Back in November, we put together this short video for George Washington’s Mount Vernon, promoting tourism to the historic estate, and providing a healthy contrast to the upcoming election. Having just finished shooting for A More Perfect Union, we were eager to profile the uncommon story of George Washington’s election. Our video made quite a splash on Mount Vernon’s FB page, reaching well over one hundred thousand views in just a few days.
America’s First. We’re with George Washington. He made America great.
Posted by George Washington’s Mount Vernon on Monday, November 7, 2016
Winning by unanimous decision in both 1789 and 1792, George Washington defined the role of Commander-in-Chief, establishing a precedent that remains influential today. His two-term philosophy would inspire the 22nd Amendment, limiting the length of time a president can serve. He begrudgingly accepted a presidential salary, only to ensure that future executives need not be independently wealthy. He established the title, “Mr. President,” resisting some of the more pompous monikers suggested by the Senate. Perhaps the most relevant aspect of Washington’s presidency comes from his Farewell Address. He warns that political parties are “potent engines” that people may use to “usurp the reins of government” for special interests, and encourages all of us to look beyond party affiliation in service of the common good.
Today the political climate has changed. Elections seem destined to polarize voters rather than foster healthy debate, resulting in a political system which is frustratingly complex. Thankfully, we can look to the example set by George Washington in measuring, for better or worse, all future presidents.