We just watched Ken Burns’ documentary on Thomas Jefferson which reminded me how amazing the history of the United States is and what the United States stands for. The most striking realization I had while watching it was how un-American people like George Bush and John Ashcroft are — they are the type of people Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, et al fought against and to prevent from ruling the US. What also struck me was how slow life was back then. It took Jefferson a week to travel from southern Virginia to Philadelphia. Today, that trip wouldn’t have been worth mentioning (about a 5-hour drive by car today). And when he travelled to France to advise the government on their issues he lived there for years because it takes weeks to sail across the Atlantic. Today, he would’ve been in Paris in time for dinner and would have made several trips back home (instead of write letters to his dying children), if he didn’t simply correspond with the French via email.
The rest if this may sound like a history lesson, but I just didn’t get the understanding of how important the founding fathers and Jefferson were in grade school. Maybe I was just too young, or the history books glossed over the details. Or perhaps they just sugar-coated it to make them into super-heroes to keep kids interested. Regardless, it’s interesting to me now that I’m older.