And about not becoming a dictator…

A friend of mine, whose name is Doug, is a smart guy.

Doug and I were talking a few years ago and Doug pointed out that George Washington was the General of the Army who led the Americans in the Revolutionary War against the British. And when the Americans won (with the help of the French), Washington could easily have made himself King of America or Dictator of America (or whatever), because he had the army on his side. But Washington didn’t do that.

Washington was elected President for two terms (eight years), then he retired and went home to his farm and let someone else (John Adams) take over.

Doug believed that George Washington was brilliiant. He did the right thing. And that’s why we have a tradition of democracy in the United States. Washington did a lot of great things, but the greatest thing he did was to let go of power and go home to his farm.

Doug said, “On the other hand, look at Napoleon. He was a guy in the army. There was a revolution in France. And he took over, and he divorced his first wife and married that princess from Austria. He named himself the Emperor of France and tried to take over Europe. After the American Revolutionary War, Washington was President for 8 years and then let someone else become President. He didn’t become a dictator like Napoleon. He had power and then he freely gave it up. That's what you do in a democracy.”


Nelson Mandela is the like the George Washington of South Africa. He ran the country for a while and then he retired and let someone else take over. He didn’t act like Robert Mugabe (the Napoleon of Zimbabwe). I have a lot of respect for Mandela. He took the power and ruled for a while. Then he ceded power to someone else. As George Washington did.

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