I recently received one of those please-forward-to-everyone-you-know kinds of emails.

It was about Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, and included a timeline of his life and several quotes.

I didn’t forward it to a single person. I thought I would instead share some of the quotes here, because they all apply – in no small way – to where things are today.

And some are downright stunning.

––“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

We stand not just accused, but guilty. Not only is our debt not paid, we go billions of dollars farther into the whole every year – especially the past few years.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison

Like most people, I don’t know what effect that will really, truly have on the next couple of generations, but it can’t be good.

We just can’t keep going back to that same well, because it’s bound to eventually run dry – maybe sooner than later.

––“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

The flip side is, Jefferson is predicting future unhappiness for Americans if they allow the government to waste their labors under the pretense of being taken care of.

I hate the idea that the land of the free may also have become the land of false governmental pretense.

––“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

OK, by a show of hands, does anyone feel we’ve already gone way too far down this road?

That’s what I thought.

––“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”

Some people would argue that the United States government has put its hands in far too many American pies (certainly more than even a visionary like Jefferson could have imagined). But many seem to want it that way, and don’t see a problem with allowing government to have too much influence and control.

As Jefferson is saying, history has proven time and again that big government isn’t a good thing.

To the contrary, it leads to destructive ends, and the peoples’ best bet lies not with government programs and handouts, but within.

––“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”

If they take away the guns, as they might say in New York, “forget about it.”

Prohibiting the bearing of arms would likely create an exponential rise in crime, and a subsequent increase of oppression. Since only the bad guys would have weapons in such a situation, a police state would be the ultimate result.

An age-old American premise is that people should have the option to protect themselves, their families, and their possessions. Minus that option, freedom as we know it would be done for.

––“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

Oh man, we are so buried by this problem, and it bothers me to no end.

American taxpayers’ money goes toward an alarming number of ideals, movements, and situations that are not the will of the majority, but rather special interests that have weaseled their way up the judicial and legislative chains and into positions where they receive attention for which they are in no way deserving.

I personally hate knowing that some of the money I pay to my government actually helps fund things I’m in total opposition to, and more importantly, that the masses never gave the OK to.

––Jefferson said in 1802: “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Don’t look now, but…yikes. We have some mega-powerful banks on our hands, and we all know the government isn’t about to let them struggle – even if they do help cause many of their own problems.

Thomas Jefferson was born in April of 1743 and died on July 4, 1826 (yep, July 4). He was one of this country’s most influential founding fathers, and served as vice president under John Adams before becoming president.

Some may disagree with Jefferson, but I find his words to be a refreshing departure from the political mumbo-jumbo we are so often force-fed these days. How nice it would be if we who live in a state with a capital city named after him, and all others citizens of the country he helped create, never lost sight of his wisdom. But we may already have – or at very least the view is extremely dim.

Knowing what Jefferson said so many years ago, it’s apparent that we didn’t learn as much from him as we could have. But whether or not that’s the case, one thing is certain: if any of the issues he so rightfully addressed more than 200 years ago ever bites us in our collective behind, we wouldn’t be justified in saying we “didn’t see this coming.”

We were warned.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email:  ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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