Jefferson’s Tear

Jefferson’s tear

As I have been on vacation, I have managed to stop at a number of interesting sites. One of those sites was Mt. Rushmore, a site that I had visited when my twin daughters were 2 years old, 22, yearsago. I wanted them t see what they had seen before but had no recollection of.

Mt. Rushmore was a private project, funded privately. It had been conceived by Gutzon Borglum, a sculpture who wanted to pay homage to those presidents who he felt had most to do with making the country what it was.

Over 400 workers, labored to create the images that now have world attention. The work began in 1927 and ceased upon Borgium’s dearth in 1941, leaving the final image unfinished. Ironically, that final image was Abraham Lincoln, who also died, leaving his work unfinished.

The first image is of George Washington, the first President who had to create a foundation of government based upon a theoretical form as written and ratified in the Constitution.  To do so, he chose Alexander Hamilton, a Federalist, as Secretary of the Treasury and Thomas Jefferson, an Anti-Federalist as Secretary of State, to seek a balance of input into the new form.

The third image is of Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. Roosevelt, who was described as a “progressive”, removed the influence of the mighty powers of steel, rail, and industry from their influence in government, ending on era. Very unlike those who call themselves “progressives”, today.

The fourth was Lincoln, often maligned for what he didn’t do, as many want to blame Reconstruction on a man dead well before the Congress undid the Amnesty that he granted to all but a few that fought for the Confederacy. He simply wanted to get the country back to normal as quickly as possible. It was Thaddeus Stevens who lead the Congress into a disaster that still has repercussions, today and Andrew Johnson, who constantly vetoed acts of Congress, which Stevens got Congress to override. Johnson was simply a weak President. So, as with Borglum, who, by his death, left Lincoln unfinished, Lincoln, by his death, left the reconciliation of the Union unfinished.

No, I have not forgotten Jefferson. It is s similar expression of and even more an ironic coincidence than that of Borglum and Lincoln. “Jefferson always believed that the government (as the Constitution so states and affirmed by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, that the federal government has a very minimal role in our daily lives.

So, might it be appropriate that Jefferson would shed a tear over what the country has become?

As the Sun shone on Jefferson’s image, there was bright spot, perhaps a crystal protrusion, the only one on all four images, just below Jefferson’s right eye. It was extremely bright against the gray granite face; however, her picture did not do justice, though it shows that tear, when closely observed (second image). It is more apparent, when I impose a color on that bright spot (third image).

So, Jefferson, as many of us, has shed a tear for what this country has become.

Image 1 – Mt. Rushmore, July 2019
Image 2 – Jefferson
Image 3 – Tear located


  1. Phillip Meskin says:

    Well said and clearly relevant in today’s political arena.

  2. Wayne Andersen says:

    The 1st thing I look for, and enjoy, when visiting a town are the statuary and older architecture. And yet, people are allowing these to become hard targets. As if it is a debate to keep relics around.

Leave a Reply