George Washington never would have accepted the popular notion that the personal lives of public officials are none of the public’s business. He wanted our nation to be bound by the same rules of honor and honesty that should bind individuals. Washington said, “I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy.” With George Washington, what you saw was what you got. The public man and the private man were one in the same. He is an extraordinary example of a public official whose character was above reproach.
Another way to observe George Washington’s birthday, would be to read his farewell address, which is full of good advice for our nation, especially in the area of foreign policy. Washington dedicated a large part of his farewell address to discussing the dangers of permanent alliances between the United States and foreign countries. He urged the American people to avoid long-term attachments with other nations because that would cloud the government’s judgment in foreign policy. Washington urged us to take advantage of our position between two great oceans, which can allow us to remain neutral in foreign conflicts, and to focus on our own affairs and our national security.
Listen to the radio commentary here: