I grew up not thinking much of George Washington. Of the founding fathers, I felt like he was by far the most overrated. Sure, he was the leader of the revolutionary army, but he was bad at it. It seemed to me that what he was best at, the place he really excelled, was losing battles. Of course, that's from the perspective of a teenager who evaluates everything based on whom is winning or losing. And, sure, Washington "won" the war, but that was hardly his doing considering the long list of defeats he suffered. Winning by luck isn't really winning; it's just not losing.
Needless to say, my younger view of Washington was overly simplistic at best, and I have since come to appreciate the man. For one thing, Washington knew his own limitations and, because of that, surrounded himself with people who were, basically, smarter than him and on whom he could rely to make decisions. And I think he must have been one of the most charismatic men to ever walk the planet based upon what he was able to inspire men to do.
But none of that is important. All of the important things about Washington boil down to two things:
1. He freed his slaves. Yes, he waited until his death to do it, but, still, he did it. Of the founding fathers who owned slaves, the ones everyone knows about, at any rate, he was the only one to make that gesture. He didn't like slavery; he just couldn't figure out a way to deal with the issue during the founding of the nation.
2. He stepped down as President after two terms.
If for nothing else, Washington is one of the most important men in modern history (or all of history) for that one simple thing: He stepped down!
Let me make something clear, here: This stepping down that Washington did; it had never been done before. Ever. There was no precedent. Period. Men with power did not give it up, not voluntarily. And, yet, Washington, being invested in the viability of the nation he had helped to create, and wanting to set an example of a peaceful transfer of power, chose to not run for a third term as President of the United States.
Sure, you can say that it was because he never wanted to be President anyway, because he didn't, but President was better than King, which is what everyone wanted to make him. They also wanted to call him things like "your majesty," but he worked it down to "Mr. President." In truth, the reasons don't matter. All that matters is that he DID. He did this one thing that changed the world.
Because it did change the world.
It created the precedent that in the United States we could, and we would, have a peaceful transference of power and abide by the will of the people in regards to whom is elected.There has not ever been a President who did not step down if he lost the election.
By extension, we have never had a candidate who did not concede if he lost the election.
Some people seem to be wondering why it matters that Trump won't say that he will concede if he doesn't win. They don't think it matters, evidently. But... And this is a huge BUT!
Do you think that if he's not willing to concede the election if he loses that, if he were to win, that he would willingly step out of power when his term is over? His particular brand of powermongering is dangerous, and it goes against everything, everything, that the United States has been built around.
Even if I agreed with Trump and his ideas, this one thing would be enough to stop me from voting for him. He's too much like watching Palpatine take control of the Senate in the prequels and, well, I'm not into the idea of an Emperor Trump. Or an Emperor anyone.