Peering Over The Edge


“…an Anglican monarchial aristocratical party has sprung up, whose avowed object is to draw over to us to the substance, as they have already done… It would give you fever were I to name to you the apostates who have gone over to these heresies.”

Can you name who said this quote? Sound familiar? Thomas Jefferson spoke these words, that feel today a kind of deja vu. He was talking about the Treaty with Britain in 1795 to resolve the Revolutionary War. In an effort to heal wounds and move beyond the conflict many colonists in power chose an act of contrition, creating a treaty with the British that Jefferson found in direct conflict to the essence of the Declaration of Independence. George Washington, whose name I heard evoked hours after Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama on Sunday, was in full agreement with the Treaty. Jefferson’s scornful rebuke in the final sentence of this quote refers to Washington himself. Jefferson’s narrow win over Burr in the election of 1800 barely avoided a relapse into monarchy or allegiance to it. In 1800, second place in the presidential election earned you the vice presidential seat, an unimagineable option today. One hundred thousand people (a large sum then) filled the streets outside congress in order to pursuade the Federalists on the 36th ballot to confirm Jefferson as president over Burr, breaking the electoral college deadlock.

Jefferson hated the electoral college and rightfully so. We saw Gore loose the election of 2000 by way of fiat thanks to the supreme courts’ decision to honor the electoral college. The electoral college is a stiff reminder that in terms of the presidency, which I cast my vote for today, the one-person, one vote scenario, is an inappropriate moniker. I will cross my fingers and toes in the hopes that all the derisive, racist, ignorant, destructive, deceitful attempts by the Republican party will not prevail on November 4 and we will at the very least finally seat a moderate president who with luck will survive in relative modesty in order to make a dent in the tide of reactionary disintegration of this republic toward a corporate-fascist regime.

Despite the electoral college, despite the vote tampering, vote! If you can avoid mail in ballots as they are more easily tampered with. If you can only vote with older machines or machines that provide a paper record (as mine did today) of your vote. I will wait nervously until the time on November 4th that they announce a victory for the Democrats. The day after Obama is innaugerated we can then collectively hold congress and the presidency to the flame so that the republic might be restored.

“The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union.”
—Thomas Jefferson

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One thought on “Peering Over The Edge

  1. I think if we all got as worked up over local and state elections as we do about “the big one,” we’d be a much more functional nation. Then again, electing an African American president would bring me one step closer to regaining a modicum of hope for minorities, women, the underprivileged, and marginalized groups everywhere. As for me, I’m still planning to be Caribou Barbie for Halloween.

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