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Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Apr 14, 2010 7:38 AM PDT 

This chapter is devoted to Thomas Jefferson, the visionary Founding Father who saw furthest into our nation’s future than any other man in what was to become the United States of America. Of course, if a woman was as visionary we would not know it, since no one was listening to the wisdom of Founding Mothers such as Abigail Adams, perhaps the first suffragette.  

When discussing the  Constitution of the new Republic, she had warned the future President that the rights of women should by right and logic be included in the document. She saw that in a real democracy, all laws should be written to be consistent with the ideals of equality of rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Abigail Adams saw the essential wisdom of the ideas expressed by Jefferson that have become to be regarded as  the embodiment of the ideals of the new nation. 

Had her advice been heeded, it is likely that we could have avoided the foolish foreign entanglements started by Madison in 1812. Although he warned us of the dangers of perpetual warfare, Madison succumbed to pressure from his Imperialist friends in the Federalist Party to invade Canada when America was still  young and vulnerable. Had Abigail Adams been listened to, we might not have had  the situation in which we now find ourselves, confronted by the specter of eternal war in Afghanistan, Iraq and places we do not usually find mentioned in the corporate media today. Had women had a say in decisions of war and peace throughout the history of the Republic, perhaps Americans would have a tradition of being less willing to send its children to war.

Jefferson was not clairvoyant. His precognition stemmed from his careful study of  the patterns of history and political and economic models that had been tested and failed. He knew then that pattern recognition is the key to precognition. His ideas were well respected, but three key points were ignored. First, he advised against giving too much power to a small group of men in the senate from the least populated states. He understood the importance of  educating  America's children through a system of public education. There was no other way in a democratic society to carefully select the “natural aristocracy" that  would put their interests  over their own.  This inevitably gave rise to the Imperial Roman Senate that now fiddles why America burns.
Jefferson also warned of the rise of an economic aristocracy if we did not have a confiscatory estate tax. His prediction was borne out when the Imperial Senate began to eliminate the tax after wealthy corporatists gained power over the  Congress. In seeking a permanent majority in the 1980s, the wealthy backers of the Republican Party sought to  buy the loyalty of their Puppets in Congress, in exchange for them putting their interests over those of the rest of us.

The Democratic party was complicit in this shift to corporate rule. Rather than to follow its tradition of working for We the People, they simply accepted as a given that they must adopt the campaign finance practices of Republicans. All Americans could see the endemic corruption of Congress by special interest funding of campaigns and by corporate lobbyists, but differed in their views of its cause and the cure. When fascism is mistaken for socialism, the lack of an educated citizenry became painfully apparent.
Jefferson advised the men assembled at the Constitutional Convention to include an eleventh amendment that would ensure that soulless corporations created by the States soley to create wealth could never also control the Senate. Though a believer in the idea that men were inherently good, he recognized the folly of trusting men given such power to not succumb to base urges to benefit themselves at the expense of the People. This is why he concluded that “The tree of liberty must from time to time be watered with the blood of patriots."
We have seen the effect of ignoring his warnings come to pass, though we have not yet seen bloody Revolution spilling into the streets. The aspiring McVeighs remain a silent minority at this time, kept in check by their unwillingness to put their families at further peril by challenging the federal government in open warfare. These quivering "patriots" have become survivalists, stockpiling ammunition and food to survive what they believe to be the coming Apocalypse. Instead of fighting for the American dream through the democratic process, they await the fate that befalls any nation that succumbs to the greed of leaders drunken by the success of their predecessors and blind to their responsibility to ensure the success of the American experiment in democracy by safeguarding the rights of the citizenry.
We created a government of the People, by the People and for the People but have allowed ourselves to be lulled into complacency by ignoring our civic duty to remain educated, aware and on guard against the excesses of our own government. Jefferson asked that his tombstone list only his accomplishment of founding and being the first President of the College of Virginia because he foresaw the danger of ignorance.

Despite this knowledge, he himself contributed to the decay of democracy when he lost faith in the ability of men to rule themselves, the essential component of a democratic society. He ignored Washington’s warning to avoid the rise of factionalism. He left
 Washington’s cabinet out of pique, leaving foreign affairs to be conducted by men less capable than him. Within a few years and in part through deceit, he used a partisan press to ascend to the Presidency .
Eventually, there came into being the First Bank of the United States. Though well intentioned, Hamilton created this monstrosity in the belief that wealth and power concentrated in the hands of the few was natural and necessary to secure America’s place in the global community. Once again, Jefferson proved prescient in predicting that it was dangerous to give in to the idea that Industrial Revolution would fuel the blossoming of a New World Order that would benefit all. 

Hamilton accepted the idea that the natural aristocracy should benefit disproportionately from the sweat off the brows of the nation’s laborers. A bastard child who never knew his father, he was envious of the privileges of those born to wealth and nobility. Though he earned his position at Washington’s side through hard work, intelligence and service to his country during and after the American Revolution, he gave in to the angels of his lesser nature in seeking to advance his own standing by serving the interests of the wealthy and powerful.
Jackson became the first Democratic President in a populist revolt against the increasing power of the Second Federal Bank and private banking industry that controlled it.  Jackson was a violent, vain and inconstant man who won reelection by the clever manipulation of populist sentiment and burning resentment against the power of the Bank and its President, Nicholas Biddle. Having won fame and admiration from the slaughter of British troops at New Orleans after peace had been declared after the fiasco of the War of 1812, Jackson used his fame and popularity to secure a place in history by taking away the charter of the Bank. Later, he would use his political power to amass a great personal fortune in land speculation.

When he ignored a Supreme Court decision recognizing Native American treaty rights, the white majority smiled at his boldness and applauded, proving that Adams' fear of the rabble was not entirely ill-founded. In betraying not only his former foes but the Native Americans  who had fought beside him against their fellow tribes and against the British invader, he demonstrated what a nation that tolerated slavery could become.

The Native Americans forcefully evicted from their ancestral homelands bloodied the path of the Trail of Tears. They were sent on their way to the land where rich oilfields lay undiscovered. When this source of wealth was seized by private interests under a claim of Manifest Destiny, they were again displaced by an American government which had already abandoned any pretense of belief in the notion that all men are created equal. This was an early part of what has become a continuing pattern of betrayal and laws and treaties full of false guarantees of equal rights under national and international law. 

The abuse Jackson and his mother had suffered at the hands of the British during the Revolution might have inspired him to continue to combat injustices of the wealthy and powerful against the weak and the poor. Trauma in childhood will usually make the victim deeply compassionate or distrustful and convinced that each of us must look out for ourself instead of the good of all. Jackson's experiences left him angry, bitter and blinded by the desire for the power to ensure that he would never be forcibly controlled by others. Instead, he was controlled by his own unchecked anger.

In the end, Jackson’s populist efforts came to nothing. The National Bank was re-established and in 1913 became the Federal Reserve. This entity has become the most powerful player in the destruction of the American and world economies. Having been granted great power in the new Republic, Jackson established the precedent of seizing Executive power that now threaten democracy itself. In doing so with the support of average Americans, he proved that the fears of the early conservatives of the dangers of mob rule had been justified, though only because they had become a self-fulfilling prophesy. 

In believing that men were inherently selfish, those who feared the power of a People to govern themselves had acted accordingly and sowed the seeds of the death of their own child, the infant Republic. Only when we remember that democracy depends on the idea that men and women are inherently good and thus capable of ruling themselves can we defeat fascism in America. When we remember that we are all in this together, we can Take Back America for the People and ensure that the last, best hope for Mankind shall not perish from the Earth.

In the immortal words of Sam Cooke:

Don't know much about history.
Don't know much biology.
Don't know much about a science book.
Don't know much about the French I took.
But I do know that I love you
and I know that if you love me too,
what a wonderful world this would be.

Don't know much about geography.
Don't know much trigonometry.
Don't know much about algebra.
Don't know what a slide rule is for.
But I do know one and one is two
and if this one could be with you,
what a wonderful world this would be.

Now, I don't claim to be an "A" student,
but I'm trying to be.
For maybe by being an "A" student baby,
I can win your love for me.

Rick Staggenborg, MD
Roseburg, Oregon

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