Evangelicals remind that "salvation" can only come through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
No argument will be made to the contrary. Yet, throughout history there were good Americans who welcomed less figurative, more concrete assurances. Thomas Jefferson was one of them.
Thomas Jefferson was far from the picture of founding father perfection. He was an opulent man who died heavily in debt. He had an eye for the grandiose. Monticello is graced with exotic plants from all over the world. Jefferson was touted to possess one of the finest personal libraries in the Commonwealth of Virginia. His wine cellar was stocked with expensive imported vintages.
A lanky 6-2 1/2, 190 pounds with curly red hair, he could have been mistaken for Mathew McConaughey, had you bumped into him on New Years eve at Nashville's Wild Horse Saloon. Tom loved art. And, he could write, as many who have read the Declaration of Independence will attest to.
He also knew love. His wife of ten years, Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson died tragically at the age of 34. 39-year-old-Thomas promised her that we would never remarry. He was true to his word.
Following Martha's death, Jefferson went through an extended mourning period. At the recommendation of Benjamin Franklin he accepted the ambassadorship to France.
In Paris Jefferson, now age 44, met his younger daughter's 14-year-old servant, Sally Hemmings. Sally, a "quadroon," was a slave and the half sister to Jefferson's deceased wife. Their relationship was a story in itself.
Returning to Virginia, Sally Hemmings passed on remaining in France as a free woman, in favor of sharing Jefferson's bed chamber at Monticello. They parented five children. Four lived to adulthood.
Through the limited photos and descriptions we now know that Sally stood about 5'5", had long black hair and was eerily reminiscent of Halle Berry.
Jefferson is remembered as one of America's finest Presidents. Most noteworthy was his decision to pay France $15,000,000 for what became known as the Louisiana purchase. Often forgotten are his endless debates with Alexander Hamilton.
What shaped Jefferson's paradigm will never be truly known. He always advocated the rights of the individual state from a standpoint that was later described as "strict construction." In defending his position, he constantly referred to the common man and his place in America.
Perhaps it was derived or, at least, partially derived from his relationship with Hemmings. It was clearly apparent that he harbored a deep empathy and understanding for the common man. He realized that most in America had come to escape a European nobility system. He saw the danger in an overly centralized government that wielded too much power.
Hamilton believed that government was best administered by the better educated, more affluent, from a central point. He admitted to not trusting the common man with the rigors of government. To Jefferson, this amounted to a ruling class. In essence, an American nobility.
2016 Presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina describes it as "the political class."
Jefferson advocated less centralization, more control from the individual states. He was the ultimate proponent of the 10th amendment.
How much power should be reserved for the individual states has plagued America since Thomas Jefferson's day. A great and bloody war was fought over it. Today it remains a subject for debate.
The recent Jade Helm 15 question is the fruit of fear that has festered. Some considered this apprehension unjustified. But, coupled with mounting concerns on other issues such an overbearing E.P.A.'s encroachment and the I.R.S.'s apparent partisanship, the paranoia that is creeping across the continent can't be easily dismissed!
When jobs are intentionally destroyed or shipped abroad, people ask "why!"
When an agency such as the I.R.S. lives by a standard, "guilty until proven innocent," people question the exception.
When farmers are put out of business because of a minnow, they ask, "who are these people who are making these decisions and what are their credentials?"
When United Nations troops are seen in Texas poising for photographs at Wall Mart, rational people, not reactionaries exclaim, "what in the hell are UN soldiers doing on American soil!"
Thomas Jefferson's way was all about protecting the little guy. But it was likewise a guarantee that a small group of well organized fanatics might not seize control of a government grown too big, powerful and centralized.
Jefferson was not alive in 1917. But had he been, he would have concluded that the Bolshevik Revolution and the subsequent 70-year Communist nightmare would have been averted had the individual provinces held more power.
Nicholas Wrenden corroborated this position in his book, "The Unmaking of a Russian." Wrenden reveals how "only about 60,000 well organized, well disciplined" believers implemented a brutal dictatorship over a region of better than 150 million people. Though heavily outnumbered, they took control of Moscow, and with it, the central bureaucracy.
Communists in America know that the key to ultimate takeover lies in a powerful, Washington, D.C. government. This preference crosses party lines. Even Republicans who claim to be conservative, yet favor "top down, control from Washington," are one in the same! Their methodologies may differ, as did those of Stalin and Troksky. But the goal remains consistent.
Quelling the rising anxiety of a federal government grown too powerful may be as easy as decentralization. It would not come without a fight.
Al Sharpton talks vigorously about the need for a more centralized government. Many states, especially those in the Northeast, don't want it. They warn that that decentralization would result in "rich states and poor states." Some go as far to say that it would "make us like little, individual countries."
The latter may be an exaggeration. The nation has national entitlement programs, a military, an interstate system, a national park service, a postal service and a space program. What more do we need at the federal level?
It is not to say that many of the services are not without merit. Or need! But, could they not be better administered from the state level? Texas' Educational and Environmental track records are proof enough for those who live there!Ditto for Energy oversight and Homeland Security. The latter definitely should be done under the auspices of the individual states. For those unconvinced, read both the second and 10th amendments!
A Department of Homeland Security in the wrong hands, could become an American edition of the S.S.! Members of the military swear an oath to the defend the constitution. The Secret Service allegiance is to the Chief Executive. What about D.H.S.? Would it not be a better option to administer this department at the state level?
Next month, the Supreme Court will decide on the definition of marriage. Should not that determination be left up to the individual states? Ditto for abortion and Marijuana legalization.
What makes America unique to every country in the world is how we began. We are, "the United States of America." Not, the "United American States." Our motto reinforces this assertion: "E Pluribus Unum."- "From the many, one."
Democrats and Neo-Con Republicans will attest to their understanding of Jefferson's "strict constructionist" standard. They will simultaneously say that it is not practical in today's America. When questioned, "why," the answer all comes down to inertia.
Implementing a constitutionally correct America would have a devastating effect on the system in place. Thousands of jobs, including large numbers of jobs currently headquartered in Washington would either be redirected or eliminated. For some members of the bureaucracy, it would be as simple as a new boss. Others could be looking at relocation, or a pink slip!
Politicians talk. But implementing a Jeffersonian style America would take a tough, decisive President, backed by an equally committed Congress and Senate. The bulk of countrymen say it "would never happen!" Yet, when fear is introduced into the equation, never say never!
Americans need to ask these proponents of big government from Washington, "why" they believe this to be the better way? Our history deficient youth need to be cornered into admitting that they know nothing about Weimar or the Bolshevik Revolution, what they symbolized and why we, as a nation, don't want to go there!
There was likely nothing to Jade Helm 15. But, the reaction that it generated should be noted. Millions of Americans have lost complete trust in the federal government. Fear is replacing reason, in too many instances.
This essentially happened in the Weimar Republic. It stands as historical proof, that people are most gullible when they are frightened.
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