But I’m more Jeffersonian
Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham
I caught myself saying it out loud the other day.
“If you had to pin me down, I’m a Jeffersonian,” I said to a person who had just attended a political forum for which I had served as the moderator.
Chris Matthews, I’m not – I’m younger, not nearly as jowlly, and my neck doesn’t do that old-woman-chicken-gizzard thing.
But I digress.
I was getting ready to light into myself for invoking the name of Jefferson in describing my political philosophy.
I was going into my dissertation with this poor lady whose only crime against humanity was asking me where I stand on the political spectrum.
“Well, I guess you could say that I don’t like the government spending my money, and I don’t like it telling me what to do. If you had to pin me down …”
Yada yada yada, I became one of those people.
You know the kind – who parse the billions of words spoken by Thomas Jefferson to find one sentence attributed to him that sounds vaguely in agreement with some cockamamie idea that they’ve had since they heard it from one of their frat brothers at Midwinters that they can then use to declare themselves to be heirs to TJ.
It’s the same kind of thing that world religions do with the Bible – only in this case it’s more sinister.
See, the guy’s dead – hasn’t endorsed a candidate for office in 180 years. And I can’t imagine that he would endorse anybody out there these days – to put it bluntly, we haven’t had a statesman in a long, long while.
I mean, seriously, can you imagine George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton or John Edwards or Rudy Giuliani writing the friggin’ Declaration of Independence?
That’s a trick question – they would have a speechwriter do it for them. And then test it with focus groups to see how it would poll with soccer moms.
In this day and age, then, I think we ought to just agree to forego references to guys like Jefferson and Washington and Lincoln – hell, I think it’s unfair to Millard Fillmore that we try to compare ourselves to the greats of the past.
I’m going to get this effort under way here today.
I hereby retract any claims to being a Jeffersonian or having been influenced by Thomas Jefferson.
OK, so I am a graduate of his university, and think his ideas concerning architecture and rigorous daily exercise are just plain groovy.
Ahem, I digress again.
If you happen to hear me trying to bring myself into any kind of close relation to Mr. Jefferson forthwith, you have my express written permission to tickle my nose with one of those kind of feathered fountain pens that John Hancock used to sign the Declaration of Independence.