power always thinks
doing God’s service then
violate God’s laws
On Feb. 2. 1816, Former President John Adams wrote to Former President Thomas Jefferson, “Power always thinks it has a great Soul, and vast Views, beyond the Comprehension of the Weak; and that it is doing God Service, when it is violating all his Laws.”
The former Presidents had both been President along with a whole lot of other common experiences too many to try to list and as old men, engaged in one of histories great collected correspondences.
When Mr. Adams wrote the above quote he was commenting on a question from Mr. Jefferson about the current state of affairs in Europe.
Mr. Adams had on answer for that question and I used it for today’s Haiku.
Mr. Jefferson also had asked for a comment on “How the Apostacy from National Rectitude can be Accounted for?”
In other words, Mr. Jefferson had asked Mr. Adams if he could explain the abandonment or renunciation by the Country of a National moral integrity or goodness.
This was 1816.
40 years after the two men had collaborated on something called the Declaration of Independence.
In response Mr. Adams could only write that the question “is too deep and wide for my Capacity to answer.“
I cannot imagine what Mr. Adams might say today about how the Apostacy from National Rectitude can be Accounted for.
At least once he stopped throwing up.
It is almost easier to picture him in a scene from the movie Planet of the Apes when Charlton Heston rides up to remains of the Statue of Liberty and realizes he is back on Earth.
Mr. Heston’s character cries out in rage, “You finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up!”
Mr. Adams’ statement, Power always thinks it has a great Soul, and vast Views, beyond the Comprehension of the Weak; and that it is doing God Service, when it is violating all his Laws, has been much on my mind of late as I watch how friends and neighbors express certain points of view with the certainty that God is on their side while the point of view being expressed, to me, is a certain violation of God’s laws.
Not sure what to do with that.
Mr. Adams’ statement, Power always thinks it has a great Soul, and vast Views, beyond the Comprehension of the Weak; and that it is doing God Service, when it is violating all his Laws, brought me back to my days in college when I studied the American Colonial Period.
I had this professor who had the same feeling as Mr. Adams.
But instead of quoting Mr. Adams, this Professor would quote another great figure in American History, Bob Dylan.
He would quote Mr. Dylan’s song, With God on Our Side.
Oh my name it ain’t nothin’
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I was taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side