Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner Invites - Dead Presidents

This morning NPR ran a story where a reviewer of classical music listed the classical composers he would invite to Thanksgiving dinner if he could.  The premise is it could be anyone from history. He chose to go with all dead composers.  A friend and I have had similar conversations in the past.  Sometimes we'd discuss it in the "any body, ever" scenario.  Sometimes we'd limit it to certain categories.  We usually ran a list of ten.  I'm going to play with this for the next few days until Thanksgiving.  For now I'm going to keep myself to a limit of five people. I think I'll do one grand invite in the "any body, ever" category to end this run.

Today I'm doing dead presidents.  Obviously having a conversation with these kind of men about the times they lived in and to get their observations on today's political environment would be imminently fascinating.

  1. Thomas Jefferson.  This seems obvious, right?  As a delegate to the Continental Congress he was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence.  He founded of the University of Virginia.  He was an ambassador to France.  He rewrote the Bible eliminating all references to Jesus' divinity but made sure to keep all the morality taught by Jesus.  To hear his take on the current powers of the federal government and the relationship of the
  2. Abraham Lincoln.  He led this country through our second birth, the Civil War.  His take on race relations today would be fascinating.
  3. James Madison.  The Father of the Constitution.  Key author of the Federalist Papers.  Originally an opponent of and then backer of The Bill Of Rights.
  4. Dwight D. Eisenhower.  A general that became president.  Certainly there was precedent going all the wake back to Washington.  A more contemporary view but still the last president born before 1900.  In the past decade we've had so much WWII memorials in the media. I'd love to hear his points of view first hand. Plus to hear what he thinks of the modern GOP.
  5. Theodore Roosevelt.  The original progressive and a trust buster.  An outdoors man and hunter that created the National Parks system.

I'm sure many people will be surprised not to have George Washington on the list.  If I was going to 6 or 7 he clearly would have made the cut.  By limiting myself to 5 though I couldn't over concentrate on founding fathers.  Others I strongly considered were Ulysses S Grant to hear his take on the Civil War.  William Howard Taft, the only man to be president and serve on the Supreme Court.  And one of the more contemporary presidents from the 60s and 70s.  Probably LBJ but maybe Nixon.


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