"The press is vital to the success of the nation."
— Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Clay S. Jenkinson
I spend a lot of time puzzling over Thomas Jefferson. But the precise nature of his relations with Sally Hemings is not one of the themes that interests me much, in part because these things are inherently vexed and mysterious.
We are rich, but we are now utterly dependent on entities we cannot control and cannot always even understand.
How does it happen? How do we get so busy with our lives, so stuck in routines, that we surrender our autonomy and sometimes our integrity, and become not much more than robots going through the motions of life but with pretty anemic vital signs.
Trump’s rhetoric is extreme, and perhaps irresponsible, but it is hardly unique. The Judicial Branch of the American government has annoyed or outraged American presidents from the beginning.
A KKK hood over Jefferson’s head at one of the premier academic institutions of the United States? Columbia, I thought you taught your students to think, to discuss, to reflect, to ponder, to debate, to imagine, to explore rather than merely to posture in righteousness. Really, the students of Columbia are now joining the new American Culture of Outrage? I thought Columbia was above cliché.
We return to our “Jefferson 101” series with a continued discussion about Jefferson’s period of retirement after his term as Secretary of State ended in 1793 and he returned to Monticello. Subjects include Jefferson’s reasons for leaving Washington, the Jay treaty, slavery and a revealing letter Jefferson wrote to his daughter Maria.