Phillip Butehorn: It's Thomas Jefferson's birthday and nobody cares?

Roundup: Talking About History

[Mr. Butehorn is an intern at HNN and one of our Breaking News Editors.]

Last week was Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. He turned two hundred and sixty-six. I did not find this information in an article on CNN or Fox News, but actually discovered this fact in a headline on MSN titled “Facts about Thomas Jefferson.” Those facts are not good enough. This man was apart of the founding fathers trinity, the band of brothers, and he deserves a little more than having people being told facts about his life. When I realized that nothing was being done about Thomas Jefferson, I asked my girlfriend, “Why hasn’t anyone said or done anything for Thomas Jefferson’s birthday?” She responded with a question, “Well, how old is he?” I answered her. She quickly responded, “It is his 266th birthday. That isn’t very important.” Her answer certainly got me thinking. I knew someone had to say something about this. I certainly would have enjoyed seeing an article on Jefferson and how his importance affects events today. Below are several questions that need to be asked to understand the impact Jefferson has in today’s world.

How are the ideas and beliefs written in the Declaration of Independence manipulated by politicians today?
Who has distorted Jefferson’s legacy, the American people or the American government and why?
Why do the fears that Jefferson had about stocks and banks still linger today?
What party would Jefferson pick in 2009?
Was Thomas Jefferson right to fear the banks and the problems they would cause the country?
Who is Thomas Jefferson in 2009?
Why do all these questions matter?

I understand that Jefferson’s birthday is not his 260th or 270th, however, his legacy is more important than ever. The U.S. has its first African American president. I do not think that in Thomas Jefferson’s wildest dreams he ever thought an African American would become president of the country he helped put together. People are now questioning how an African American president will change the idea of racism in America. Jefferson’s worst fears have come true. Banks all across the country have either closed or begged for a bailout from Capital Hill. Jefferson’s fear transformed from fantasy into reality.

The questions above need to be answered. This country is in hard times and history is one answer to help find its way out. Who will answer these questions? Most importantly, by the time Jefferson turns two hundred and seventy, it might be too late to answer these important questions.

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Herbert Barger - 10/22/2009

An excellent article and YES with some factual reporting from his homeplace, "Monticello",instead of inaccurate stances, he could be celebrated more.

For answers to these agendas click on and

Herb Barger
Jefferson Family Historian