FIVE DAYS IN WASHINGTON…

This entry is part 8 of 12 in the series Lead Like Churchill

“…democracy is the worst form of Government

For this week’s digest of Never Surrender!, I thought I might borrow from the title of John Lukacs book: Five Days in London, as I felt, being five days out from the inauguration of a new US President, the title was appropriate, and some would also say the subject-matter.  So, with five days to go in a country divided, what advice might Winston Churchill offer us?

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…”

Echoing the thoughts of many, this election-cycle has indeed been one of the most divisive in the great history of the United States, because of the attitudes and reactions that the two candidates words surfaced. By-definition an election should divide, but ONLY on opinion!

In 1938, Churchill made some remarks in Manchester, that I feel are very appropriate: “…what is the purpose which has brought us all together? It is the conviction that the life of [the United States], her glories and message to the world, can only be achieved by national unity, and national unity can only be preserved upon a cause which is larger than the nation itself.

A country divided against itself is as ineffectual as a government of the same. When asked to form a government in 1940, Churchill recognized that we needed national unity, because there was no other way we could defeat the overwhelming forces against us. Burying the past by including adversaries in his War Cabinet, Churchill united the country in the name of a cause that he saw was greater than our own national interests. Defeating Hitler was vital for the preservation of Christian Civilization, but unity was the only way to achieve that.

The United States and all that it stands for is greater that either the Office of the President, or indeed the inhabitant. The Founding Fathers of this wonderful nation ensured that it was not left to the Executive to maintain the dream they gave their blood, toil, tears and sweat for. America’s founders instilled the power of choice in you, and ensured that you, the people they represented, maintained that power.

Many are still saying that President-Elect Trump is Not my President”, Sorry to burst your bubble, but he is, whether you like it or not. The votes have been cast and counted, and in your election system, the next President has been chosen. Now it’s down to you to determine what will happen to this country for the next four years. You can either put down your weapons, and whether a Trump or Clinton supporter, get behind the Office, and ensure President-Elect Trump runs things in the country’s best interests, or you can be divisive. If you choose the former, America will continue from strength to strength, but if you choose the latter, the United States will continue as the Divided States, and may well “…sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age.

Remember the wise words of Rome’s last great Emperor Marcus Aurelius: “All you need are these: certainty of judgement in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.”

Aurelius reminds us that control of our perceptions, focus of our actions, and a willingness to accept that which is outside our control are the three vital philosophies which should always govern our decisions.

The election is over and the President has been chosen; its out of our control. But still within our power is the choice we make on January 20th. We can either unite as Churchill advises, or divide the country as he warns.

In the words of Longfellow, quoted by Churchill to President Roosevelt in 1941:

Sail on, O Ship of State!

Sail on, O Union, strong and great!

Humanity with all its fears,

With all the hopes of future years,

Is hanging breathless on thy fate!


UPCOMING THIS WEEK


 

SPEECH REFERENCE

The Choice For Europe – May 9, 1938

SOURCE NOTES

“Many forms of Government…” – http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1947/nov/11/parliament-bill

“…what is the purpose which has brought us all together?” – CHURCHILL, Sir Winston S.: Into Battle, p.12

“…sink into the abyss” – LANGWORTH, Richard, Churchill by Himself, p.21

“All you need are these…” – HOLIDAY/HANSELMAN: The Daily Stoic, p.12

Sail on, O Ship of State! – LANGWORTH, Richard, Churchill by Himself, p.22

 

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