I received The Art of Power by Jon Meacham for Christmas. As the back of the book says, “This terrific book allows us to see the political genius of Thomas Jefferson better than we have ever seen it before.”
I am just on page 89, but is has already spoken volumes to me about our present-day politicians and politics. I would probably be further along, but I keep re-reading.
Particularly, it has led me to initial thoughts about our age of hyper-partisanship and real-time political messaging.
Jefferson and John Adams – for much of their lives – did not really get along. And many times they had fundamental disagreements as to how the country should be formed and run. But they knew there was a bigger picture – much bigger than they would ever be.
And their peers knew it too.
“’I consider you and him as the North and South Poles of the American Revolution,’ their fellow Revolutionary Benjamin Rush wrote to Adams in February 1812. ‘Some talked, some wrote, and some fought to promote and establish it, but you and Mr. Jefferson thought for us all.’”
It is clearly time for a left-of-center Democrat and a right-of-center Republican to come together and think for us. Lord, are there but two statesmen in America who can bubble up and begin a thoughtful dialogue about the present and future of this land that Jefferson called “the world’s best hope?”
As well, these two people – be they men or women – need to be ones who are not lime-lighters. Their thoughts and discussions need to be private – at least as they commence. Again Jefferson’s peers knew this about politics as well.
Adams said, “A public speaker who inserts himself, or is urged by others into the conduct of affairs, by daily exertions to justify his measures and answer the objections of opponents, makes himself too familiar with the public, and unavoidably makes himself enemies.”
Mr. President, Speaker Boehner, Leader Reid – do you hear this? Stop the daily jaunts in front of the microphones, stop the tweeting by smarmy aides, stop the post-election political rallies.
It is time that we give two people some space to forge a great compromise regarding taxing and spending. It is time that we let them think and urge them not to speak. It is time…the edge of the cliff nears…