Hello, my name is Bob Spatz and I'm very excited to welcome you to my Our Jefferson website/blog. If you are reading this before it goes into the Archives, then you are one of my very first guests. Thank you for dropping in. This blog gives me a chance to share a passion of almost 40 years. That passion is the life, thought, and present relevance of Thomas Jefferson. This is not a political blog, although politics will be addressed, because the focus is on what we can learn from Jefferson (TJ, as I like to call him,) that applies to our everyday lives.
The blog gives me a chance to share my book-in-progress as I write it, and to generate interest and exchanges regarding TJ and our world. The book is-surprise- Our Jefferson. It has evolved out of my becoming a 'student' of TJ's in the 1970s and coming to see him as 'my Jefferson', the Jefferson that spoke to me about America, the world, and my place in them. I came to TJ during the turmoil of the civil rights, anti-war, women's, and environmental movements looking for answers regarding what America was originally meant to stand for. When I came to TJ not only did I begin to find those answers, but I also was surprised to discover how much he had to say about living a good, meaningful life. As he gradually became my TJ, I wanted to share what I was learning with others. A book always seemed to be the best way to share, but despite intermittent efforts over the years I was never able to finish The Book, which has led to much good-natured teasing from family and friends. First, it was to be a book of quotes, then about Jefferson, then about TJ and me, and finally about TJ and the present generations. The subtitle has changed countless times. Ten years ago, when I discovered I had "mild" Attention Deficit Disorder my stop/start pattern became more understandable and manageable.
Well, as they say, the time is now. The subtitle of the book is Guidance from the Wisdom and Vision of Thomas Jefferson, and the message is that TJ can provide us with personal guidance as we try to make sense of the world and our lives. Its not just his wisdom that I found inspiring, but his vision of the future that can give all Americans something to strive for. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is not primarily a political quest, it is a personal, social, universal, and spiritual journey.
This site is intended to offer you a glimpse into the head and heart of a man who was widely considered one of the 10 greatest men of the last millennium, and the only native born American so honored. You will also learn something about me, as a student of TJ. We will not ignore the tough issues concerning race and slavery, or any of his human failings, but my focus will be on the positive and constructive contribution TJ can make to our lives, our nation, and our world. Just as 'my Jefferson' is not a dry figure from the past, but a subjective presence in my life, I believe TJ can also be our Jefferson, someone from the past who can provide wisdom and vision to present and future generations.
I invite you to jump in anywhere--the "Introduction" to the book, and other chapters as they appear, posts, guest posts, comments, quotes by TJ, links, and resources--and let me and the readers know what you think. Let us know if you have your own TJ or are just curious. Perhaps someday this blog will lead to the creation of a membership group, The Our Jefferson Society (another dream I've had for almost 40 years) where together we can explore, and act on, ways to improve the direction of our lives and of the nation Jefferson loved so dearly.
So, again HELLO and WELCOME!
How easily we prescribe for others a cure for their difficulties, while we cannot cure our own. 1821