By Bernie Quigley
For The Hill on 2/18/13
As today is President’s Day, it occurs to the MSM - which from here on out will be called “the legitimate press” (LP) thanks to that indomitable future president, Joe Biden – that we are called to harken back. Few will, no doubt, recede in meditation on a singular vision of Franklin Pierce, the 14th President, who barely registers a Wiki acknowledgement. And a few this year have even suggested that the whole idea of “President’s Day” makes no sense. It should be Washington’s Birthday, no? Like it always was before the Great Distractions of the Sixties, the Seventies, the Eighties, and all of that. No doubt he was better than Pearce, but he didn’t say much, and the original thinking belonged to others. Today Glenn Beck claims to speak on Washington’s behalf, but that doesn’t make Washington a better president. On the other hand, the NYTs, without championing Washington as Beck does, denounces he who might be considered Washington’s nemesis, Thomas Jefferson. “The monster of Monticello,” reads a headline in the recent op-ed pages and another recent NYTs essay calls for the abandonment of Jefferson’s offering, the Constitution, to do it again like they did in England.
But it was President’s Day 2011 and a TV event featuring Judge Andrew Napolitano that shook the world a little bit. Judge Napolitano gave a presentation on his show FreedomWatch that sent shivers and cold willies up the spines of the MSM, the LPs and their Hollywood friends and lovers. This President’s Day The Tenth Amendment Center has reprinted it on their web site. And it is not an excellent adventure of Bill and Ted being exceptional to one another.
“From the beginning, ” writes the Judge, “any claim that the American government is good because some Americans are exceptional does not make any sense. The individual virtues of human beings cannot possibly extend to the government. By definition, the government lies, cheats, and steals. After all, it has no resources of its own, only those it appropriates from the people. No one may lawfully compete with it. We are forced to pay its bills and accept its so-called services. There is no escaping it. The ideas behind a nation may be exceptional, but they are not manifested by the government. And, of course, we must never mistake the government for the people it claims to represent.”
I noticed in 2012 that Fox pulled the Judge’s show just before President’s Day.
I’ve written here that the American discussion is primarily one between Jefferson and Hamilton, based primarily on an essay by historian Frank Owsley, and others of the Vanderbilt Agrarians also known as The Fugitives, a group associated with Vanderbilt University in the 1920s and 1930s which included poets Robert Penn Warren, John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate. Owsley’s essay was titled “The Irrepressible Conflict.” Hamilton was the brains behind the New York power establishment, Owsley wrote. Jefferson was the brains behind rural America – possibly a visionary America not yet awakened.
But it is good we have President’s Day to sort these things out, because they have brought to us a collective neurosis which plagues us still today. It is the only explanation why anyone would build a monument 555 feet high in 1848 using an ancient Templar model which for hundreds of years prior had been the symbol of the Christ and adorn the capital with visions of apotheosis – Washington rising in death to the heavens. You find Jefferson on a little island out in the middle of the Potomac, his statue commissioned only in 1943. It is about the same size as Victoria in Ottawa, Nelson on his column in London, Jack Kennedy’s statue on the Boston Common or the Robert E. Lee on his horse in Richmond.
Have a great Jefferson’s Birthday.