Hello, Friend! It's Me, George!
NON-BORING HISTORY Suppose Political Begging Emails Started With the First US Presidency?
How Long Is This Post? About 1, 500 words, or 10 minutes.
Although Non-Boring History is journalism, I hold a PhD in history, and so I try to be serious, to stick closely to evidence, and all that sort of thing.
But, sometimes, my inner novelist surfaces, and I think “what the hey!”
So. Some background for UK and Elsewhere Readers: Here in the States, we get these awful cringe-making fundraising emails from politicians all the damn time. And it occurred to me: Suppose political campaign begging emails had started with the first US presidency?
Ooh, what fun!
1788: From General George Washington
Dear Annette Laing,
I’m writing you from my wooden laptop at Mount Vernon. Look, I haven’t heard from you, and I’m worried. I'll be blunt: This is no time for us to rest easy.
Yes, I'm proud I led Americans to victory over so-called “Great” Britain.
But here at No-Party HQ, we're taking nothing for granted where the Brits are concerned.
Martha, my wife, recently read an alarming pamphlet by a prophet who says Redcoats will arrive on our doorstep in 1812. That's not as far away as you might think.
Do you want to fight another unnecessary war?
I don't think so.
And that’s why America needs calm, experienced, and confident leadership. Leadership that knows what war is.
You know I'm the leader America needs. I certainly know it. Now, we, together, need to get out the message to everyone, even the propertyless rabble we don’t allow to vote, which is most of our fellow Americans. And quite right, too.
But you’re special. And that’s why, today, I'm excited to share with you some incredible news: We have a powerful national ad. It’s ready to go to the printing press, to be pressed onto paper by a printer, an artisan in a leather apron.
Here's a sneak peek at our awesome announcement:
General George Washington begs to inform his friends and former soldiers that he is willing to entertain the possibility of assuming the office of President of the United States of America, should the citizens of this nation desire it.*
Yowza! Pretty hard-hitting, huh? If I had an opponent, he would be shaking in his boots.
But we can't run this ad without hearing from you. We need your contribution.
No, we don't take donations from major corporations. In fact, we're not sure what major corporations are.
Instead, we rely on our supporters. Like you.
Our campaign is largely funded by small donors like you: Farmers…. Shopkeepers…. Planters owning no more than 199 slaves.
Now, you might wonder, why does George Washington need to campaign for President when it’s a no-brainer that he’ll win? That's a good question, and it deserves a straight answer.
So let me level with you.
Between you and me, John Adams also has his eye on the White House (currently under construction). But, come on, let's get real. John Adams is 5’ 7”. I'm 6’ 2”. Which of us looks more Presidential to you? Which of us is a veteran and war hero? I think you know.
Honestly? I'm not worried by little John Adams. However, I'm willing to bet he isn't the only pretender to my throne . . . turn . . . term of office. So let's not make hasty assumptions about this being a shoo-in. I need you to have my back.
Hey, have you heard a rumor that our new capital will be named for me? I have GREAT news! It's true! Rush me your contribution, and I’ll proudly add YOU to our honor roll as a Charter Founding Honorary Citizen of George, DC!
Your contribution will also help ensure my second term of office. I know this seems premature. But it's critical for us to plan ahead. After all, who else would you want in the White House (under construction)? Little John Adams? Or maybe that guy George Clinton, as if a governor of New York could ever be elected President? Ha! Could you imagine? I don’t think so.
Don't forget to ask for your FREE wooden yard sign, with our campaign slogan chiseled upon it:
GEORGE WASHINGTON IS THE
So, please, don't delay. We need to hear from every American who qualifies to vote, all 45,000 of you (male, not a slave, preferably white, property owner, living in a state that bothers to hold a popular vote).
Are you a woman, enslaved, or poor? Let us know, and we’ll gladly unsubscribe you from our mailing list.
You can count on me. My contribution is:
A hogshead of tobacco
Three bags of rice
*In case you're wondering…. I made up the ad. A.L.
1932: From New York Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt
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