Is Gore the modern Jefferson?
by WeDemocrats, Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 09:04:35 AM EDT
I saw "The Inconvenient Truth" and then read several hatchet articles by right wingers that attempted to refute it, they failed to do so. One even went to far as to say that Gore was trying to be a biblical prophet since he was predicting vast worldwide flooding if the present trend isn't reversed. Utter nonsense.
The one thing that impresses me about Al Gore is that he is a man with an open mind, he is willing to think as Thomas Jefferson did, not close his mind as George W. Bush has done. Does this get him into trouble, probably, but he is willing to step back up to the plate and take another swing towards a different direction if required. Unlike bulldozer Bush who only knows "stay the course", and who believes in the words of Adolf Hitler, "What luck for rulers that men do not think."
Al Gore is a thinker if nothing else. Does that mean he would make a great President as Thomas Jefferson was? Of course not, and I don't think anyone today could fill Jefferson's shoes. But I prefer to believe that Gore has a leg up on the competition when it comes to thinking and then acting on his beliefs.
Someone asked if I thought that we should return to the days of Jefferson. NO! In that era it was acceptable to own human beings as property, women were not allowed to vote etc etc. We have come a long way from those days of old, but we still need men and women of the caliber of Thomas Jefferson, men of vision, of dedication to our progressive democratic principles.
The so called Religious Right likes to claim that they are conservative, and that we should honor traditions of our founders, men like Jefferson, Washington and Franklin. Evidently they haven't done their home work.
Jefferson said, "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"
Washington wrote Lafayette in 1787, "Being no bigot myself, I am disposed to indulge the professors of Christianity in the church that road to heaven which to them shall seem the most direct, plainest, easiest and least liable to exception."
Washington understood the distinction between morality and religion, and between toleration of differences and full religious liberty. Washington's replies to messages from Jews and Swedenborgians showed he was not merely accepting the differences of religion, tolerating those who had not chosen the correct path. Instead, he endorsed what Jefferson would later define as a "wall of separation between church and state."
In modern America, many religious leaders consider personal salvation to be fundamental to the strength/survival of American society. The debate about the morality of elected officials has been intense since the realization that Lyndon Johnson lied about the status of war in Vietnam and subsequent Presidents have demonstrated publicly their own lapses, particularly Presidents Nixon and George W. Bush. Many will say "and Clinton" but in the latter case I would say he avoided outright lies, shading the truth as he saw it.
During the 20th century we struggled against fascism and then communism. As was made clear on Sept. 11, the great struggle of the 21st century will be between the forces of fanatic fundamentalism and those of tolerance. The Right Wing and their Religious allies consider themselves fundamentalist which drops them into the same classification as other fundamentalists, just different approaches. Those of us who are more tolerant are called anti religion, and even traitors. It is important to remember that America was not born with the virtue of religious tolerance, but had to acquire it. One of the myths is that the first settlers were advocates of religious freedom. In fact, the Puritans were very intolerant, not only of witches but also of any deviation from the tribal orthodoxy. It was this very intolerance that caused the formation of Rhode Island as a refuge from an overbearing fundamental religion.
Franklin always a free thinker, helped formulate the creed that they would all be better off, personally and economically, if they embraced an attitude of tolerance. Franklin believed in God and in the social usefulness of religion, but he did not subscribe to any particular sectarian doctrine. This led him to help raise money to build a new hall in Philadelphia that was, as he put it, "expressly for the use of any preacher of any religious persuasion who might desire to say something." He added, "Even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service."
Today Jefferson and Franklin would be labeled Liberals, and Washington more middle of the road.
The world hasn't changed much in the last 200 plus years, it is still bloodied by those who seek to impose theocracies. Our founding fathers for the most part helped to create a new type of nation that could draw strength from its religious pluralism. It is a great comfort this concept of tolerance, based on an aversion to tyranny, a fealty to free expression, a willingness to compromise, the morality of respecting other individuals, and yes we even throw in a bit of humor and humility. This is what most distinguishes us as Americans as it does those like-minded allies in the global struggle that confronts all of us in this century.
How you may ask does this relate to Al Gore as the modern Jefferson? Gore is a thinker, one who is open minded like Washington, Jefferson and Franklin he is willing to speak up and speak out. And should he decide to step into the Presidential race, I for one would support him, even though at the present time I support John Edwards for want of a more viable candidate.
Personally I don't think Gore is a modern Jefferson, but I do think he has taken a few steps ahead in the race for that title.
Founder & Chairman
Publisher of WE! The People online magazine
Ron McBride is founder, chairman and regular contributor of, by and for www.wedemocrats.org. He is the author of numerous articles on Democracy. His writings can be found not only at www.WeDemocrats.org, at www.mytown.ca/mcbride plus blogs such as www.dailykos.com, at OpEdNews and www.mydd.com