This past week has not been the easiest for our nation. However, this is America, and we will survive. For an example, I turn yet again to George Washington.
It was December 1776. America was facing the very bleak prospect of losing its independence before it had even truly begun to enjoy it. Washington, however, had come up with a plan to strike back at the British forces. He was going to attack Britain's hired soldiers, the Hessians, and he was going to do it right in their own camp.
Ignoring the fact that the Hessians were one of the greatest military forces on the planet and that the Americans were not, Washington drew up a plan to cross the Delaware River Christmas evening and attack the Hessians at their camp at dawn on the 26th.
Again, Washington seemed to overlook a fact. Namely, that it was December. If this had been an attack in July, everything would have been grand, but in December you have certain factors you have to deal with. Like chunks of ice floating on the river waiting to sink your boats, snow drifts waiting to bury your men and the fact that many of the men didn't have those little strings that connect your mittens to your coat so you don't lose them.
But Washington was adamant about going on with the attack, so, come nightfall of Dec. 25, he and his soldiers found themselves looking out across the Delaware River ready to sail into battle.
Or at least Washington was ready. The rest of his men however, had had a change of heart. So how did Washington inspire his men to cross the river? Did he a) remind them of their patriotic duty, b) inspire them with tales of glory or c) swear a lot and toss them around like rag dolls?
If you picked c, you'd be right.
Washington, who towered over most men of his era, had a terrible temper that he usually kept under control. But this time, Washington used that temper to scare his men into following him. Screaming at them, Washington tossed several of the men into the first boat and told them to shove off.
Needless to say, the rest of the launch proceeded rather smoothly.
After crossing the river, though, Washington found his men again wanting to abandon the mission. The crossing had taken longer than expected and any attack on the Hessian camp would now occur in broad daylight.
So Washington lost his temper again. There may also have been some things said about Alexander Hamilton's mother.
Again freshly inspired, the troops pressed on to Trenton, where the Hessians were camped. Luck was with the Americans as the Hessians, who had been expecting the Americans to attack at dawn, were all back in their bunks fast asleep when the Americans arrived. The word 'slaughter' pales to describe the event.
And after demolishing the Hessian forces without losing a single American, how did the men celebrate? Fireworks? Ticker tape parade?
Nope. They got fall-down drunk. So drunk, in fact, that when it came time to head back across the Delaware, many of the boats had to be paddled by the Hessian prisoners.
So Washington lost his temper yet again.
On second thought'maybe we should just leave the past alone.