The most unexpected moment to bring me to repeated tears in Hamilton: An American Musical is this song, “One Last Time.” It dramatizes George Washington’s decision not to run for a third term as president, and the reasoning for establishing the presidency as an office greater than any office holder.
This level of devotion to the idea of American democracy–the selfless nobility of his dream–has left me weeping more times than I can count.
Here’s the original cast performing the song at the White House last year; the moment I’m thinking of comes around 1:50 into the video. Washington’s 285th birthday is tomorrow – join me to celebrate this, his most valuable legacy.
Mr. President, they will say you’re weak
No, they will see we’re strong
Your position is so unique
So I’ll use it to move them along
Why do you have to say goodbye?
If I say goodbye, the nation learns to move on
It outlives me when I’m gone
Like the scripture says:
“Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid.”
They’ll be safe in the nation we’ve made
I wanna sit under my own vine and fig tree
A moment alone in the shade
At home in this nation we’ve made
One last time