Thomas Jefferson, Freedom, and Slavery

Today’s Thought: I accept good ideas whatever their source. I reject bad ideas whatever their source.
 

I am writing just a quick blog today to address an important issue that came up relative to a tweet I posted on the 4th of July. The tweet was a quote of Thomas Jefferson from the American Declaration of Independence.

“All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This single sentence is one of the most memorable and powerful in the entire history of the struggle for human freedom. Several of my tweeps quickly pointed out that Jefferson was a slave owner when he wrote those words. That is an historical fact. He was a slave owner for many years after that. He did free his slaves upon his death; a fact that does not excuse the fact that he ever owned slaves. He was quite progressive for his time and place in that respect, but that is a very low bar.

The point I want to make is that perfect (or near perfect) ideas often come from imperfect human beings. I will certainly agree that being a slave owner was pretty darn big flaw. Still, which of us is without flaws? If someone were to judge us based on our worst, how would we stand up? What hatreds, hypocrisies, and blind spots do we hold in our hearts?

Perhaps in 200 years (we can hope), our progeny will find it equally outrageous that we allowed financial institutions to crash economies with highly risky derivatives and then take people’s homes and life savings hostage to cover their bets. Yet, we have all stood by and accepted that virus has it has circled the planet for the past three years. I’m not comparing the two. I’m simply saying that (hopefully) as human society continues to advance, every age’s flaws will seem backward and deplorable. If they don’t, we haven’t grown.

Taken on the whole, Thomas Jefferson was a very intelligent, accomplished person who contributed and, frankly, continues to contribute to the American experience and to the global struggle for a free humanity. If he deserves demerit for being slaveholder, he deserves credit for that fact.

It is a great irony, even hypocrisy, that a man could write those words and hold other human beings in bondage simultaneously. I’d even call it an outrage. Yet, would I rather he had not written them? No. It’s important to remember that in 1776 slaves in America, while the most egregious example, were far from the only human beings not free on this planet or in this country. If you were white and didn’t own land, you were not a whole lot freer than the slaves and many whites came to this country as indentured servants to the wealthy. Further, those words, Jefferson’s words, have been the rallying cry in numerous freedom movements the world over since.

We cannot and we must not forget to see people like Thomas Jefferson as the whole, imperfect human being he was. Just as we would all expect others to see us.

I wish someone who didn’t own slaves had written those words. Because those words have led to freedom for a great many people. Ironically, that very hypocrisy between the new nation’s principles and its reality were precisely what led to the formation of abolition movements that came to fruition about 80 years hence.

Adolph Hitler was an evil man, but if he had come up with a cure for cancer, would we have rejected it because he came up with it? I would accept the cancer cure from Hitler and I accept the freedom-inspiring words from Jefferson. If I cannot excuse his slave holding, I can at least see the power of the words he wrote and the impetus they have had in creating freer people the world over.

Conversely, if Martin Luther King or Gandhi or my grandmother came up with a terrible idea, I must be free to reject it despite my respect for them. We will lock ourselves out of wonderful ideas or into terrible ones, if we evaluate them based on who wrote them or proposed them.

In my book, Jefferson should be remembered as a slaveholder and the man who penned some pretty powerful words that led to freedom for many. Irony? Sure. But as Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Stay inspired!

Ray

I Have a Dream – The Affirmation Spot for Friday January 17, 2008

This coming Monday we celebrate the birthday of a great man. Like most great people he is either loved (by the overwhelming majority of people) or hated (by a small minority). Great people always inspire us to have an opinion about them. In the humble opinion of this writer, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great man.

Regardless of whether or not you agreed with his politics he was somone who had conviction. He stood against tremendous injustice. There was a great hypocrisy in our land in his day. A hypocrisy that had gone on too long. He stood up to be a leader and he paid the ultimate price for it.

Few people had a greater influence on modern America than this man. Today, through the magic of YouTube, I am able to share his most famous and, I believe, his crowning moment.

The day is August 28, 1963. 250,000 Americans gathered on the mall in Washington D.C. to listen to Dr. King's speech. Little did they know they were about to hear perhaps the greatest speech ever.

Four and a half decades later his words still inspire. His dream is still an aspiration. His vision is still the future we can all share as soon as we choose that course.


Runtime is 17:57

Your challenges may not be as big, but remember that anything is possible when you "have a dream".

Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

Visit The Affirmation Spot store

Comment on this blog entry

Spread the word about this blog entry:

    Health Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory Blog Directory & Search engine Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory Add to Technorati Favorites
    add to del.icio.usAdd to Delicious Digg it Digg It

Link to this blog entry:
The tracback url for this blog is: https://theaffirmationspot.wordpress.com/2008/01/18/i-have-a-dream-the-affirmation-spot-for-friday-january-17-2008/

A World About to Be Born – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday January 9, 2008

sun.gifThe sun is rising; the clouds have passed away. And in the minds of at least a few, a greater consciousness has arisen.

Tradition is no more. There is only awareness: an awareness of radiant possibilities and transcendent hopes for a world about to be born.

A world in which our fondest dreams shall come to pass. Where the greatest potentiality of humanity is realized: that each member of the human family will awaken to the inner light that opens one’s heart and frees one’s mind to look across culture, race, gender, religion and vast distance and see oneself.

When human beings can join together in this moment, free of all constraints and limits; simply experiencing their existence and connecting to the life force that flows through the universe in the most real and sincere way —THAT IS NIRVANA.

I speak not of a mystical experience to be had by a select few, but rather of the courage of anyone to remain completely present in this moment without attachment to outcomes or results. So I call myself a dreamer resolved to stay with this moment, where my heart may express tenderness and appreciation for all that is. For my heart is the birthplace of compassion for myself and this world.

Be of good cheer, o patient ones, for this new day dawns; a day of wonder and hope. A day, when filled with joy, all people shall attain their full potential. Long has been the night of toil and pain. Too long have brothers and sisters lived according to their fear of each other rather than their love for each other. But no more, the blinders have come off.

Finally and forever the Human Race will stand in the radiance of the truths that have lived within each of us all along. Truths that can no longer be ignored or distorted. The truth of our UNITY and our place in this planet’s web of life and in the greater cosmos beyond.


Be peaceful Be prosperous



Ray

Visit The Affirmation Spot store

Comment on this blog entry

Spread the word about this blog entry:

    Health Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory Blog Directory & Search engine Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory Add to Technorati Favorites
    add to del.icio.usAdd to Delicious Digg it Digg It

Link to this blog entry:
The tracback url for this blog is: https://theaffirmationspot.wordpress.com/2008/01/08/a-world-about-to-be-born-the-affirmation-spot-for-wednesday-january-9-2008/

The Freedom to Think for Yourself

Today’s affirmation is:
I empower myself to think for myself.

the_thinker.jpgWhen I hear the positive thinking gurus – many of whom I hold in high esteem – speak on their topic, they often ignore a fundamental component of positive, empowered thinking. That component is freedom.

Sometimes, in the rush to tie positive thinking to tangible benefits, they can sound like the NASA administrator trying convince Congress of the economic impacts of the space program rather than just selling the space program on its own merits.

 

These gurus promise health, wealth, and happiness in return for your efforts.The result of positive, empowered thinking might, indeed, be that you are healthier, happier, or wealthier, but the real benefit is that you are a free, empowered person.

Has it ever occurred to you that positive thinking is a freedom issue? What could be more inhibiting or more freeing than the ability to command your own thought processes and use them to build the life you want?

 

The power to think for oneself has been among the fundamental battles of humankind from the beginning. Since time immemorial rulers, religious bodies, or “the group” have sought to limit the power of the individual to think his or her own thoughts.

Even in a nation that supposedly values freedom, we demonstrate a profound unwillingness to allow others to think freely. The pressure is to conform; to join the herd even as it runs off the cliff.  We saw the ugly side of that a few years ago when the war was new. Reporters, professors, celebrities, and ordinary citizens were ostracized for not thinking like the herd.

Children too young to know what they were doing stood in the street stomping and burning Dixie Chicks CDs at the behest of their freedom-loving parents. An ugly spectacle to be sure, but the result of disempowered thinking masquerading as something noble – patriotism. Patriotism is a love of country not a hatred of freedom to think and to speak.

The herd was uneasy and frightened. Free expression was unacceptable. We needed to unify and think alike. The herd did not take kindly to its leader being criticized by mere citizens. Even though mere citizens, thinking and living freely, is the foundation of this country.

The empowered, positive-thinker overrides the herd’s external chatter. He or she focuses on creating the thoughts, words, and actions that best suits his or her needs. In short, these people have the power to create life rather than react to it.

Positive thinking is not only free thinking, but also clear-headed thinking. Positive thinkers are better able to look at situations objectively and see various sides. They are able to use their full capacity to reason, to feel, to draw on experience and make better judgments.

Negative thinking, which is really synonymous with not having command of your own thoughts, is extremely disempowering – even debilitating. Why? Think about when a negative thought comes to mind. The emotions and feelings associated with the thought start to rise. Who is in control at that moment; you or the negative thought? Raw emotions rule and reason and experience are dismissed as impractical.

The fact is that people who think for themselves (i.e. positive, empowered people) are independent, capable individuals who can achieve just about anything. People who allow societal norms or other people to do their thinking for them (i.e. negative thinkers) quickly become dependent and unable to move forward in their lives; and, sometimes, unable to resist book burning.

The principle of positive, empowered thinking can be applied to any area of your life. If you want to be a better football player, is thinking positively or negatively about your skills more likely to get you there? How about being a better spouse or a better sales person or a more committed activist, or a more compassionate person?

Clearly, the ability to develop, manage, and maintain your own thinking tends towards greater personal freedom. That freedom is the basis on which all achievement is possible.

One of your greatest challenges in life is to break free from the herd. Most people never do it. Successful people always have. Yet, now more than ever, we need a population tired of the world as it is and pushed forward by visions of the world as it can be. The future of our freedoms relies on our ability to become aware, empowered, and free thinking people.

 

Some closing quotes to start you thinking…


jfk.jpg“Too often we…enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
~ John F. Kennedy




ralph_waldo_emerson.jpg
“A sect or a party is an eleggant incognito to save a man from the vexation of thinking.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson




buckminster_fuller1.jpg“Belief is when someone else does the thinking”
~ Buckminster Fuller







Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

Ray Davis is the author of Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation – order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com – founder of The Affirmation Spot and an advocate for the potential of the human race. He’s life-long history buff and holds a B.S. in History Education. He’s always been fascinated by alternative views of history.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leaders seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!