Tag Archives: Thomas Jefferson

Enemy of the People

Alexander Hamilton – the first Federalist

Alexander Hamilton – the first Federalist

The Bill of Rights including the First Amendment, protecting freedom of speech and press, was written to protect us against the wrongs that might otherwise be done against citizens, by an oppressive government or by a willful majority against a weaker minority or individual.

The U.S. Constitution replaced the colonies’ Articles of Confederation, declaring the Articles ineffective, making it necessary, the Federalists insisted, to re-create our government, so that we might survive as an independent nation.

We formed a government divided into three departments, each with specified powers and responsibilities, separated one from the other, a federal government.

But the Constitution, created in Philadelphia, said nothing about the individual rights reserved to the people.

Some called the Constitution a “gilded trap” created by the aristocratic elements and charged it was anti-democratic.

An anti-federalist from Massachusetts wrote under the assumed name, John DeWitt, “[t]hat the want of a Bill of Rights to accompany this proposed system [of federalism], is a solid objection to it ….” Continue reading

Mike Pugh – In Defense of a Meadow

Mike and Sian Pugh in the Meadow he’s defending – an echo of American Gothic?

Mike and Sian Pugh in the Meadow he’s defending – an echo of American Gothic?

Mike Pugh is from Kansas where, as a young man, he worked a fair amount of his time haying.

Despite his work in the fields, he didn’t consciously consider how he might be forming a partnership with nature that would stay with him.

This connection with the land became clear when he came to Western Loudoun County where many are struggling to preserve the land’s rural character.

Mike didn’t expect he’d become a combatant in a debate to preserve what he found. Continue reading

Civil public dialogue

Senator Orrin Hatch and your correspondent

Senator Orrin Hatch and your correspondent

I studied law because I wanted to be involved in politics.  Thomas Jefferson told a cousin who sought his advice that, if he wanted to go into politics, he should study the law.  I figured Jefferson knew what he was talking about.

My party preference was set when I heard Senator Jack Kennedy, running for President, speak at Fordham University when I was a High School freshman at the Prep.

Senator Ted Kennedy and, well, yours truly

Senator Ted Kennedy and, well, yours truly

I didn’t give a thought to whether preferring one political party or another could bar one from public service.

After Columbia Law School, I was appointed a law clerk in the 2nd Circuit by an Eisenhower appointee, a NY federal prosecutor by a Nixon appointee, special counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee by Senator Strom Thurmond, and special counsel to the U.S. Senate Labor Committee by Orrin Hatch; all of these appointments were by Republicans.

In those days, you could find a worthy challenge in public service without regard to party affiliation.

In 1980, I was a Director of Citizens for Kennedy in New York, when Ted challenged Jimmy Carter to be the party’s nominee for President.  But it was not to be.

When I was appointed by Senator Hatch as his Special Counsel after Ted’s campaign, I arrived early to an empty Senate Labor Committee Hearing Room, except for Senator Kennedy who was the ranking member on the Committee.

Ted asked, “What brings you here?”

“I’m Special Counsel to the Senate Labor Committee,” I answered.

Ted laughed, “No, you’re not. I didn’t appoint you.”

“No,” I said, “You didn’t but Orrin did.”

Ted came closer, speaking softly, in a mock conspiratorial way, and asked, “Does he know about us?”

I said, “Yes, he does.” Continue reading

The enlargement of liberty – our progress

Thomas Jefferson: "All men are created equal"

Thomas Jefferson: “All men are created equal”

When Thomas Jefferson penned the words in our Declaration of Independence in 1776 that “all Men are created equal,” he stated what the Continental Congress believed to be the proper condition of men in the colonies in relation to the offenses suffered under Great Britain.

Unfortunately, all men were not treated as “equals” within the several colonies either.

Even after our federal constitution with its Bill of Rights, slaves and women enjoyed no rights, unalienable or otherwise.  They were property.

The Declaration was an unfulfilled promise of equality.

A former U.S. Senator said: “The enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any western society.” Continue reading

Anarchy?

Henry David Thoreau said he heartily agreed with that Jeffersonian remark, “that government is best which governs least.”

He said, however, he’d go one better, believing “That government is best which governs not at all.”

Henry was, in truth and fact, a non-violent anarchist.

Some might think our current brand of green tea anarchists from mostly red states draw wisdom from Henry when enthusiastically shutting down the government – invoking the Affordable Care Act (ACA)(or Obamacare) as their pretext for what they’ve wanted to do ever since they’ve dominated the House Republican Caucus in the U.S. Congress and dictated what the Speaker may move to the floor for a vote.

But Henry’s no-government anarchism presumed a precondition, that would be satisfied “when men are prepared for it, [and then] that will be the kind of government which they will have.” Continue reading