News sources in Caracas reported on President’s Day that Hugo Chávez won a referendum allowing the socialist leader to continue running for president of Venezuela indefinitely. He immediately announced plans to run for another six year term in 2013.
”The gates to the future have been opened wide,” said an emotional Mr Chávez from the balcony of the presidential palace, as a throng of ecstatic followers chanted in unison, ”Hey, ho, Chávez won’t go”.
Whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit that the prospect of Chávez–or anyone–as ruler for life is a scarey proposition.
What perfect reason to celebrate George Washington’s birthday this coming Sunday. After defeating the mightiest empire on earth, when he might have seized the reins of power permanently, General Washington retired to private life as a Virginia planter.
And after being elected to two four-year terms as President, the national hero voluntarily stepped down to transfer the office to his duly elected successor, establishing a precedent for presidential term limits that would remain in place till the time of Franklin Roosevelt and eventually be codified in 1947 in the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
What a touching patriotic spectacle to see George Bush last month, climbing aboard a Marine helicopter to head back to Texas as Barack Obama moved gracefully to occupy the White House. Americans have been transferring power peacefully and democratically for over two centuries, a tradition that dates back to the father of our country.
It’s a lasting lesson for Hugo Chávez and the rest of the world, and a reason to celebrate George Washington on the 277th anniversary of his birth.