Updates for Friday, September 3rd [2004]

When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.

9/3/2004

Recently I find myself in dire straits. I haven't heard from Mr. Meises, since our last meeting of urgency. He may perhaps hold the key to my time travelling situation, and the longer I am stuck here in this new age, the more I grow weary of this busybody life. I have been here, my friends, a little over 1 year. In fact, to this day, one year ago, was when I wrote my first Enternet letter to you. Since then it has been a confusing experience for me and for Daniel, and those around us that I care about so.

Tho' I hear so little from you I hope my thoughts do transcend the limitations of space or even time, and perhaps becomes immemorial, as I wish for all my letters I have written throughout the course of my life. It's always been a mistake for men to collect their journals of secrets, intended never to be read by another. A man's true journal as well as his heart lies in his letters, each one meant to be read by at least one soul - that to whom it is addressed. These are the true testament of his character.

I believe in respect and dignity, although I have had little time for either since finding myself in this new and confusing time. I compiled my notes last night, and realize I am about halfway done with the letter which I intend to address to Congress, may it find it's mark today or yesterday, I know not yet. I believe in a way God has put me here to observe something, that thing it has not yet come to pass, so I remain.

James was gone, he had decided to participate in the protesting outside the Republican National Convention. I can barely tolerate his presence, and thus appreciate his absence. Me and Daniel had a conversation briefly last night after watching part of the convention which James so prudently rushed off to denounce.

Me: These Republicans sure do seem ardent about their system. Independence of the will of the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government. It is neither America's doing that a war begun, nor the doing of others. Indeed, it is the doing of politicians and warmongers.

Daniel: With a neo-con like you, I'm surprised to hear you say that.

Me: Let me present to you one simple question. What has destroyed liberty and the rights of men in every government that has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating of all cares and powers into one body. I have studied the backgrounds and agendas of the Republicans and the Democrats and neither seem to differ on concentrating these powers, they just differ on the separate order of powers. I heard Bush mention in the speech, he intends to lower spending. How does he propose to do that when he increases funding for so many different programs? By borrowing from the great banks? Then we have bankers running our lives into the ground, along with our prosperity. There were many contradictions I saw in the speech of the President. He did his words no justice in making government something less, but merely reassured us that we wouldn't be making it as big as his opponent's. To that extent it may be true.

Daniel: So I take it you'll be voting for Kerry? Wait, we don't really have the right things to register you, with the fake ID and such...

Me: Daniel, my good friend, I do not intend to do anything more than be an observer. I haven't held in any better regard his opponent, Mr. Kerry. Regardless, I will be happy to share my concerns of Mr. Bush from the notes I took during the course of his speech.

Daniel: Sorry man, I'm tired, and I'm about to head off to sleep. Maybe later.

I decided that since Daniel did not care to consume these notes, that I would dispense them to you. These were jotted quickly down upon my notecards, during the course of his speech.

1. At the beginning of the speech, Mr. Bush states he resolves for a safer world. In studies of his actions, I find no evidence of this. The threat of terrorism has risen as the Muslim raiders unite under the banner of hatred of the West. Our troops being there seem to make our foes stalwart and belligerent. They hate our government because it is a living libel on their own, our presence a constant reminder of this. Lest our tenuous treaties force us into more fighting, we should leave the other side of the world to itself alone, and that would be more safe than the imaginings of Mr. Bush that his policies of interfering do us justice.

2. "I believe every child can learn, and every school must teach" ??? (here I added a notation of question marks to denote my confusion towards this comment)

3. I note here, contrivance in the concept of a "federal" education standard. I do not see where the Constitution grants government this authority, even in the changes that have been made since my absence, and I wonder if this is not the root of further problems with schools today that I have read about in the newspapers of today. Sounds like he is trying to make himself a King of American life, not a honestly limited President.

4. The President is a Commander in Chief and head of the executive order. Why is it his concern what medical benefits men of old age get? When I was in my time, I was much older, as we know from the accident I have become young renewed. When I was old, there was nothing less than my ingenuity, my estate and my nearby family (few and far between) to sustain me. There was no "Medicare", and I question how as President in a new age of innovation, he sees it fit his responsibility alone to buy the medicines for the old. Likewise I do not understand how the old do not have the pride or wisdom to reject such an offer, as I surely would've.

5. Mr. Bush just mentioned tax relief. I do not really see relief, as it appears the Federal taxes are higher now than they ever were before. I read in the paper that his convention cost taxpayers about $40 million, surely that's millions there that could've been relieved if the politicians funded their own grand stage shows.

6. Mr. Bush claims he does not want to run people's lives, but improve them. To this I say, government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. Or, I've heard it said as such. To say this is compassionately conservative is a misunderstanding of the idea of conservation of government.

7. I am glad Mr. Bush says he plans to deregulate, reform the tax code, and reduce Federal spending.

8. I don't see how improving housing, increased community college funding, restaffing training positions, and regulating the workplace to be "family friendly" are all consistent with his plans to deregulate and reduce spending. Later calls for increased funding totally destroy whatever hope I might've had in Mr. Bush actually making spending or taxes go down any considerable amount.

9. If the government had never meddled in people's unalienable rights, the whole nation would be an "ownership society", would it not?

10. Mr. Bush is neither a professor nor a teacher. His job as President is not to school children. His address on education is absurd.

11. The government has health insurance programs?

12. The welfare of Americans from my time was based on a requirement to work and support their families, because without working to do so, they couldn't. Every man strove to be something better. Today I see people like Daniel and he doesn't strive. I can only imagine his fate if he ever had a child to support, or several.

13. Mr. Bush poses a question about defending America, stating he will defend it every time. However, earlier he did admit his actions were an offense. When the terrorist pirates attacked good Americans, I attacked the nations of their home, those who harbored them. Once left with a treaty of peace, I returned our troops. I did not maraud around neighboring nations whom I thought may harbor pirates or other felons of the high seas. I don't see how international offense is the same as good national defense.

14. 40 alliances? Where are all these other fighters and why do we reward them? There was something I always said... Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.

15. Mr. Bush paints a picture of a nation which needs to hope and needs to act. To hope is to not act, to act is to dispel hope in favor of reality. Hoping and acting in abandon will contradict the mind of a Free Man, and confound him. Perhaps as it has done just this to Mr. Bush.

16. Mr. Bush comes across to me as a resolute man, but also one who is short-sighted and ignorant. If he understood what liberty is for, he would know not to fight it in the name of others, putting our own liberty at risk.

I will collect my thoughts another time. I have too much on my mind as of now. This morning I was met with dismay as the unattended dog James left here managed to bloody my poor turtle to death. I, in my sorrow, could not take the presence of the dog any longer. Mr. Capitalism will be remembered for being a faithful and steady pet, who would return with me the faith I invest in him, a cordial guest I hoped would stay with us longer, but is indeed, dead. My first reaction was to shout down Daniel in anger and disgust, but remembering the good lessons I have taught others, I decided instead to count to 200 before speaking. I approach now calm and cooler, hopefully with the perspective necessary to finally convince this household to get rid of the filthy beast, who is so carelessly untrained and unwatched. How wreckless can people be?

to yourself I tender sincere wishes of friendship & respect.

- TH. Jefferson

P.S. Daniel had some news for me, just 5 minutes ago, as I was getting ready to deliver this letter to you.

Daniel: Tommy-boy! Pack your bags!

Me: Why the sense of urgency? Is something wrong?

Daniel: I just got word from James, his group got a grant and they will be inviting volunteers on a ROAD TRIP! We've been invited along, with the recent hard work and cash you've been bringing in from working so regularly, we have enough money to do it too. Let's go!

Me: Oh boy.

Editor's Notes:

Yep, wish TeeJ a happy birthday, this journal is one year old today. I thank all of you for reading and hope you look forward to the future of TeeJ as much as I do.

This entry ends a long series of updates themed around Jefferson's "Decalogue of Canons for observation in practical life". For the last 10 updates, with exception to the "Big Race" update, the title and theme of each update was based around one of 10 rules, ending with the final rule in this update. The full list, which is really just a good list of advice for anyone,

1. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.
2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3. Never spend your money before you have it.
4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
6. We never repent of having eaten too little.
7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
9. Take things always by their smooth handle.
10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.

Jefferson wrote out this original list for a young man who was named in his same namesake, Thomas Jefferson Smith. Here's the letter which he included the list in... I like to believe Mr. Jefferson intended the insight for all of us.

To Thomas Jefferson Smith, February 21, 1825

This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The writer will be in the grave before you can weigh its counsels. Your affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would address to you something which might possibly have a favorable influence on the course of life you have to run, and I too, as a namesake, feel an interest in that course. Few words will be necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God. Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into which you have entered, be the portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of your life will be under my regard. Farewell.

- TH. Jefferson

While we're inflecting on what it means to live a good life, Jefferson also included a short poem with that same letter...

The portrait of a good man by the most sublime of poets, for your imitation...

Lord, who's the happy man that may to thy blest courts repair;
Not stranger-like to visit them but to inhabit there?
'Tis he whose every thought and deed by rules of virtue moves;
Whose generous tongue disdains to speak the thing his heart disproves.
Who never did a slander forge, his neighbor's fame to wound;
Nor hearken to a false report, by malice whispered round.
Who vice in all its pomp and power, can treat with just neglect;
And piety, though clothed in rages, religiously respect.
Who to his plighted vows and trust has ever firmly stood;
And though he promise to his loss, he makes his promise good.
Whose soul in usury disdains his treasure to employ;
Whom no rewards can ever bribe the guiltless to destroy.
The man, who, by his steady course, has happiness insur'd.
When earth's foundations shake, shall stand, by Providence secur'd.

The above notes TeeJ took during the Bush address was taken straight from a transcript of Bush's speech from his campaign website. I would've had TeeJ elucidate them a little more but honestly I tried to limit the content to something I felt TeeJ would've pointed out.

Citing quotes used in the above entry,

"Independence of the will of the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government." - To Thomas Ritchie, 1820

This next quote was modified and used to refer to Muslim terrorists instead of Napoleon, I felt the context of being tyrannical still fit,

"Bonaparte hates our government because it is a living libel on his." - To William Duane, 1810

The quote "Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have." is often attributed to Jefferson, but I'm uncertain if he actually said it because I could not find the source. Some people are out claiming it is not a Jefferson quote. I personally believe it is, but if it isn't, it's surely something Jefferson would've believed.

One last quote used that was definitely a Jefferson original...

"Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

It's a pity to see such good advice go to waste. Observe Jefferson's canons if you have the time and remember them. Monticello.org is even selling a small framed version of these ten rules which you can hang on your wall, and while it looks a little overpriced, I think I'll buy one for my wall one of these days.


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