The Founding Fathers: Bill Maher Got It Half Right

To his credit, Bill Maher never pretends to be anything other than what he is–a comic. The other night he characterized Real Time as a diversion and nothing more. Therefore, critiquing Mr. Maher’s political commentary could be like not getting the joke–an inopportune second act, akin to Dutch magician Fred Kaps following the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. But I have to give it a try.

Come on Bill, Thomas Jefferson was a privileged, rich plantation owner who owned slaves. No wonder he had the time to learn six languages, dabble in architecture and play the violin, he didn’t have to go to work every day. With Jefferson’s dough and leisure time, there are more than a few regular schmuks out there who could accomplish similar feats. Although anal play with your pick of the plantation girls might cramp a busy schedule.

Alexander Hamilton was a rapacious banker who couldn’t shoot straight. He reminded us, “Power over a man’s subsistence is power over his will.”

As President, John Adams was a monarchist who advocated for and  signed the Alien and Sedition Acts (precursors to the Patriot Act) into law. The Sedition Act made it a crime to publish “false, scandalous, and malicious writing” against the government or its officials.

James Madison, like most of the founding fathers, distrusted democracy: “Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.”

Of course, like all of the kings and popes and rich assholes before them, the founding fathers understood religion was a crock of shit they could use to manipulate the peons whenever they wanted a war or a bailout.

Really Bill, the founding fathers agreed that “political power must stay in the hands of the smartest people…?” They may have implied that, but what they really meant was richest, most powerful people. After all, as you intimated about John “Is that a putter in your pocket or are you just happy to see my health care?” Boehner, you don’t have to pass an IQ test to get into Congress.

The founding fathers designed their republic like those in Rome, Venice and Dubrovnik–republics in which rich, powerful men came together to decide the policies of their nation. The founders disenfranchised women and those who did not own property. They came up with a short-sighted, constitutional compromise to “represent” the disenfranchised by including them in the population count, even adding slaves at discounted value.

The founders were smart guys, not as inclined to corruption or abusing their power. That doesn’t excuse them from creating a form of government that concentrated power in an manner in which abuse is now standard operating procedure and cash the only form of free speech.

I think one of the reasons that people still regard the founders as demi-gods is that their republic, their version of Rome never produced a Caligula. After all, in 1787 one did not just wantonly murder his slaves, or fuck his horse and his sister. That behavior would be reserved for future generations of Southerners.

Would the Founding Fathers have hated teabaggers’ guts? I don’t think so. Privately, the  founders may have regarded teabaggers with disdain and maybe some mild horror because the founders, like the Koch brothers and all rich assholes are uncomfortable with the unwashed masses. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at a Koch brothers dinner party and hear what they really think about their teabagger brethren.

Publicly, however, the founding fathers would have been just as inclined as the Koch brothers to appeal to the teabaggers’ religion and patriotism. That’s how the founders procured soldiers for their revolution and how the Koch brothers procure soldiers for theirs.

Of course, the Koch brothers would never put their lives on the line like the founding fathers did.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the few founders who prided himself on being from the working class. He was not only a scientist, but a printer and bon vivant. His 1745 letter extolling the virtues of older women inspired the little rhyme, “They don’t yell. They don’t tell. They don’t swell and they’re grateful as  hell.” When Franklin was in his 70s and Ambassador to France he is rumored to have fathered many illegitimate children. If he were alive today he could certainly explain to Bill O’Reilly that the tides aren’t the only things that go in and out, and that nothing can be simply attributed to the mysteries of god or Babylonian whores.

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