But as much of a cliché as it is, George Washington was truly the father of the Republic. Without him, it is unlikely there would be an Inauguration on Tuesday.
General Washington was the very embodiment of the Revolution. But in something as rare as a usable Porta Potty on the Mall this Tuesday, a beloved revolutionary leader voluntarily chose to step down. Napoleon didn’t do it. Neither did Mao—nor Franklin Roosevelt.
The one thing all these leaders had in common is they not only sold themselves as the embodiment of their nation, and all its hopes, dreams and aspirations—but believed it themselves.
Not Washington. Even though his grateful constituents worshiped the Hero of the Revolution as a transcendent figure who was the one they sought, and the one through whom the change they thirsted for, could be actualized—Washington did not believe that.
He was simply a man– a public servant who was grateful, but yet humbled, to perform the duties outlined by the Constitutional Convention.
Washington’s willingness to relinquish power saved the United States from the fate suffered by so many of its neighbors.