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View Diary: In 2008 we elected a smart president, but in 2012 we elected a MUCH SMARTER president. (155 comments)

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  •  I didn't know about this myself (1+ / 0-)
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    until fairly recently. I'd always assumed that like most if not all southern founders he owned slaves, and while obviously horrible, it didn't necessarily make him any worse than them. I didn't realize that he was also an out and out racist, in theory in favor of eventual emancipation but believing that freed slaves could never be integrated into white society (let alone intermarry with whites) and thus would need to be sent back to Africa (which is where the idea for Liberia came from). Washington, on the other hand, came to realize the evil of slavery and freed all of his slaves upon his and Martha's death.

    Sorry to belabor the point because it is a sidetrack from your excellent diary about Obama and contemporary politics, but given that Obama is the first African-American president and himself the child of a marriage that Jefferson viewed as unnatural and a stain on "white blood", I couldn't help but think of this less known and appealing side of Jefferson. Oh, and while I'm on it, I should also add that Jefferson was effectively one of the ideological founders of the sort of extreme (and often racist) libertarianism that has in part taken over the GOP, via the Tea Party, and tried to do to Washington and Hamilton what today's GOP is trying to do to Obama and Dems, in trying to derail their progressive policies through nasty hardball politics and vicious yellow journalism. Not many people know about this dark side of Jefferson or the early political history of the US.

    A MUCH longer read, but I highly recommend Ron Chernow excellent biography of Alexander Hamilton. It goes into extensive detail about this era.

    Anyway, good chatting with you.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 04:20:48 PM PST

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    •  And so good chatting with you. (1+ / 0-)
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      I consider myself smarter for it.  And I don't feel "side tracked" at all.  You put forth your argument, concisely, and with some good evidence, which humbled me as to how much more there is to know, no matter how much you read and try to keep up with it all.

      Every time I have written a diary, there have been those who disagree with something I said.  I expect that.  You and I have disagreed in the past too, but I always find your comments interesting.   Some deal with the disagreement better than others.  I appreciate the way you dealt with it here.

      And really, I just kind of rattled off Jefferson without much thought.  You have changed the way I think about this, regardless of whether I have the time to read all your suggestions.  Although I WILL read the NYT article you linked, it's just been a kind of busy day all around, in addition to trying to be a good host to my diary.

      It is great to experience consensus, but also great to be challenged.  Thank you for challenging me.

      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 04:47:04 PM PST

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      •  That Jefferson was one of the "greats" (1+ / 0-)
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        has been drummed into us since childhood, so obviously most people are going to accept that on faith, as I too did until a few years ago, so no need to explain or apologize whatsoever. And certainly he was a great man. But he also had a nasty and less appealing side that we need to know about, and although many will disagree with me, I don't think he was one of the great presidents, at least in terms of his policies and governance. He was surely one of the great political leaders in US history, having created the first true political party that eventually became our own (after shedding its southern slaveowning and anti-progressive legacy), and initiating what is still the longest continuous era of one-party rule (although if SCOTUS hadn't stolen the election from Gore and he'd have won reelection, Obama would have been the tail end of a second such era--in fact with Obama's reelection we've just had only the second time in US history with three back to back two term presidents, since Jefferson-Madison-Monroe).

        Here's hoping that Obama follows in the footsteps of the greats.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 05:00:17 PM PST

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