Wednesday, January 03, 2007

For Jefferson and Liberty. And The Koran

This one is too delicious times two. When Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress announced that he wanted to take his oath of office holding a Koran, he was pounced on as un-American by some folks whose understanding of the the Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom is tenuous at best—including Rep. Virgil Goode. First, it turns out that the Library of Congress will make available a copy of the Koran that was once owned by Thomas Jefferson. Second, it turns out that the Jefferson estate, Monticello, is in Rep. Goode's district.

We go out on that? No. We do reprise of song. That help.

Song? Yes.

In 1880, Thomas Jefferson ran against John Adams, one of Bush's predecessors in assaulting the Constitution and American ideals. In Adams's case it was the Alien and Sedition Acts.

This was, it goes without saying, pre-netroots, pre-TV, and even pre-radio. But it was not pre-jingle.

Jefferson and Liberty is, perhaps, America's first true campaign song. The Lyrics are by Robert Treat Paine Jr. In reading the opening stanza, it's hard to imagine that Paine had no knowledge of the excesses of the Bush regime and such Bush apologists as Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter.
The gloomy night before us flies; The reign of terror now is o'er
No gags, inquisitors, and spies; The herds of harpies are no more
The song rejects the "fiery bigot's holy laws," and promises
Here, free as air's expanded space, To every soul and sect shall be;
That sacred privilege of our race, The worship of the Deity.
Rejoice, Columbia's sons, rejoicel To tyrants never bend the knee
But join with heart, and soul and voicel For Jefferson and Liberty.

The song is included in Oscar Brand's Presidential Campaign Songs: 1789–1996. You can hear a snip of it at Amazon.

Mickeleh's Take
: Even in at the turn of the 19th century, consultants recycled limited their ideas and worked for anyone who paid them. Four years earlier, Paine had penned "Adams and Liberty" on a commission from the Massachusetts Charitable Fire Society. Well, maybe it was an honest conversion. I guess you could say that Paine was for Adams before he was against him. As for me, I look forward to singing a rousing verse or two of Jefferson and Liberty to cheer the current White House incumbent on his way. I will sing even louder when "the herds of harpies are no more."

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