"The national government of the United States is not entitled to intrude into the religious sensibilities of the people."
— Clay S. Jenkinson portraying Thomas Jefferson
My core conviction is that the American people are less divided than they seem. That the American people are hungry for something more authentic in the national arena. That people are more reasonable and open-minded than they seem.
Civilized nations enact reasonable laws to prevent create a more perfect union, encourage domestic tranquility, secure the lives and fortune of their citizens, and prevent mayhem.
Drifting down the river in the afternoon, gazing up at the blue blue sky, slipping past golden eagles as if they were sparrows or wrens, examining the famous White Cliffs that Lewis said had the feeling of “scenes of visionary enchantment,” and at times just pulling the paddles into the canoe to feel the gentle but inexorable tug of the continent, this too is paradise on earth.
I thank God that I was alive when it happened. It was surely the greatest human achievement in my lifetime, one of the handful of greatest moments since we crawled out of the sea and found a way to stand upright.
There is no greater freedom than being somewhere in the American West with nowhere you have to be, ambling in search of the perfect platonic campsite, living on little, and just giving yourself to all that astonishing open public land.
We wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving from the Thomas Jefferson Hour. This week, we speak to four friends including Lisa Suhay, who tells us about her new book America the Grateful; Pat Brodowski, the head gardener at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello; luthier Kevin Muiderman, who gives us an update on the ukulele he is building for Clay; and Nashville-based songwriter Brad Crisler, who tells us about his plans for Thanksgiving in Alabama.
In the end food is just fuel. It keeps the engine running, and for me the engine was designed to do the work of the soul—to read books and maybe write some too, to imagine the world you want to live in, to evaluate the events that take place in the public square, to lift oneself and those around you to a higher plane of enlightenment, to do what you can—in Jefferson’s words—to ameliorate the condition of mankind.