May 29, 2024 | 0 comments

with Hello again friends.

As promised, here is the transcript of a most interesting interview I had with Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States in your universe, a few days ago.

If you recall, I shared with you earlier that in my universe, we have an ability to call on the consciousness of people that have passed on from your world. And with that incredible ability, we have the benefit of calling on the great thinkers of the past to get their perspectives of recent and current circumstances and events. And hopefully use their perspectives to chart a better path forward.

It was interesting for me to be in the interviewer’s seat for a change. It certainly gave me better perspectives on how Wallis Kriss (read our story) viewed me and the many conversations we had from 2012-2016.

I hope you enjoy this transcript of our interchange.

Jonathon Braxton (JB): Mr. President, welcome to my world.

Thomas Jefferson (TJ): Thank you Mr. Braxton. And just where the hell am I?

JB: Mr. President, you are in a parallel universe from the one you spent your physical life on during the years 1743-1826 on a planet named Earth. And your consciousness is here with me, today in 2022, on a planet named Heart.

TJ: Very well Mr Braxton. Earth, Heart whatever planet were on, I must say it is good to be anywhere where I can use my mind again. I feel like I have been in a state of limbo for a very long time. So, if you are the one that has recalled my consciousness, I sense I owe you a debt of gratitude, although perhaps I should wait until I understand your motives.

JB: Perfectly understandable Mr. President. Allow me to tell why I recalled you. First, I’ll have you recognize our two universes are somewhat synchronized. One thing to know is that your planet Earth, was derived from our planet Heart. In fact, the names of our two planets are linked. Take the H off the start of Heart and place it at the end.

TJ: Very clever Mr. Braxton. Was this your doing?

JB: Oh no sir. I had nothing to do with it. I only work here as you might say.

TJ: Is this the only way our two universes are linked? If so, it seems lame to conclude synchronicity.

JB: Not at all sir. The links go somewhat deeper. There are many people that exist or have existed in both universes, that have the same names and same relative places in society. And many of the relevant dates and events of both planets are strikingly similar.

TJ: You say many people. Can you give me an example?

JB: Certainly sir. This is the case with our 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. He has a parallel existence both on planet Earth where you resided, and planet Heart where we are right now. He was the 44th President of the U.S. in both universes.

TJ: How bizarre Mr. Braxton. Is this the case with all U.S. Presidents?

JB: No sir. He was the first one. And the only possible explanation I can fathom has to do with our author, Stephen R. Marks.

TJ: I suspected this was the case after having read his account of the journey you and your family were on from 2012 through 2016. Quite an entertaining story I must say. However, he leaves us off at a point with a lot of unanswered questions. I imagine he is working on a sequel to tie a few things up?

JB: I believe that to be the case though he doesn’t discuss his plans with me.

TJ: No, I imagine not. Anyway, Mr Braxton I am sure this is not what you had in mind in requesting to speak with me. Why exactly am I here?

JB: You are right Mr. President. You are here because I have assigned myself a mission to communicate with my new friends on planet Earth, ways to make their everyday existence better. And it is my intent to speak with many of the great thinkers and influencers of the past, to hopefully learn new lessons, or perhaps more appropriate, relearn old lessons that will help my friends across our ‘universal divide’ chart an improved path forward.

TJ: From your story about the last four years for you on planet Heart, you made a rather consequential change in your thinking about ways to help your society. You shifted from apolitical, philanthropic views to political ones. I understand why you did, given the events that occurred with your son and with the Hale Brothers. And when you say chart an improved path forward, are you speaking in terms of politics?

JB: Very astute Mr. President. It’s clear your many years in limbo did not dull your thinking. Yes, my orientation on charting new paths forward is from a political perspective. And for very good reason. ‘Government’, as you and your Constitutional Congress peers were trying to protect future generations from, is growing and encroaching on the freedoms and liberties of the people in both universes, to an ever-increasing degree. And these encroachments are transforming society in a manner that does not bode well for the principles you articulated and advocated for so passionately during your lifetime. So, I thought it prudent for me to speak with you first.

TJ: It pains me to hear you say this. So, I’m all ears. What can I do to assist you given I’ve been out of commission for, what now, 198 years? Did I do the math right? It’s been 196 years since I’ve had my eyes and ears open?

JB: Yes sir. 1826 to 2024. 198 is right. Before we get started, let me ask how you are. Do you feel in good health and are your memories of your life still fresh in your mind?

TJ: Surprisingly Mr. Braxton, I feel marvelous. If you had anything to do with that, again I owe you a debt of gratitude. And yes, I seem to be able to remember many details of my life.

JB: Well sir, I can’t say I had anything to do with your good health and sound memory, but I have a sense our author might be responsible.

TJ: You’re referring to that Marks’ fellow you mentioned earlier?

JB: Yes, Mr. President.

TJ: Well, the next time you see him, please express my gratitude.

JB: Will do sir, but truth be known I’ve never seen or met him. But I’m sure he’ll read our interview and be thankful for your gratitude.

TJ: Very well Mr. Braxton. Now, what is it you would care to discuss with me?

JB: Yes, let’s get to it. As I understand it, since I recalled your consciousness, you have been reviewing the history of the United States since your passing in 1826 until now. Let me ask you first, do you have any general thoughts you’d like to share before I get to my specific questions.

TJ: Yes I do Mr. Braxton. But first remind me who will be reading our interview.  

JB: A good question Mr. President. Unfortunately, I don’t have a satisfactory answer. My non-satisfactory answer is ‘I’m not sure’. To start it will be readers of my BLOG and SUBSTACK articles. As of right now that readership is on the meager side, but our author is working on building it up. Eventually the people who will read our interview will be people on our sister planet Earth who are interested in primarily two things; 1.) building a better U.S. government and 2.) finding the cure for Type 1 diabetes.

TJ: BLOG? SUBSTACK? I’m not sure I understand those terms. Building a better U.S. government? Now that is something I might have some relevant perspectives for you. As you no doubt know from our U.S. history, I had a small role in the formation and founding of our Union.

JB: Mr. President, I wouldn’t say your role was small. I would say your role was crucial as you were the primary voice who framed the argument to seek independence. In fact, I believe many of our readers may be unfamiliar with your political career. I’d like to take a moment and summarize it, at least the period from when you entered politics until the Revolutionary War, for their benefit.

TJ: Mr. Braxton, if you have that information available and would like to share with your audience, please feel free.

JB: Mr. President, your political career started on December 15, 1768, when at the age of 25 you were elected to represent Albemarle County in the Virginia House of Burgesses. You first sat with the House on May 8, 1769 when the political climate in the colonies was highly charged. Tell us about that time.

TJ: Following the Stamp Act debates and repeal in 1765, London went back to the well, shall we say, and burdened the colonies with a number of new taxes and duties on imported goods with the imposition of the 1767 Townsend Acts. In February 1768, the Massachusetts legislature approved a letter protesting the Acts and called on other colonies to follow suit. When we sat in session, my first, in May of 1769, responding to the Massachusetts call for unity was the House’s first priority.

London had instructed the English Virginia Governor, Botetourt, to dissolve the Burgesses if we joined in the protest. Mind you, this was my first session and my first taste of government. The Virginia House decided to join the protest, passing a resolution to that effect.

Botetourt then called our House into session and dissolved it. We all left the chambers and walked to the Raleigh Tavern across the street. We meet in the Apollo Room and decided to pass a proclamation that no Virginian will import or consume anything Parliament had singled out for taxation. And there you have my first ten days in government.

JB: As I understand it Mr. President, you served in the House of Burgesses all the way until the Revolutionary War in 1776 and along the way authored many writings to articulate your vision of how the actions of the British were threatening the freedoms and liberties of the colonists. Freedoms and liberties many colonists had become accustomed to and were not ready to give back.

TJ: That was true to an extent. A majority of colonists aligned with seeking independence, but there were many British loyalists to contend with. Almost one third of our populace were comfortable living under Britain’s growing tyranny.

To illustrate what the growing tyranny looked like, consider before 1729 no royal governor in Virginia had suspended an act of the colonial legislature. From 1729 through 1764, governors suspended legislation on average twice a year. And from 1765 through 1774, there were seventy-five suspensions. In May of 1774, London crossed a line for many of my colleagues and myself by enacting the Boston Port Act. This Act called for closing Boston’s shipping port until restitution was paid to the East India Company for losses incurred in the Boston Tea Party protest in December of the previous year.

That act led us in The Virginia House of Burgesses to take an unequivocal stand in line with Massachusetts and sparked numerous events that led to the formation of a Continental Congress. And from there, to war with the British.

JB: A central theme of your strategy to raise the awareness of your fellow colonists in 1774, who had not yet recognized the threat, was to appeal to their sense of faith and spirituality rather than to spark their anger. You led the House to adopt a resolution calling for a day of fasting and prayer. It has been written that your efforts on forming this resolution was the genesis of your becoming a national leader as you began the beginning of a Revolutionary appeal. What were your thoughts behind this?

TJ: Well first Mr. Braxton let me say that I was never a conventional Christian. But I had a sense that the best way to bring solidarity to the thought of protecting our liberties from the tentacles of the British was to frame an anti-British argument among a highly religious populace in the language of faith. We classified the acts of the British as an affront to our God-given rights, and we called on our people to fast and pray for deliverance from the evils of Civil War, not to resist authority. We painted a grave picture on the potential for Civil War but asked our people to ask God to lead our efforts to avert it. By assuring our people that God would be on our side if we were to go to war, we came together in opposition. And we came together in joining the increasing support for a Continental Congress to unify our position among all the colonies that we would not stand with tyranny.

JB: Over the next few months, your message was delivered in churches and parishes across the state and your popularity grew. Your efforts were embraced by the people of Virginia and led to you being nominated as one of the two representatives from your home state to the upcoming Continental Congress. This nomination inspired you to author a paper to help unify the delegates to that Congress, your ‘A Summary View Of The Rights of British America’. This writing of yours was given credit for framing the issue in a language and tone that brought many wavering colonists to your thinking, but also created much controversy. You tried to draw the fine line between communicating the intellectual justifications for revolution and an actual call to arms and conflict. But while your paper generated much debate, it served to move you to the front of the cause. At the age of thirty-one, you had demonstrated an ability to reflect on and articulate the sentiments of the public. You had demonstrated an ability to see into the future and bring it closer, giving many hope they had an ability to influence their destiny. And you continued to demonstrate these leadership qualities throughout your entire career.

TJ: Thank you for the kind words, Mr. Braxton. I am eternally grateful that my efforts are seen in that light by many, helping to overshadow my many personal flaws.

JB: Mr. President we could go forever discussing your career but I don’t think that would be the wishes of our audience so I’d like to wrap up our talk by asking you a difficult question, and that is ‘what would you consider to be your greatest failure’? 

TJ: That’s an easy one for me Mr. Braxton. The answer to your question is one that haunts me to this day. My greatest failure was not fighting hard enough for emancipation. I was never comfortable with the idea nor the practice of indentured servitude. Yes, I was a slave holder. But I had many internal misgivings and conflicts. In 1769 during my first term in the House, I wrote a bill to shift control of emancipation from the county courts to the slaveholders themselves. In Virginia at that time, requests for emancipation for ‘meritorious services’ were decided by judges. I believed the decision of emancipation should be rendered by a slave’s owner. In hindsight, I believe my position on the matter was shaped by my innate desire to free my own. Unfortunately, my colleagues in the House did not feel the same and my bill was defeated resoundingly.

Shortly thereafter, I argued a case in my private law practice about the rights of descendants of mixed-race marriages bound into servitude. Virginia law at the time stated they were bound until age thirty-one. I argued they should be free using a natural-law position. I was representing Samuel Howell, the great-grandson of a white woman and black man. I wrote ‘everyone comes into the world with a right to his own person and using it as his own will’. I lost the case and failed to gain Mr. Howell’s freedom.    

Over the years I had many opportunities to advance the cause of emancipation and end our ‘slave society’. I always recognized the eventuality of the end of slavery, but as a young legislator starving for approval, I consistently retreated from that position in favor of a more conventional one. If I could relive those days, I would certainly relive them differently. I believed and I wanted it but ultimately, I did not fight hard enough for emancipation. And it haunts me to this day that I had the opportunity to prevent so much suffering and bloodshed, and failed.

JB: Thank you Mr. President. I can see and feel your pain on this matter. Any closing thoughts you’d like to share.

TJ: Yes, thank you Mr. Braxton. I’d like to share some thoughts about you. I see many parallels in today’s U.S. societal struggles with the struggles we endured in the colonies during the 1760’s and 1770’s. In both instances there is a large rift between people who value freedom and liberty and resist growing encroachment, and those who would forsake their freedoms and liberties in return for a larger government, mandated with providing society with greater security and equality.

History has taught me that depending on government for the betterment of society is flawed. Succinctly, what is government? I would define it simply as people given, through election and appointment, authority to take action, or inaction as the case may be, to govern over the lives of the people they ‘serve’. Yes, you could argue government is not simply people, but is also institutions and laws and constructs. And I would argue in response that institutions and laws and constructs become the tools people in authority use to further their own self-interests. 

Any government is simply a reflection of the people in charge, and people by their very nature are flawed. Depending on another’s humanity, or intelligence, or righteousness, to improve one’s standing, is not a recipe for a better life. History has proven this true time and time again. While many start out in government for the right reasons, the power and wealth that comes with the office or appointed position are irresistible to the flawed human character. And those who remain in power for any extended period of time will eventually act in their own best interests by doing what it takes to remain in their position. And those actions to retain power are never in the best interests of those they serve.

One’s best opportunity to improve their standing, is the latitude to act in their own personal best interest. But for those in government, their best interests have a large and disproportionate impact on others. Growth of government is, simply stated, more people acting disproportionately against the interests of the people they ‘represent’, to serve their own. As such, the net effect of a big and growing government is a decline in the best interests of its populace.

In reading the book about your story ( I see that you and I agree on many levels. And I also see that you have entered political life, albeit for the primary reason to find the cure for Type 1 diabetes for your son. But you have also demonstrated a desire to use whatever opportunity you are presented to make the U.S. government better. My final thought I’d like to leave with you and your readers with is to recognize the more power you give to flawed individuals to exert power of authority over others, the more your society will degrade. In defense of smaller government, to whatever degree humans will act in their own self-interests, society will benefit when there are fewer people with the power to, disproportionately and counterproductively, impact the best interests of others.

Oh, and one last thing Mr. Braxton. If we were to speak with one another again, would I be referring to you as Mr. President?