Vol. 13, No. 3,241 - The American Reporter - September 4, 2007

Mr. Tubbs

by Ed Tubbs
American Reporter Correspondent
Palmetto, Fla.

Printable version of this story

PALMETTO, Fla. -- How can one improve on Thomas Jefferson? It is Independence Day, the one day on our national calendar to refresh our parched palates with words from the father of that independence - not only from Britain, but from those among us who would seek to bind our freedoms to their beliefs.

At the time of Jefferson's presidency, the United States was young, inexperienced, frail, and militarily weak and confronted with threats from East to West and within - threats every bit as real as those we confront today. At that time, none dared be so incautious as to wager hard-earned money on our survival. Good odds weren't not in abundance.

Beyond these basic truths, neither he nor any of the Founding Fathers thought we would lose our rights and liberties to a foreign government as much as they feared we would surrender them to our own government. Today, we see undeniable evidence of an Administration intruding into our most private affairs, diminishing basic rights bequeathed to us by the Founding Fathers, and intimidating American citizens and our press into submission.

This was a peril the founding fathers, especially Mr. Jefferson, fully expected would arise. Indeed, he counted on it (see the first three offerings).

And that raises a poignant and pregnant question: If he were to return for a brief visit today, what do you think he would say to us about the manner in which we have handled stewardship of those precious rights and liberties?

Below are 16 brief passages from Jefferson's writings that I hope will inspire all of us at long last to rush to our windows and angrily declare our ire over the obscene hoof-prints that have recently soiled the Constitution our forefathers lovingly and optimistically entrusted to our care. I hope it will help light the rebellious urge in all of us to once again raise high the torch of freedom that Jefferson and his fellow Americans first set ablaze, and to courageously refuse to let that precious flame any more flicker. The sixteenth quotation reflects what I believe is his greatest accomplishment as President, one that ought to be the standard by which we judge all subsequent officeholders.

And now, Mr. Jefferson:

  • "If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions."
  • "Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."
  • "Offices are as acceptable here as elsewhere, and whenever a man cast a longing eye on them, a rottenness begins in his conduct."
  • "A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both, and deserve neither."
  • "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive."
  • "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
  • "It is more honorable to repair a wrong than to persist in it."
  • "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
  • "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."
  • "Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?"
  • "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be."
  • "The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government."
  • "We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate error so long as reason is left free to combat it."
  • "Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong."
  • "Truth can stand by itself. ... And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desireable? No more than of face and stature... ."
  • "I have the consolation to reflect that during the period of my administration not a drop of the blood of a single fellow citizen was shed by the sword of war or of the law."

Remember: It's not just the 4th of July, it's Independence Day. Live it like you could lose it.

Correspondent Ed Tubbs is a free-lance writer, journalist and political activist in Florida.

Copyright 2007 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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