Monday, December 29, 2008

But he never saw a train

I was thinking about the our third president, Mr. Jefferson, and all the amazing things that happened during his life time. Born in 1743, he lived in well into the 19th Century, passing away July 4th 1826, 50 years after signing the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. A lot of folks talk about the genius of Jefferson, but when you look at historical time lines and juxtapose them against Jefferson's Ideas and inventions, Jefferson comes across as a bit of a bumpkin, for while he was imagining and east-west water route to the west coast through a land populated by Woolly Mammoths and camels, the Europeans were engaged in an industrial revolution. Were Jefferson more scientifically inclined, he might have brought the machines of industry to the south balancing out the agrarian nature of the place and perhaps preventing the Civil War. Instead Mr. Jefferson spent time reading Scripture and deciding what words Christ had actually said. Jefferson was not particularly religious in an evangelical sense, however; he was a big fan of the historical Jesus as a living and moral man. A paradox that jumps out at me is the fact that Jefferson had great respect for Native Americans but seemed perfectly at ease with keeping African slaves. Go figure. So even though Jefferson said it did not bother him if his neighbor had one God or 20 he was not much good for the Negros and if he had paid more attention to that we would have had plenty of Black Presidents by now and I wouldn't have to be so worried about some nut killing Obama or had to go through civil rights thing while I was so impressionable. Oh well, that's life.

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