Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Lex Majoris Partis
"It is the multitude which possess force, and wisdom must yield to that." -Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson said a lot of great things. Most of them after he was done banging one of his slaves. Or many just before. And some (probably) during.
You know what's sad? Whenever I hear or see Thomas Jefferson anywhere, I immediately think of slave-banging. That's wrong, isn't it? I don't think of the Declaration of Independence or two terms as president or the Louisiana Purchase or the extraordinary breadth and scope of his great gifts as a human being. It's a straight line, Jefferson-pow!-slave banging. It's gotten to the point where every time I see a nickel I sort of mutter "slave-fucker" under my breath without realizing it. Let me tell you it's gotten me into trouble more than once with the cashier at Big Dawg's Barbecue & Soul Food Joint. Just to be safe, I always pay with my debit card there now.
For all this, I blame Head of the Class. That was the show in which I first heard the name Sally Hemings. Goddamn Robin Givens. It wasn't bad enough she ruined Mike Tyson, she had to stick that in my head as well. For this I shall never forgive her. I'm going to tell her so next time I see her playing Mallory in Family Ties: The Musical at the Sir John Gielgud Wild West Steakhouse and Dinner Theater (try their famous Texas hash, made with real hash!).
The quote at the top of the post was supposed to remind me to talk about what I wanted to talk about today before I got distracted by the slave-banging thing. For that I apologize. But I think I can move past it and get to what I was getting to.
You know, it doesn't make it any easier when they make a movie about Jefferson and they get hot-ass Thandie Newton to play the exploited slave-girl. Sure, slave-banging is wrong, but come on. It's Thandie Newton. You can't blame Jefferson for betraying the principles he espoused or for exploiting his power-relationship to take a run at Thandie Newton. She's even got that English accent thing going on.
I'm sorry. It got away from me again. I was going to talk about democracies and majorities and the responsibility of the executive (such as it exists) to shape policy informed by the will of the governed when they speak in sufficient numbers. I'm just sure I was going to quote Tocqueville or something, but I can't really remember what I was going to say exactly...
US to cut troop levels
That's right. I was going to talk about the president being responsive to public opinion on this whole War On Terror thing and give him credit for recognizing the force of the multitude and fashioning it into governing wisdom. All this flak he's been getting about Iraq and finally we see some movement from the administration. It's almost too good to be true. Let's look at the headline again:
US to cut troop levels in Afghanistan
Dude, wrong country. Aren't we supposed to be crawling all over Afghanistan and the Pakistan border smoking Osama bin Laden out of his hole? Dead or alive, or am I the only one who remembers that?
And all this hullabaloo lately has been about Iraq. That's a totally different country than Afghanistan, man.
Bah. So much for wisdom.
The worst part of the article is where it says "most of the 4,000 troops from the Louisiana-based Fourth Brigade of the Army's 10th Mountain Division will not be sent to Afghanistan early next year on rotation as previously scheduled."
All those soliders looking forward to getting the fuck out of Louisiana and going someplace quiet like Afghanistan are now being told that they have to stay. That just seems cruel to me.
Of course Louisiana also makes me think of Jefferson, who also once said: "This unfortunate difference of color, and perhaps of faculty, is a powerful obstacle to the emancipation of these people."
And yet it was not a difference unfortunate enough to persuade him to keep it in his pants. And I've been to museums, I've seen Jefferson's pants. They can't have been easy to get it out of. Lots of strings and hooks and whatnot. But then again, he had some powerful motivation. We are, after all, talking about Thandie Newton.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.3