Wingers In My History (Mount Vernon Edition)

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As I noted earlier, I went to Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate. It was quite fun and I've got some pictures here. What was kind of interesting for me was the conservative influence on the place. It's not overt by any stretch and doesn't take away in any respect from the historical import and effect of the estate. But the caretakers of the estate, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, are not as restrained by the sort of even-handedness you tend to get at Smithsonian exhibits in D.C. The intro movie you see is written by Lionel Chetwynd, writer of the pro-Bush DC 9/11 and the anti-Michael Moore Celsius 41.11. It's called "We Fight to Be Free" and like the other little bits at the estate it's designed to make Washington into a God-like figure.

But its not necessary to puff-up Washington! He clearly is a Colussus of history. His leadership on the battlefield and as president set the standard very high for our new country. His farewell address is masterful. America is America in large part due to George Washington.

But he had flaws. He was a wealthy landowner who owned slaves. The guides and literature at the park don't shy away from this and make great pains to point out his move to free his slaves. But he did wait until he died to make that happen. And yet that doesn't disqualify the great he did. Conservatives in America have this romantic notion of Washington and by trying to compensate they over do it, and again while it doesn't detract at all from Mount Vernon - and you should all go if you get a chance - they need to just chill a little bit on it.

The man is on our money for good reason. He's got statues, schools, towns, states and more named after him and it is all what he is due. But to honor his memory, let's tell people the full story without bias.