Updates for Sunday, March 26th [2006]

The Return Home Pt. 1: To Monticello



I have decided with what savings I have earned working that I was to do something I had always wanted, and that is to return to my home, Monticello. To see her, if she still stands, and I was to quickly to learn that she still does, and to perhaps walk amongst the halls of home once again, should the owner permit me the pleasure. The trip itself was rather uneventful, Daniel was kind enough to accompany me, and when I learned of the impressive condition Monticello remains in I was both astounded and dismayed. I am writing now from a wireless portal here, in Charlottesville, Virginia, from hotel quarters. I intend to explore every square inch of the estate and the surrounds as far as the touring company will permit me, so I shall make multiple trips to supplement a couple I have made already. I will remain here for a few more days before I return home.

It was of my particular interest to see how many people of the nation, and indeed the world, thought of my old home as a historical landmark. I hear even the United Nations considers it a place of worldly significance, not that I return the sentiment to their institution. The whole reverence of the structure was in fact, disappointing. I had hoped that someone would inherit it and live in it, to make it their home. Not to put the building into a wrapper of cellophane and never touch it's hallow'd grounds, except on an admission ticket. So the great change I had so hoped for simply never came about, and upon my first venture onto the grounds, I could not help but feel it was... ancient. Perhaps that is all that is left of what I brought into this world, a hollow form of would-be fiction preserved in the false hope that we will remember it as fact. If only a piece of history instead of a contribution the progression of the future. This world is for the living, I didn't leave Monticello to it to never be touched, I left it for men like me. I remember planting the last trees on her grounds, not for myself, for I had no reason to believe I would live to see them, but for whoever came next. As odd as it may sound, I believe I spotted a few still standing.

Myself and Daniel had a noteworthy discussion standing in the main hall, as an aside from the general tour, after coming in from the northeast portico.

Daniel: There's a bust of you. Amazing likeness. Hey, who is that over there, opposite you?

Me: That is Alexander Hamilton. I placed his statuette opposite mine - opposed in death, as in life.

Daniel: Oh hey, a lot of indian stuff.

Me: Mostly diplomatic materials brought back by Lewis & Clark. It is a disappointment the diplomacy did not stand long, I was hoping we would form longer-standing relations with the natives than what history brought about.

Daniel: I gotta say dude, this house has no tvs, no air conditioning, no real electricity at all actually... but besides that, it's pretty nice. A tad on the big side, for me.

Me: It seemed rather small for some of the numbers of people we would have in here at a time on occasion, especially that room over there, the main parlor. It felt like my whole social life was spent in that room.

Daniel: So, they did a good job preserving the place, don'tcha think?

Me: Too good a job, my friend. I'd have liked to see a little change. Maybe a few additions to the house, perhaps widen up the southwest end, expand all the floors. Maybe even add another floor, a rooftop observatory. A nice place, perhaps, for a large telescope to chart the stars. My telescope could've been much bigger.

Daniel: Some cable tv would be nice, too.

Me: You know Daniel, it pains me to say this, but I have decided to return home.

Daniel: Ha, I don't think they'll let you sleep here, man.

Me: I don't mean that, I mean going back. As soon as we return to gather my belongings, I will make my trip to Illinois, to the Fermilab building, and wait for them to finish the time transportation machine. I cannot stand to see this any longer.

Daniel: What? Why? I kinda thought you'd be chillin' here. You're always complaining about the world, the way it is, you can help change it again. I mean, really, you told me that you were over 80 years old when you left. You're now what, 30 at best? You got your whole life ahead of you, again. You could even get back into politics.

Me: I don't think god brought me here to do that, I think I was meant to come here for another reason, but whatever the cause, it is lost upon me now. This is not the way the world was supposed to be, perhaps it was our own undoing. If so, I can fix it by going back.

Daniel: I don't know, how would going back even help? You're not anywhere near old enough to pass for yourself as an elderly man. You have plenty of time actually to wait before going, you have to be as old as you were when you left, you know?

Me: Then I will go back earlier, find myself as a younger man and together we will devise some means because, my good friend, this momentous question rings to me like a fire bell in the night, awakening and filling me with terror. I can see it ages back, I hear it, the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the passing moments throughout the centuries... you my friend see some tyranny today, but it is little in wake of the tyranny to come. The United States is dying of a long-held cancer for which there is no cure. Instead of that liberty which takes root and growth in the progress of reason; freedom becomes, with an unprepared people, a tyranny still - of the many, the few, or the one - it does not matter, it is tyranny enough.

Today's prosperities and technologies are a reprieve only, not a final sentence. Even the worst has not fallen upon us, the terrorism and wars are but one sign of many of where we are headed, and it is not to slavery of the body as you children fear, it is slavery of the mind to it's own ignorance, the infinite complacent toleration for tyranny over the mind of man, something I have sworn on the altar of god eternal hostility against. It comes at us from all sides, everywhere we look: from the Democrats, from the Republicans, and worse yet, from the average man who does not know any better. This country has drawn a line dividing marked principle, moral and political, from the old age to the new, their many flawed beliefs, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated; and every new irritation has marked it deeper and deeper. First it was a compromise, then a Civil War, then a World War, a depression and lastly a second World War which led to changing times. Government to became like the King's old empire, only on a worldwide scale with worldwide sensibilities, and now it was terrorism and skirmishes amongst the global provinces it oversees, the beginning of a new order marked by the mind of madness, of people who no longer see government as a problem as we did in my time, but as a solution, a final solution. I say, with conscious truth, that there is not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would to relieve us from this heavy reproach, and if I can do so by traveling back, I will.

Today's era breeds an age not of federalism and democracy but an age where we again look to an empire for a solution. For some, they think, Utopia, but to anyone who knows this, Utopia is No-where, and No-place. The absurdities you see on the daily news, Daniel, are the cost of not doing what I should have done long ago. That is to go back and change everything, from square one. Spend less time in France, and more time at home. I was not there when they forged the Constitution and I should have been, to make one even less apt to be broken or abused. In this world I am not free, I am not the man I am meant to be. Perhaps if I go back, I can fix it, for you, and for Natalie.

Daniel: You don't have to take all of that upon yourself, dude. Seriously. We'll get back home and relax a bit, we'll watch a movie or two. Everything will be fine. I'm happy, you don't have to change the world on account of me or anyone else, y'know? Your hard work has paid our bills for two years now, and I'll get a new job soon. I'm happy where I'm at in life. Maybe instead of going out and partying every week with James, I'll work on settling down. I'll get my life straight... you just haven't seen a guy with a straight life, that's the problem. I make a poor example of an American.

Me: Honestly Daniel, in you, I do see what I believe is a good example of an American, perhaps the only reason you're not where I was when I was your age, is aimlessness. You lack a guiding principle and are a restless young man. There are too many of you in America today, whether rich or poor, too many fall to the wayside and do not have a mission in life compatible with the progress of a free nation. Too many vow to sustain the common good indefinitely without knowing that the common good is the individual good. No matter how much they try, the progress of technology, however swift, will not prevent this decline from taking place. Perhaps now while we have a chance, I can go back, and we can have it changed. For good.

Daniel: Well hey man, it was nice hangin' out and all that, but just sleep on it and don't make a firm choice until we get home. Okay? I mean, all this weird shit is going on lately, the weird Illuminati/New World Order shit with that "Agent N" guy, and if something changed about time we need to know what before making that kind of choice. I mean, damn, it's just some heavy-ass shit to think about. Virginia is a shitty place to think about heavy-ass shit.

Me: No, Virginia is the perfect place to think about some "heavy-ass shit", and you're right. Perhaps it is wise not to make a decision like this in haste, I shall indeed wait until we return home before I make a final choice.

Later on that day we took a visit of the campus of the University of Virginia, which is much larger and grander than before. I was surprised to hear about the famed alumni, a boy by the name of Edgar Allan Poe made quite the name for himself, I met him not less than one month before I the time-traveling accident that brought me here, a new student for the time. Oddly enough I saw nothing remarkable about him then, he seemed like the rather depressed sort. Too I learned, the place had not been untouched by the Civil War, nearly destroyed by Northern soldiers. My wonderful rotunda annex, it seems, had burned down and was since rebuilt, somewhat differently than the way it was at first, but nice nonetheless.

To yourselves, I hope faithful advocates of what is left of the Union, I tender the offering of my high esteem and respect.

- TH. Jefferson

Editor's Notes:

Today's update is actually inspired greatly by Jefferson's stances on the Missouri Compromise. I actually see the Compromise as one of the first parts of a cancer that eventually drove the country down this path, the path we see today. In 1820, much to Jefferson's dismay, the nation accepted an agreement to bring the new state of Missouri into the union as a slave state, the compromise being a standard divided future territories into slave states and non-slave states based on a geographical line. This was the beginnings of the cultural and social division between the North and the South, something Jefferson saw as happening not because of principle but because of perceived self-preservation. Into his older days Jefferson regretted the reluctance of people to stand behind the complete ban of slavery and saw a lack of the Founders being willing to do that one of the nation's greatest downfalls, and foresaw it as the maker of their doom, saying of the matter "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever." It wasn't just slavery that caused the civil war, but political and social division, and this great crisis was something he predicted.

Whether you agree with vilifying Abraham Lincoln for his response to the Civil War, you must concede that the long-lasting damage of the war extended into the era of Progressiveness which eventually brought about the world we see today. The primary tax which funds our government is a tax started during the Civil War, after all, by Lincoln. It is a chain of events, long-lasting, like falling dominos to produce the world we see today... and Jefferson, on numerous occasions but particularly in his response to the Missouri Compromise, saw it coming. He felt true dread for the future, a dread I feel which was justified, because it wasn't just a dread that we were going on the wrong track, but that we were going with the wrong principles. To which I add, we are.

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