The Link between Donald Trump and George Washington
The parallels of people and events of 244 years ago are eerily familiar to those of today. By December 1776, the once giddy prospects of American colonists winning their independence from England had grown dim. In December 2020, the prospect of America remaining a free nation hangs in the balance.
The colonial militia had fought over the decades, including in the French and Indian War, to protect their families during crises. So Whigs and patriots, constituting about one third of the colonial population, believed that sheer determination to protect their homes and freedom was sufficient to win a war against the professional Redcoats. By December 1776, it was obvious that grit alone could not overcome inadequacies in training, tactics, weaponry, and equipment. Even worse was the deficiency in leadership, both militarily and politically, of this bold new experiment in self-government.
Washington was never given the resources necessary to wage war against such a powerful enemy. The Continental Army lacked money, ammunition, entrenching tools necessary for survival, tents, blankets, cooking utensils, shoes, and clothing. In the face of harsh winter conditions, many soldiers were dressed in thin rags or were even "naked" according to Washington, with some having broken or no shoes at all.
Many of the Continental Army were wounded, sick, and demoralized by the severe losses to the British. Many were deserting, and enlistment terms would be up on December 30, leaving only 1,400.
On Dec. 18, General Washington wrote in a private letter, "I think the game is pretty nearly up, owing, in a great measure, to the insidious arts of the enemy, and disaffection of the Colonies before mentioned [New York and New Jersey, who particularly did not send the militia when Washington called upon the governors], but principally to the ruinous policy of short enlistments, and placing too great a dependence on the Militia[.]"
New York City; Newport, Rhode Island; and most of New Jersey had already fallen to the enemy. The next target was the republic's capital of Philadelphia.
When General William Howe offered "a free and general pardon" to all who would return to "their just allegiance" and take a loyalty oath to England, large numbers of dispirited New Jersey fair-weather "patriots" jumped off the ship of American liberty.
These turncoats were followed by Philadelphians who fled to the countryside in droves. A cowardly Congress fled from Philadelphia to Baltimore, Maryland, dumping total control of the operations of the army onto the shoulders of General Washington.
Washington was undercut and thwarted at every turn by one of his own generals. General Charles Lee whispered to Washington's staff and generals that he had no confidence in the commander-in-chief's abilities. Fortunately for the revolution, Lee was captured, and the loyal and capable General John Sullivan took over Lee's troops.
Believing the game to be "pretty nearly up," Washington decided to take drastic action. He planned a mission that was tactically simple but a huge gamble. He would personally lead a force of just under 2,500 men across the river and then march toward Trenton, where they would wage a dawn attack on the enemy garrisoned in the town.
Washington had several factors in his favor. No one expected the Continental army to cross the icy river and then march several miles in blinding snow, sleet, and hail on bloody, frostbitten feet. The Continental army was considered to be inferior, in numbers and capability, to the British army. And, most certainly, no one expected the battle weary Americans to attack the British army at Christmas.
Around 8:00 A.M. on December 26, the Continental army rushed Trenton in a surprise attack, where they encountered Hessian defenders still groggy from Christmas Day celebration. During the hour-long battle, hundreds of Hessians fled, while nearly 1,000 surrendered. Only four Americans were killed.
Washington's victorious army was soon marching back along the river road with captives and confiscated weapons, ammunition, and other desperately needed stores to the waiting boats and the return crossing to New Jersey.
Days later, when many enlistments were up, Washington rode out to meet the troops and implored them to re-enlist. "My brave fellows, you have done all I asked you to do, and more than could be reasonably expected, but your country is at stake[.] ... The present is emphatically the crisis which is to decide our destiny."
Spurred by the recent victory in Trenton, many did renew their enlistments and went on to more wins against the British, including a second battle at Trenton on January 2 and one at Princeton on January 3.
Now here we are, 244 years later, in December 2020, facing a crisis that decides the destiny of America. One can't help but notice the parallels between events and circumstances surrounding General George Washington and President Donald Trump.
Like General Washington, President Trump has been undercut by his own staff and even his own party. As did the Congress of 1776, so have many members of our U.S. Congress continually thwarted the efforts of Trump to protect our freedom. The Republican Party, supposedly the party of limited government, has been complicit in expanding the size and breadth of federal government, with resulting tyranny. Republicans have been complicit in allowing millions of not only illegal aliens, but also legal immigrants to enter this nation — immigrants whose values nearly always skew liberal, while some openly plan for Islamic law — to take over our Republic.
Few colonials were engaged in the fight for their own freedom from tyranny, leaving it to the colonial governments and militia. Today, few Americans have risen up against an abusive government, even one that has for nine months kept us locked down in our homes and shuttered our businesses — supposedly to stop the spread of a "pandemic" while power-hungry elites violate their own rules.
The sellout by weak colonial patriots for a "pardon" and continued control by a tyrannical government is a familiar cadence of those Republicans marching in lockstep to accept the results of a fraudulent election. Their actions will hand control of our nation over to tyrannical communist leadership.
Just as the British and even the colonists underestimated Washington, so do both Democrats and Republicans underestimate the brilliance of Trump as a strategist. As far as the election of 2020 and the future of America, perhaps we should remember, "It's not over 'til the fat lady sings."
Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.