Friends and rivals
The American experience has always been built on experimentation… Our very existence doubted by most of the world, the optimism of Thomas Jefferson became essential to the survival of our republican experiment.
As the election of 1796 loomed… the friendship between Jefferson and John Adams waned. Jefferson reminded his friend of their experiment:
“I am aware of the objection to this, that the office becoming more important may bring on serious discord in elections. In our country I think it will be long first; not within our day; and we may safely trust to the wisdom of our successors the remedies of the evil to arise in theirs. Both experiments however are now fairly committed, and the result will be seen. Never was a finer canvas presented to work on than our countrymen…. This I hope will be the age of experiments in government, and that their basis will be founded on principles of honesty, not of mere force….If ever the morals of a people could be made the basis of their own government, it is our case.” Jefferson to Adams, February 28 1796
Historically, inaugural speeches celebrate the American system… our republican virtue and the peaceful transfer of power. Partisanship is put aside in acknowledgment of being part of something greater, and speakers usually are humbled by the Day.
Still on the Stump
January 20, 2017 was just another stump speech for our 45th President… unaware or unwilling to accept that the day and our history dwarf him, President Trump repeated his neo-populist campaign slogans in a not-so-subtle swipe at his predecessors. At the precise moment he should have shed his reality TV persona, Mr. Trump chose to continue his role as rabble rouser in-chief.
“candid men will acknowledge that in such cases choice would have little advantage to boast of over lot or chance.”
John Adams understood the gravity of his inauguration… March 4, 1797. His words echoed through history for generations to follow, yet were all but ignored today:
“The existence of such a government as ours for any length of time is a full proof of a general dissemination of knowledge and virtue throughout the whole body of the people. And what object or consideration more pleasing than this can be presented to the human mind? If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence.”
Listen to these words, I promise they’re important
Silly observers viewed President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union… address as some great moment in presidential oratory. His supporters fawned over the milk-toast delivery and listless platitudes. In politics, perception is indeed, reality- Obama’s supporters will always perceive him as a transcendental figure in our pantheon. Many of us, simply yawned…
Here is what a substantive, memorable, and historic Annual Message… sounds like:
Fellow-citizens, we can not escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We, even we here, hold the power and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free–honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just–a way which if followed the world will forever applaud and God must forever bless.
This is how you finish a speech….
For History’s sake, I’d like to see…
- The Thomas Jefferson Foundation focus on Jefferson scholarship and curatorial work, rather than Hemings family research
- A national movement to protect historical monuments and memorials from vandals who would erase our past to suit their present
- A proper monument to Dwight D. Eisenhower on the National Mall. Not a politically correct “interpretation” of the man’s life.
- A Presidential candidate who can quote Jefferson and Madison- and not be considered a zealot.
- A new President not named Bush or Clinton
- Congressional term limits
- So-called “public intellectuals” praise America’s history, rather than apologize for it
- Fewer history PhD’s, more public historians
- Less angst over the Confederate flag, more effort at learning the history behind it
- Andrew Jackson’s face on the $20 replaced with Clara Barton’s
- Your continued readership and support……
RIP Gore Vidal
CIA leaked documents to US Senator… Robert Byrd sought information on Civil Rights leaders– Byrd’s Klan ties still matter
Oldest operating store closes… family closes Rhode Island business after 224 years.
National Park Service opens Star Spangled Banner Trail… US finally ready to celebrate War of 1812
Colosseum latest Roman structure to tilt… stabilizers may need to be added as one end dips 16 inches
Don’t build your city on a marsh
What would Washington be without the cherry blossoms?…. they turn 100 this year
Lyme disease is a terrible ailment… even 5,000 years ago, ask the iceman!
Did Queen Victoria become Mrs. Brown?… new evidence suggests a secret marriage and a child.
Hitler the artist rediscovered… if only he had been successful in his youth.
Grant’s first victory is being preserved… Fort Donelson battlefield will be growing.