I recently sat down for an interview (sort of) with our third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. The questions are mine, the responses all quotes attributed to Jefferson. You could look it up:
Mr. Jefferson, a topic in the headlines lately are the security measures being taken in our airports, the aim of which is, allegedly, our safety. What is your opinion on that?
“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
Many Americans are protesting these actions by government officials. Would you support that effort?
“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent…Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.”
Some see this as the continuation of policies instituted after September 11 which erode our civil liberties and Constitutional protections. Your thoughts?
“Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers too plainly proves a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery.”
Also, on a related subject, what about the controversy over whether or not to try terrorist suspects in civilian court?
“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet devised by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”
Moving on to economic issues, have you been keeping up with what’s been labeled Foreclosuregate?
“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
What about the influence of the financial system on our political process?
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a moneyed aristocracy that has set the Government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs.”
And the influence, in general, of special and corporate interests?
“Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.”
What about the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world?
“I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind…I love peace, and am anxious that we should give the world still another useful lesson, by showing to them other modes of punishing injuries than by war, which is as much a punishment to the punisher as to the sufferer.”
“War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.”
Any thoughts about ending the policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?
“Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds…Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”
In closing, Mr. President, any final words of guidance for the American people?
“If a Nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be…. If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.”
“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”
Thank you, sir.