imagine the pressure of having to stand at a podium, paying daily lip service to the notions of individual freedom and liberty, then having to instead serve the massive economic interests which prevent that same personal autonomy from being attainable for any but the wealthiest citizens?

Even this little anecdote with you and the cherry tree could have some real legs on the campaign trail if we alter a few of the details. For example, the narrative would have a lot more resonance with voters if it took place when you were, say, seven instead of twenty-three. In fact, now that I think about it, aren’t you a little old to be sitting on my lap? A young man your age should really be showing a lot more interest in our vast, expansive marijuana fields or focusing on his romantic prospects with the most attractive of our female slaves. Why can’t you be more like that Jefferson kid down the block?


2 Responses to “the adventures of young george washington”

  1. 1 k. diggity
    June 30, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Reading this is like reading something written by someone eight thousand times better at writing than I will ever be at anything. That is a poor simile because that is exactly what it is.

  2. 2 Your Brother
    July 5, 2010 at 11:36 am

    best. blog post. ever.

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