Imagine for one moment that instead of being time warped back in time, like in the Rocky Horror Show, you had a time machine, that could transport people from one century to another. You decide to use the time machine to transport a few of the founding fathers of our Republic to our present day, circa, the Presidential election of 2016. What would they think of their creation?
“Ben where are we? I was working in my wine cellar. I was tasting my new Madeira wine, and all of a sudden I find myself here, with you and James. It is nice to be with you old friends but I was at work on something very important at the time of this unanticipated journey into what would appear to be the future.”
“Let me see if we can find some local newspaper to see where we are. Thomas, look over there, it would appear to be some kind of kiosk. By George, would you look at that! Whatever this is, people must read it. It says, “Time Magazine,” at the top. There are pictures of men with the headline calling them revolutionaries. The audacity of it. They all seem to be wearing all manner of clothing. Oh, here is something that looks like a news periodical, called the New York Times. By jove, we must be in New York City. There must be some sort of time machine that has brought us to the future.”
“Yes, Ben, we have been plucked from the comfort of our homes and placed here for some reason,” James replied. “Gentlemen, we should avail ourselves of this excellent opportunity to see how our experiment in self government has turned out, Madison further exclaimed.
They turned a corner where cameras and lights were shining!
“Oh, there you are Mr. Franklin, the young man giggled. He pointed to the left and said, “Get yourself over to makeup.”
Franklin did as he was told. By a mere coincidence, he had found himself at a car commercial where Ben Franklin was a character in the TV spot.
“Put some makeup on him, he’s looking too old. These other two guys must be extras, fix them up as well.”
The shoot finished, and the extras found themselves being paid on the spot.
“Well, this will come in handy.” Thomas told Madison, “now we can get something to eat and buy that magazine about the candidates for President who their periodical are calling revolutionaries.”
As they walked further along Broadway, they came across a crowd standing around a window of a store. Being curious they too watched and listened to what must have been an amazing moment, watching a television for the first time. A televised Republican debate was underway. As the debate continued, all three of the travelers from another time, found themselves frowning with a perplexed look on their faces.
“Gentlemen, let’s try to find someplace to sit and talk about all of the wondrous and to tell you the truth disturbing things we have seen and heard. I wonder if they have some sort of establishment where we can enjoy some tea or coffee.” Jefferson inquired of the others.
Madison, then shortly thereafter, detected an aroma. ” I smell coffee, it seems to be coming from over there. A place with a marque stating Starbucks. I don’t know what a Starbucks would be but let’s give it a try. I could use some time to contemplate and have some good conversation.”
” I must admit that after I got used to watching this modern contraption called television I was horrified by what I heard.” Jefferson said. “Does America have a war party now? When I named our party the Democrat Republican Party, I only added the name Republican because I at that time admired the French Revolution before all the subsequent violence occurred. ”
“Just the idea of having a political party was controversial in our day. Washington was against it and John Adams was not a fan of political parties because of the dangers inherent. It increases the chances of having factionalism.” Madison added. “There is something to be said for putting forth candidates whose reason for service is not partisan but rather for the greater good; to see who can put forth the best ideas. It should not be just a petty competition.”
Franklin chimed in! “Yes, this talk of terror from abroad seems most inflated. We debated why standing armies were a great danger to liberty. We had empires on our borders and Indians threatening our communities but the very idea of having a large standing army is indeed dangerous. Some President could make use of this large army for ill, to create tyranny for the people. A Navy is necessary. They talk of bombing from the air, most fascinating! Clearly they have forgotten my warning about a willingness to give up any liberty for security.”
Jefferson returned to the table after a conversation with a couple of young people at a nearby table. “My word gentlemen, I was just introduced to what they referred to as an I-Phone. I finally found something of interest. It is most amazing. It is like having your own library in a small container. I had them look up this man Trump who the moderators kept referring to. What a pompous man of no apparent talent! He talks and says nothing! He promises the Moon and a lot of hot air. He wants to build a wall to keep people out. Imagine that! They say he is a billionaire. My word, I thought we had solved the problem of inherited wealth in our day. His promises to the people reminded me of a poem of long ago: ‘ One worthless man that gains what he pretends
disgusts a thousand unpretending friends
trials light as Air—- are to the jealous confirmation strong
as proofs of the holy Writ—the Wise too Jealous are fools to secure—-
Beware, beware, beware for I apprehend a dreadful snare
is laid for Virtuous innocence under a friends false pretense.’ And to continue,” I had these generous young people look up this fellow Cruz. He is actually quoted as saying that his being a Christian comes first before his being an American.”
“Oh my God”, exclaimed Madison. What has happened, we put in the first Amendment to the Bill of Rights, that Congress shall pass no law respecting a religion. Have they forgotten how man loves to fight wars over religion? What kind of place have we wrought? ”
Jefferson went on! “Believe it or not unless America has expanded into Canada, he was born in Canada.”
“You don’t say,” Franklin said. ” I am impressed with all of these new inventions, but I find the current state of things to be most discouraging.”
“Maybe we can stay around long enough to watch the other political party’s debate.” Madison said wistfully. “There could still be hope!”
” Gentlemen and friends, I am willing to wait a little longer just to see what the other party has to say. I am decidedly disappointed at this point. It makes me question whether or not everyone should be able to vote. I have always trusted the people to govern themselves, but the debate we watched made me question today’s level of education.” Jefferson said in a sad tone.
” I wonder how we can get home. I miss doing my experiments. I would like to bring home with us one of these phones and try to figure out how they work.” Franklin replied.