Could Thomas Jefferson, George Washington or James Madison get elected to federal office today? One look at the right-wing conservatives running for president in 2012 and my guess is that apparently any clown can run for office and get serious support and money for their cause. Perhaps because of the tenaciousness of the American Short Memory Syndrome, everyone seems to have forgotten the nightmare and the legacy of the last GOP President Loon who was appointed to one term by the SCOTUS but was re-elected for a second. Having emerged broken, burned and scared from that real world reenactment of The Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue, a sizable portion of the population seduced by that administration’s nationalistic sadism, wants another round of same. The years from 2000 to 2008 not only robbed the country of the appreciation of irony, it made radical, strange, bizarre and Orwellian the new norm. So when we think of The Founders as radicals we have to recreate a narrative. Especially if one if familiar with the times they lived in and the history of the political philosophy and movements that up to the formulation of the vision they had for a new nation. One could say that some of the most well-known and central figures of the nation ‘s founding would be called anti-American, socialistic, liberals, progressives, anti-business and anti-Christs by right-wing conservative pundits, and certainly bloggers. 5 Founding Fathers Whose Skepticism About Christianity Would Make Them Unelectable Today
1. George Washington:
*Washington was widely tolerant of other beliefs. He is the author of one of the great classics of religious liberty – the letter to Touro Synagogue (1790). In this letter, Washington assured America’s Jews that they would enjoy complete religious liberty in America; not mere toleration in an officially “Christian” nation. He outlines a vision of a multi-faith society where all are free.
2. John Adams:
* Adams rejected belief in the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, core concepts of Christian dogma. In his personal writings, Adams makes it clear that he considered some Christian dogma to be incomprehensible.
3. Thomas Jefferson
*Jefferson once famously observed to Adams, “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”
Jefferson took political stands that would infuriate today’s Religious Right and ensure that they would work to defeat him. He refused to issue proclamations calling for days of prayer and fasting, saying that such religious duties were no part of the chief executive’s job. His assertion that the First Amendment erects a “wall of separation between church and state” still rankles the Religious Right today.
4. James Madison
*Madison was perhaps the strictest church-state separationist among the founders, taking stands that make the ACLU look like a bunch of pikers. He opposed government-paid chaplains in Congress and in the military. As president, Madison rejected a proposed census because it involved counting people by profession. For the government to count the clergy, Madison said, would violate the First Amendment.
5. Thomas Paine ( never elected to office but was the source via his pamphlets for Americans to rally for political independence).
*He was also a radical Deist whose later work, The Age of Reason, still infuriates fundamentalists. In the tome, Paine attacked institutionalized religion and all of the major tenets of Christianity. He rejected prophecies and miracles and called on readers to embrace reason. The Bible, Paine asserted, can in no way be infallible. He called the god of the Old Testament “wicked” and the entire Bible “the pretended word of God.” (There go the Red States!)
All* indicate direct quotes from the source.
I cannot find the quote, the intertubes are stubborn some days about coughing up its treasures. So to paraphrase, America, from the beginning has been the eternal promise to live up to its ideals. There was that strange loose confederation of states, the whole slavery thing – which even slave holders like Jefferson said would be a blight on the memory of the nation’s founding. And women were denied the vote. Anti-Suffrage Postcards from Hugh R. Hughes to the Honorable Homer P. Snyder, ca. 1915
Series : Petitions and Memorials Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, compiled 06/03/1813 – 1998
Record Group 233: Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789 – 2011. The National Archives.
Mr. Hughes seemed to prefer sighting numbers absent any liberal justification. Perhaps knowing that ideologically his views did not represent republican ideals about individual rights. Balancing the two has been difficult for great thinkers, impossible for misogynists.
By way of the Think Progress Tumblr site,
The 1% on the Shoulders of the 99%
Korean sculptor and installation artist Do Ho Suh created this awesome installation, entitled Floor, that might not look like much until you get good and close to it. Glass plates rest on thousands of multicolored miniature plastic figures who are crowded together with their heads and arms turned skyward. Together, they support the weight of the individual visitor who steps onto the floor.
Currently showing at Lehmann Maupin’s pop-up gallery at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI) until February 11th, Floor is a wonderfully thought-provoking installation.
[via archiemcphee :: My Modern Metropolis]
I can understand why the Mitts, Newts, Bushs, Koch brothers and assorted self obsessed millionaires think they are the foundation for the wealth created in the U.S. I cannot understand why so many blue-collar conservatives see themselves and their place in the scheme of things as simply tools for the 1%.
Romney’s Charge That Most Federal Low-Income Spending Goes for “Overhead” and “Bureaucrats” Is False. For Major Low-Income Programs, More Than 90 Percent Goes to Beneficiaries.
The Beauty of Pollination HD
Josefine Cronholm – In Your Wild Garden. The Swedish do some great jazz.