Obama &
The Wisdom Of
Martha Washington

Dateline: 24 August 2013

Martha Washington, as she looked when she married George

I am doing well at maintaining my mainstream media fast. Oh, I may glimpse a headline when I do a Google search, but, for a season, I'm refusing to submit myself to the media manipulators. I can report that it is a liberating experience.

Were it not for my son telling me last night, I would have completely missed the news that the president of the United States of America was in "the neighborhood." 

He was in Auburn, New York, a small city about 20 minutes from my home. He stayed at the Holiday Inn, which is sort of right in front of the state prison where I used to work.

From what my son told me, it is a big deal. Security is, of course, tight. The airspace over the city was shut down. Roads were blocked off. And people are swarming into the area hoping to see the president. 

Silly people.

You will never see me among the masses fawning for a glimpse of any president or politician, or any movie star, or any singer, or any sports star, or any of so many other just-people who have achieved mainstream "superstar" popularity. If the presidential circus happened to drive by my place out here in the countryside, I'm sure I would watch the show go by, and even give a friendly wave, but I don't have the time or the inclination to get any more excited than that.

You are probably wondering, from the title of this blog post, what exactly Obama has to do with Martha Washington? The answer is, exactly nothing. My intention with this post was to share a quote (and the interesting picture above) with you, only to be interrupted by the news that Obama was in town. 

I happen to admire George Washington (I do not admire Obama). I admire Washington because of his Christian character, his love of farming, and his exemplary manliness. And I have long suspected that Martha Washington was an admirable person too. She is, however, something of a mystery. But I recently read a quote from Martha Washington that I think is really good, and it provides a glimpse into her character. Here it is...


"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds, wherever we go."

It would appear from that snippet of a letter that Martha Washington had to deal with some difficult situations in her life. And she chose to deal with them as a Christian should. Her quote is an echo of the apostle Paul, in Philippians 4:11-12...


"...I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content."

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The picture of Martha Washington at the top of the page is from the cover of Martha Washington: An American Life. It was forensically derived from a painting of her in old age that her family said was a very good likeness. You can read about the picture and the younger Martha at This Link.

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Update: 25 August 2013

The Midland Agrarian has added some good thoughts and quotes about mainstream-media fasting at this post: Info Fasting

11 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

Don't let Obama know about that quote, or he'll insist that it's our own fault that we don't enjot becoming communists!

Herrick Kimball said...

George,

I'm sorry but, with all the .gov readers of this blog, I suspect the president is being briefed about every post I make.

Gorges Smythe said...

Someone from D.C. was following mine for a while, too. Don't know if they quit or just went underground. Guess it's what we get for saying what we think!

shannon templeton said...

I am on a news media fast as well. Didn't know that is what it was until I read your post. My day is much more pleasant when I do not watch the media do their work of gossip, hate, division, fear, frustration. Besides there is too much great stuff to be involved in around the homestead to let them steal my precious time.

Herrick Kimball said...

Shannon,

Well said.

The Midland Agrarian said...

Good thoughts Herrick! I have learned a bit about "media ecology", and I really think "news" is mostly more harmful than good.

Best Regards,

Richard Grossman

Herrick Kimball said...

Richard,

Thanks. And I appreciate your Info Fasting blog post in response to this one.

Sharon said...

Long ago I made a decision to not watch news anymore. I don't anymore. When I mentioned this to my fellow sisters in Christ in a ladies' Bible study, I do believe I shocked them all. "How do you keep up with what's happening in the world?" was the main question. The answer: if you live a normal life in this world what's REALLY important will get to your ears. In the meantime, I AM in touch what's happening in my world. Are they? Do they know where their children are? Who their children have as friends? Etc, etc.

Thank you for the Martha Washington quote. I'll have to keep that one.

cnybeth said...

I was intrigued by this snippet from a letter and wanted to see where it came from. I found a book at a college where my son attends called, - "Worthy Partner" The Papers of Martha Washington - compiled by Joseph E. Fields. This snippet was from a letter to Mercy Otis Warren on December 26, 1789. Here is a link to this letter online:

http://marthawashington.us/items/show/25

Her contentment issue is about coming back into public life after the war to serve as President and First Lady. She and he would have been content to go back to Mount Vernon and grow old together. And eventually, that did happen, but not in 1789.

Equally interesting is a follow up letter written in June 1790, especially the last paragraph -

"In passing down the vale of time, and in journeying through such a mutable world as that in which we are placed, we must expect to meet with a great and continual mixture of afflictions and blessings. This a mingled cup which an overruling providence undoubtedly dispences to us for the wises and best purposes. - and as you justly observe, shall we shortsighted mortals dare to arraign the decrees of eternal wisdom - that you and yours may always be under the kind protection and guardianship of that providence is the sincre wish of (M Washington)"(spelling and grammar as per original)
The online link is

http://marthawashington.us/items/show/447

cnybeth

Herrick Kimball said...

cnybeth—

That is truly amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to share what you learned here. What a pleasure it is to read Martha Washinton's own words and get further insights into the kind of person she was. I looked at your links briefly but am going to go spend more time at the web site. For those who are interested, here are clickable links:

Martha Washington to Mercy Otis Warren, December 26, 1798

Martha Washington to Mercy Otis Warren, June 12, 1790

cnybeth said...

Thanks for making those clickable! I am not HTML savvy!