Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thomas Jefferson

Tonight was a "night off" -- no gym. I watched a PBS program on Thomas Jefferson I'd not seen before. In wrapping up the program, they said Thomas Jefferson thought that the U.S. would always be the beacon of freedom and enlightenment vis-a-vis oppressive Europe and all its problems (though Jefferson himself didn't emancipate all his slaves--he needed them to preserve his genteel lifestyle to the end--and believed Africans to be inherently inferior to whites). I'm afraid the tables have at last turned, however, much to my chagrin. But don't blame me--I didn't vote for George W. Bush. I can only imagine where we'd be now if Al Gore had rightfully become president.

So Europe is now more enlightened than we are, but the tables are turning here too. The calculated deception of the public, the cronyism driven by greed for money and power, and the rank ineptitude of the Bush administration are coming to light, as is the hypocrisy of his Bible-thumping, gay-bashing minions. For Thomas Jefferson, organized religion was antithetical to his concept of individual freedom and enlightenment. He lived in a time when religion enforced tyrannical governments. (Thus we have our constitutional separation of church and state.) He was to the end, his own prejudices notwithstanding, a revolutionary. I'm left to wonder what Thomas Jefferson would think of this horrible government we have now in the U.S, the country he helped conceive.

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