Humble and Obedient Servants
by Gary Spina
(Copyright 2010 by Gary Spina)
Were it not for George Washington, there would never have been a United States of America as we know it – for, indeed, at every crucial turn of our early history, in the teeth of death and danger, there stood George Washington with his fearlessness, his wisdom, and his unwavering resolve.
He was a man not to be trifled with. Yet Washington had a quiet presence about him, an uncanny, intuitive grasp of essentials. His was a strength and charm that served him as well on the dance floor as on the battlefield. After dancing with the six foot-four Washington, the wife of a wealthy merchant whispered to a friend: “It is well General Washington is on our side. I would fear greatly for our country were he against us.”
Washington was at the same time aristocratic and humble. He was a surveyor, engineer, farmer, merchant trader, an officer, and a gentleman – a man who led a rag-tag army – “rabble in arms” – to victory against wave after wave of fresh British reinforcements.
But the Continental Army had been ill-treated by a corrupt congress – left to starve, no winter clothes or boots, few supplies — and the men unpaid. Undeserving officers had bribed Congressmen for promotions. Scandals had been invented to ruin great leaders like Arnold and Schuyler. Jealous little men, incompetents, and sycophants — Gates, Easton, and Hazen received honor they did not deserve. Through it all, above it all, and relying on the last fiber of his dogged tenacity, General George Washington persevered.
After their triumph over the greatest military on earth, and with the force of an army now to back them up, some of Washington’s embittered officers suggested the thirteen colonies be consolidated into “the establishment of a kingdom with Washington at the head.” Of course, they were talking treason and Washington would have no part of it. He admonished them severely.
In 1789, when he took the oath of office as President of the United States, Washington affirmed: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” And then he added: “So help me, God.” Those four added words recognizing a higher power have become a tradition ever since.
The presidency was Washington’s for as long as he wanted – such was his country’s gratitude and love for him. But after two terms as president, Washington returned to his beloved Mount Vernon. While the monarchs and emperors of Europe marveled at how any man could voluntarily abdicate the heights of power, George Washington became an ordinary citizen again.
There were many elements of Washington’s greatness, not the least of which was the literal signature of that greatness. Many of his letters, notes, and documents were styled: “Your most humble and obedient servant, George Washington.” And so he considered himself – a servant – honored to serve the people and the nation he so loved.
Today, our public servants seem to have forgotten the history of our nation’s founding. Or, they never learned it. Remember well how our politicians railed against the people as we dared make our voices heard at last summer’s Tea Parties. Remember well the backroom dealings and the heavy-handed legislation under which our “leaders” would subjugate a free people and strip away our prosperity – the “stimulus pork bill,” “government healthcare,” and “cap and trade” among others.
In petitioning our government, please do as I do in addressing our representatives:
“As my humble and obedient servant, I am putting you on notice – I am letting you know – I am expressing my wish…”
Never, never let them forget the precious legacy George Washington bequeathed us
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Your Neighbor, Billy Bencher
by Gary Spina
(Copyright 2011 by Gary Spina)
One sweetly delicious form of demagoguery is when you hear the politicians in Washington scream about the rich not paying their fair share of taxes. It seems the mass appeal of that rant is irresistible, and it works because it plays to man’s petty jealousies and resentments. It’s no different than a young man playing minor league baseball.
Let’s call the young man Tommy. Tommy Tubats plays for the Podunk Panthers, and Tommy used to sit on the bench a lot until he got tired of warming the wood. So, Tommy Tubats went and got extra help from the fielding coach and the batting coach, and Tommy Tubats found out what he needed to do to improve his game. Fielding or batting, Tommy worked hard at being the best he could be no matter where in the field his manager, Nobbie Nobull, put him, no matter whether he faced a right-handed pitcher or a southpaw, a fastball pitcher or a knuckleballer.
These days Tommy Tubats is the team’s star shortstop. He’s batting .443 and leads the league in RBIs and On-Base-Percentage. He’s stolen only 73 bases, but he’s working on that. Tommy’s enthusiasm, his drive, his fearlessness, his raw talent are exciting to watch, and at each home game the fans come out to cheer him on. They fill the bleachers – all four rows. And Tommy’s star performance never disappoints the crowd. Nobbie Nobull has already told Tommy he’s earned his way up to the majors next season.
Poor Billy Bencher is Tommy’s teammate. Billy Bencher wants to be a star, too, but things aren’t working out well for Billy. When Billy’s not sitting on the bench, Nobbie Nobull has Billy playing right field where he gets very little action. Billy’s batting average is down to .125 because he doesn’t get the chance to see a lot of the good stuff the various pitchers in the league are hurling. At this rate, Billy Bencher is never going to make it to the big leagues. Billy’s dad, Old Benny Bencher, who always wanted to be a pro ballplayer himself, is really disappointed.
Old Benny Bencher tells his friends at the post office where he works and at the Moose Lodge where he drinks his beer, that Tommy Tubats, the shortstop, is the star player only because the manager, Nobbie Nobull, and Tommy both hail from Bayonne, New Jersey, and because of that alone, Nobull favors Tommy and gives him more playing time.
“Maybe if Billy tried a little harder,” a friend tells Benny Bencher.
“What’s the use,” says Old Benny, “Nobull won’t play him, and the scouts won’t get to see him, and he’s just getting rusty sitting on the bench.”
Of course, Billy Bencher hears his father’s excuses, and Billy gets to believing them, and so Billy Bencher remains a bitter young man with a bad attitude who will end up working for the Department of Housing and Urban Development after he washes out of minor league baseball at the end of this season. After a few years at HUD, Billy Bencher, like his dad before him, will retire on a fat government pension, and till the day he dies he’ll be telling anyone who’ll listen what a great ballplayer he could have been.
And it’s all sad because Billy Bencher could have been great. Billy was always stronger and quicker and more agile than Tommy Tubats – maybe even smarter — and if the truth be told, he had a better eye for the changeup and the knuckleball. But it was Tommy Tubats who lived his dream, and Tommy who mastered his weaknesses, and Tommy who never gave up no matter what obstacles he had to hurdle. Tommy wanted it more than Billy wanted it, and Tommy was more willing to work hard to achieve it. It’s sad, too, because with Billy’s knowledge of baseball, he could have made a great team captain, or a shrewd manager, or a gutsy general manager. But it was easier for Billy to just give it all up and take a secure government job at HUD.
Tommy Tubats will sign a multi-year contract for $25 million a season and go on to a very lucrative career in the majors. Year after year, season after season, he will fill the seats in the big league stadiums – fifty thousand or more seats, every game — and even the venders will love him, and he will endorse various commercial products that will top the market and guarantee profits and jobs to several million people. He will buy a yacht and pay unstintingly to hire the best captain and a seaworthy crew and pay thousands of dollars to maintain the boat – and maybe invest in a car dealership which will employ several hundred people. Oh, and he’s looking at a horse farm in Caroline County, Virginia, with a breeding stock of sixty horses and at least seven champion thoroughbreds.
You see, Tommy makes so much money he has to keep investing it because the banks cannot insure it all. Each investment makes him richer, and Tommy just keeps spending his profits and reinvesting and circulating that money back into the economy – ever buying and leasing and paying salaries and utilizing services. He will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars at fine restaurants in all the major cities, thousands more at the resorts and golf courses and private clubs, and he’ll own a mountain villa in Colorado and a sprawling vineyard in Napa Valley and a beachfront paradise along the Jersey shore.
Now if you take that money out of Tommy’s hands and you give most of it to the government in taxes — why the corrupt politicians would just squander it to buy votes to keep themselves in office. Maybe they’d fund new regulatory agencies with bloated staffs of unproductive bureaucrats whose mean-spirited whims would thwart American business with impossible restrictions on profits and prosperity.
“Let’s show them business owners who’s really in charge here!” the politicians would laugh openly.
And it was sad to see so many of the needy voters cheer. Of course, the stranglehold of the regulatory agencies would cause many businesses to fail, and then the politicians would have to use some of Tommy’s tax dollars to help the newly unemployed — that ever expanding, precious, indispensible voting block they’ve always counted on for votes. Consider how few office-seekers would ever want to actually see the needy prosper.
But you can see how, if you keep Tommy Tubats’s money in his own hands – away from the insatiable avarice of the elected elite — it will keep several million people working and living quite comfortably. And along the way, Tommy Tubats will inspire many young people to work hard and prosper as they live their own version of the American Dream. At the end of his career, Tommy Tubats will be inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame and hopefully he will die peacefully in bed at a happy old age.
God bless Tommy Tubats — and may his profit-seeking capitalist soul rest in eternal peace, oh Lord – for Tommy Tubats’s money has given so many others true freedom from want and given the poor freedom from the government’s tyrannical oppression of endless welfare and food stamps and the government’s cruel, Godless evisceration of the intact family. It is Tommy Tubats’s money in his own hands that keeps America prosperous and free and proud.
But poorer in generosity and poorer in spirit is Billy Bencher who still says, “Ain’t nobody worth twenty-five million dollars a year for playing baseball!” And both Billy and his dad continue to vote for their slimy congressman and their corrupt senators who promise to tax the hell out of all the Tommy Tubats in America and make them pay their “fair share.”