Portraying George Washington in a Barack Obama World

by Ann Hendon

Dr. Jim Hodges has what he calls “a special calling that brings the ethical leadership principles of George Washington to life.” In his career as a public speaker, Dr. Hodges has shared the principles of what he calls “our Patriarch” — blending skilful acting with the moving words of a truly inspirational speaker. James Hodges may seem like an anomaly in an America that is rapidly forgetting the heritage of its founding people, but he holds that Washington’s philosophical principles — which he ranks with those of the Stoics of the Classical world — are exactly what the descendants of the founders need to hear. His site states:

‘As a keynote speaker with breakout sessions, Jim utilizes his experience as a public speaker to inspire his audiences to appreciate and strive to emulate Washington, who was a superlative leader and mentor for all generations. Jim is a compassionate and gifted storyteller, who gives vivid accounts of Colonial history, both serious and amusing, while imparting messages of hope, strength, perseverance and universal faith.

‘Using his skills as a motivational speaker, Jim enables audiences to go away knowing that George Washington’s leadership principles are as valid and appropriate today as they were in the 1700s. Audience members are motivated to use Washington’s principles to become effective leaders in their own right.’

And his work as Washington in his one-man show is much appreciated:

“Your personification of George Washington this morning was wonderful! It was entertaining, enlightening and enriched my memory which inspired me with the educational antidotes.”

“Jim, your presentation as General George Washington was outstanding. Your characterization was inspirational. The first person account of the tribulations faced by our Revolutionary War veterans transported us to that time in American history.”

It’s worth noting that George Washington was a powerful opponent of foreign entanglements and foreign wars. He would have absolutely opposed America’s current wars in the Middle East, or going to war with Iran — and he certainly would instantly terminate any so-called “special relationship” with any foreign state.

Jim Hodges isn’t afraid to take on controversial issues like the subservience of America to the international bankers. This is from the latest entry on Dr. Hodge’s blog:

‘In 1776, the American patriots declared independence from Great Britain and fought desperately for their freedom. They not only longed for political self-determination, but they also wanted to rid themselves of the financial noose the Bank of England had placed around their necks. Unfortunately, they were not able to permanently rid America of the international bankers who had infested it. Our current banking and economic crisis is, in some respects, a result of some of the same problems with which our Founding Fathers struggled.’

James Hodges also takes to heart George Washington’s belief in kindness to animals — which, considering the way many treat helpless creatures even today, may have been well in advance of even our time:

‘From a life spent with animals, George Washington realized that non-human animals have feelings just like humans, and that they suffer physical and emotional pain if mistreated or abused. As a Stoic, Washington believed that God dwells within everything, and that it is wrong to inflict pain on any living being. Therefore, animals must be treated humanely, even those belonging to the enemy. At the Battle of Brandywine in September 1777, a particularly brutal battle with much carnage on both sides, a fox terrier got lost between the lines. The little dog was captured by the Americans, who saw inscribed in his collar: “Property of General Howe.” Washington made sure the little dog was fed, cleaned and treated well. Under a flag of truce, Alexander Hamilton delivered the dog to General Howe, who had suffered great mental anguish thinking his little terrier had been lost to him forever.

‘Washington had been passionately fond of horses from early boyhood, and owned his first horse at 17. His mother, Mary Ball Washington, was a skilled horsewoman who taught young George how to train horses using only the gentlest of methods, and to never resort to any cruelty. Washington learned that harsh training methods were counter-productive, because horses treated with respect are eager to please their riders.’

James Hodges, PhD brings George Washington to life in the 21st century. And he himself seems like the embodiment of something I thought we lost back in the middle of the 20th. I’m glad we never really lost it. Thanks, Jim Hodges.

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