What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Washington Seminar

The results of our “Did George Washington Really Exist” poll were very mixed. Apparently some of our readers saw the intellectual light and were persuaded to at least doubt the existence of our so-called “First President.” Others were, to use a Christian word, unconvinced. According to FCN's eminently respected survey, 48% believe everything about Washington is true, while 9% felt that he was never president but he did chop down the cherry tree. Still more, 18%, felt that he will “always live as an ideal in our hearts.”

Given the nebulous results and that we here at FCN are obsessed with truth, we have decided to put together a counsel of political, philosophical and intellectual leaders of varied ethnic, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds to investigate the allegations about this man’s “amazing” life to determine their veracity.

This counsel won’t interview original sources or read documents from the period of Washington’s life. Neither will it conduct a traditional historical inquest. No, that would be too obvious, too clichéd. Instead we will, as society has done for another great man, make colored beads that reflect our attitudes and feelings about Washington and lift them en mass as statements and life “facts” are read from the First President.

Each person will offer his opinion on a fact of Washington’s life by raising an appropriate colored bead, as follows:

Red: George undoubtedly did or said this or did or said something very like it.

Pink: George probably or might have done or said something like this.

Gray: George did not do or say this, but it is really close to something that he might have done or said.

Black: George did not do or say this; this action represents something that has been attributed to him after the fact, a later tradition.

An unbiased arbiter will act as the chair of this Washington Seminar and make a notation recording the color response to every statement read. The results will then be bound up and published in a seminal work titled The Cherry Tree: The Search for the Authentic George.

Given that it is impossible to actually know for sure what Washington did, said or even meant by is statements and actions, we can only measure our feelings about him. George is dead; his sole survivor is his legacy which lives on as his memory. Why give ourselves a hernia figuring out the arcane details of his life when we need only weigh our non-palpable emotions to determine the truth?

It is a lot of work to dig through letters, speech transcripts and personal statements. A lot of work for nothing, if you ask us.

The media and the general public tend to be gullible and naive about the actions of George Washington, but the faithful FCN few need not be intimidated. We can, via the Washington Seminar, divine a workable reality with which we can operate sans confusion and finger-pointing.

No longer will questions about Mount Vernon or Washington’s fatal battle with pneumonia haunt historians. No longer must we worry about the silly cherry tree or question the motives of a man who turns down the biggest promotion imaginable. The mythical Delaware crossing, the famed Martha and the dog (he did have a dog, didn't he?) will all be put to rest. Washington will once again be life size, not the legend that dodged Indian bullets and survived the brutal Valley Forge winter. And, as a human, he can be respected.

I don’t want to live my life in the dark anymore. I want to know what really happened, or at least come to some kind of consensus. The division is tearing me apart and the solution is so close. So who wants to start a Washington Seminar? Who is with me?

1 comment:

tim said...