Saturday, October 1, 2016

Order of Descent

Writing at, Sarah Skwire examines a letter George Washington wrote to Moses Seixas, a leader of the synagogue at Newport, Rhode Island, in 1790.

Seixas had written Washington noting how important the concept of a nation without a state religion of any kind was to his people, who had been the victims of many a pogrom, purge and persecution among the establishmen-churched nations of Europe. Seixas expressed his and his people's appreciation to Washington for his role in creating the new Constitution and government.

Skwire's article examines some of the meaning of Washington's reply and reflects on what an officially neutral state made for minority groups and minority faiths. What struck me was Washington's reply letter. Can you imagine in your wildest flights of fancy either of our two major presidential candidates being able to compose something like this? Can you imagine them thinking through any issue this deeply and then crafting this kind of a response letter? Can you suppose either of them employ staff people who would be able to do so in their stead?

I'm not suggesting that either candidate is dumb -- they do and say many dumb things, but they both sport degrees from top schools. Mr. Trump attended Fordham University and graduated from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Clinton graduated from Wellesley College and Yale University School of Law. Although education and dumb are not mutually exclusive, or so my mirror tells me, both candidates seem to have more than merely the sneaky murine cunning they regularly demonstrate.

I am suggesting that neither of them is much of a thinker. Neither of them does much reflecting on anything beyond poll results and defending their indefensible characters They certainly don't mull over ideas at the level of the first man to hold the job they both want, who was twice the thinker that either of them are for all that he held no degree and may have been largely self-educated with the occasional help of tutors.

He outshines them in several other regards as well. But we'll be reminded of that daily once one of them wins.

1 comment:

fillyjonk said...

I wonder if we as a species has just not gotten stupider in the past 100 years or so. I know I'm not as smart as some of my predecessors in science, and what's more, I'm lazy. (Maybe that's it as much as "stupid" - we've gotten "lazy" because of abundant chances for easy leisure and labor-saving devices).

That said, I don't think we've had a president as good as Washington in some 200+ years, so....