Turkey In Chief.

(click for larger image.)

From the colored pencils of AF Branco at Comically Incorrect.

Last weekend there was a discussion broadcast C-Span of historians on George Washington’s “Farewell Address,” (which is not a speech, but an “open letter” that was published in newspapers.)

It is an amazing document which details some of Washington’s fears such as the dangers of political parties who would work against public interests, debt spending, influence of foreign nations into US elections, etc. It was almost as if the man could look 225 years into the future and see what we are dealing with today.

The document is read every year in front of the US Senate. The House stopped the same practice years ago. It also was taught in schools but fell out of favor after World War I as Washington had cautioned against involvement in foreign wars.

Joseph Ellias was on the panel and we have always enjoyed his books. (He has a new one out called “The Cause – the American Revolutiona and Its Discontents 1773-1783”)

One of the things that Ellias in the discussion has stuck with us. He was quoting either George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, or Alexander Hamilton (it is unclear who) and said:

“Freedom is the exercise of people’s rights. Liberty is the responsible exercise of those rights.”

We had never heard it put that way, but we like the idea and sentiment a great deal.

For example, just because you have the freedom of owning a weapon, liberty is the exercising of responsible ownership.

The same is true with speech and religion.

In short, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

It is something to think about.

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