A new name for a changed capital
One of the most powerful scenes in the film It's A Wonderful Life shows a desperate George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) sliding and slipping through the snow and ice in Pottersville while looking for familiar and friendly faces. The place looks familiar to George, but he discovers quickly that it is a much more decadent version of the Bedford Falls he knows so well. The people are harder, and there are Girlie Show Emporiums, trashy music, and trigger-happy cops. In no time, he discovers that Pottersville is not a warm and fuzzy place but is, instead, a place of danger, double-dealing, and desperation. Worst of all, this town is named after Mr. Potter, the low-down, conniving, heartless son of a gun who makes everyone else in town miserable.
Imagine now, if you will, how George Washington would react if he could come back and visit Washington, D.C. in 2022. Would he delight in the city named after him, or would he recoil in horror?
There is a well known story that, when King George III heard that George Washington had resigned his commission after defeating the British, he said admiringly of Washington, "He is the greatest man in the world." Unlike power-hungry politicians in the capitals of the world, George returned to his farm, Mount Vernon, along the Potomac River. Later, when Washington was called back and elected our first president, he served only two terms, even though he could have served more.
Image: Washington monument from Piqsels.
What would Washington think of the professional politicians in Washington in 2022, who set their own salaries? How would his sense of fairness react to the uneven playing field for those who challenge them on Election Day?
I never met George Washington, but I have read about him. He was a patriot and a man of honor. He risked his life and fortune to lead the ragtag American army against the Redcoats.
As Americans, we owe Washington and the other Founding Fathers a debt of gratitude. A commission in 1791 named our capital after him to honor his role in our national birth.
Washington, D.C. is no longer a place where patriotism, honor, public service, and self-denial are widely honored ideals. It has become a magnet attracting power-hungry politicians who desire to parlay their elective offices into personal fortunes.
If George Washington could visit D.C., I strongly suspect he would take his name back in an effort to preserve his legacy. The name vacuum caused by Washington's withdrawal would give current politicians an opportunity to choose something more emblematic of our times. Grifterton, Clintonia, and Dissemblia would be strong contenders.
Ned Cosby's new novel is OUTCRY, exposing the refusal of Christian leaders to discipline clergy who sexually abuse our young people. This work of fiction addresses crimes that are all too real. For more info, visit www.nedcosby.com.