Good Evening, All, and Happy Independence Day,
We have so much for which to be thankful. I have spoken frequently about my friend, Matt, who is incarcerated in federal prison in Littleton, CO. Matt is imprisoned on false charges and is guilty of nothing. Hopefully, justice will prevail soon and he will then experience his freedom again. Please understand that Matt is not bitter. Matt is one of the most optimistic and joyful people I have ever known. Even considering what the government, US Attorneys, prosecutors, etc, have done to Matt, he is a true patriot. Matt holds no grudges, he loves America. You can read it in his writing. Below, I have included a conversation Matt had with a fellow inmate earlier this week. Please feel free to share with anyone who may be inspired by his thoughts. I found this interchange to be very enlightening. There are revelations that I never knew. Among other talents, Matt is truly an educator, too. Please enjoy and I would love to hear your feedback. Thank you.
Dr Lee Ofner
Happy Independence Day!
I love America! I always have.
Since I have been in prison, I have grown to love her even more.
This 4th of July, I am going to recite a conversation I had with a 30-year-old about America and his misunderstanding about her. He has been “indoctrinated” with anti-American poison and I hope the conversation helped clear some things up with him. By the way, prison is a breeding ground for every lie about America you can think of. (Hint to society: eliminate the breeding ground of those lies! I also recommend reading chapter 33 of Quinny. www.quinnythebook.com).
Here is how the conversation went:
Young Man: “I hate America. When I am released, I am going to leave the United States and never come back!”
Me: Silence for a moment, and then: “It is too bad. But I guess it is best because America needs people who will produce results for society by providing stability, building trust with friends, family, and neighbors; those with whom you come in contact should never fear for their safety or well-being because you are around. Society expects every member to use his or her talents to produce goods or offer services which make peoples’ lives better. You are right. You are unable to do any of it, so it is best that you leave.”
Young Man: “What the? Just who do you think you…”
[He stopped for a moment and considered his reaction. If he hates America so much, why does he even care what I said? The truth is, he loves her, too! Everyone does! There is a reason. America loves us! She gives us freedom. In the words of Daniel J. Boorstin, “Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be.” Freedom alone makes things better than any government ever could. It is not the U.S. government which makes America great; it is the liberty the government is tasked to preserve which makes her great. Protecting liberty for its citizens is the government’s PRIMARY legitimate function.]
Me: “Yes, go ahead with your thought.”
Young Man: “Our nation was founded upon the evils of slavery. The founding fathers were evil. Thomas Jefferson was a rapist. He raped his slave, Sally Hemmings.”
Me: “Who gave you that information?”
Young Man: “One of my professors from college. I’m not stupid. I went to college and have a degree.”
Me: “I commend you for that education. Good for you. Your professor told you an untruth. Sorry.”
Young Man: “Are you calling my professor a liar?”
Young Man: “You are a [explicative].”
Me: “Sorry you feel that way, but your professor’s low self-esteem is manifesting as anger towards America. He does not really hate America. He hates himself or his life and projects it on America.”
Young Man: Silence.
Me: “Our founding fathers were great men. Very few men today can even scratch the surface of the depth of their character, bravery, and moral excellence. They were not racists. Thomas Jefferson was not a rapist.”
Young Man: “You are so full of [explicative]! You don’t know.”
Me: “Well, if I do not know, then neither do you. Mr. college, you just caught yourself in a logical contradiction. You realize it, right? Look, let us have a conversation. You do not need to curse at me every time I say something with which you disagree. How about we have an intellectual conversation, like two dignified men? The most persuasive argument will be the one we both embrace. Fair enough?”
Young Man: “I’m going to roast your [explicative]!”
Me: “No swearing!”
Young Man: “Sorry.”
Me: “Ok then. Let us talk about slavery. It is a terrible thing. The founding fathers were horrified by it.”
Young Man: “No they weren’t! They loved it! They were slave owners!”
Me: “Being slave owners was an unfortunate reality of their day. It does not mean they loved owning other human beings.”
Young Man: “Prove it.”
Me: “Take George Washington for example. In 1786 he wrote a letter to Robert Morse, saying: ‘There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolishment of slavery’.”
Young Man: “I’ve never heard that before.”
Me: “It is part of American history. The letter is available for anyone to read with a little research.”
Young Man: “Then why did Washington have slaves?”
Me: “Like I said, it was the reality of their day. But they did not agree with it. Many founding fathers worried that if they freed their slaves, they would somehow end up re-enslaved with cruel and violent slave masters. Taking care of them and providing for them was the best they could do under the circumstances. There just was not an easy way to deal with the issue quickly. Those realities were harsh of life at that time. It was not until 1863 that slavery was finally abolished. It costs hundreds of thousands of American lives. Americans took the slavery issue very seriously then and we take it seriously now.”
Young Man: “But what about Jefferson?”
Me: “Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.”
Young Man: “Right, I know that.”
Me: “I know you do. What most people do not know is that in the first edition of the Declaration which was proposed at the Second Continental Congress, it said something like: ‘King George waged cruel war against the life and liberty of a distant people (African slaves) who never offended him, capturing and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation. The King of Great Britain determined to keep open a slave market in which men should be bought and sold.’ Thomas Jefferson called it the ‘execrable commerce’.”
Young Man: “That’s not in the Declaration of Independence!”
Me: “Not anymore. But it was in the original version presented to the Continental Congress. Jefferson was forced to take it out when South Carolina and Georgia threatened to walk out of the Continental Congress unless that paragraph was removed. A sad but necessary compromise was made so that South Carolina and Georgia would remain part of the fight for liberty and independence. The Colonies would not have won the Revolutionary War without them.”
Young Man: “A little ironic, don’t you think, that slaves were the bargaining chip that saved the Colonies and made America possible?”
Me: “It is inspiring that the slaves enabled America to win, and by so doing, the slaves ultimately won their freedom for their posterity. It is one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of the world. Keep in mind, white men did not invent slavery. The slave trade goes back millennia. However, even more recently Muslim pirates from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya (from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth century) captured over one million white Europeans and sold them into Muslim nations as slaves. No one talks about it. Thomas Jefferson’s autobiography (1821) said, ‘Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that the slaves are to be free.’ It does not sound like someone who wants the slaves to remain slaves.”
Young Man: “He really said that?”
Me: “Yes he did. You can look it up yourself. It is part of American history. It is only fair to put it into proper perspective. A scant 74 years passed from the time the United States became a sovereign nation in 1789 until slavery was finally abolished in 1863, which is extremely rapid social change for something of such a magnitude of importance, even for our day. It is yet another example of America’s moral exceptionalism in light of the nearly 300 years of slavery presided over by British rule which preceded it.
Young Man: “But he raped his slave, Sally Hemmings.”
Me: Taking in a big breath and sighing loudly. “Thomas Jefferson’s wife was named Martha, just like George Washington’s wife.”
Young Man: “Interesting. I didn’t know that.”
Me: “Well, Martha Jefferson’s father took a second wife of sorts – perhaps more aptly called a ‘concubine.’ Anyway, Martha’s father had six children with his ‘concubine.’ Sally Hemmings was number six.”
Young Man: [Jaw dropping]
Me: “You see, Martha Jefferson and Sally Hemmings were half-sisters. After Martha Jefferson died, Hemmings visited Jefferson in Paris while he was Ambassador to France. It was there that Hemmings and Jefferson fell in love. In the law of Moses, men married the wives of their deceased brothers. Back then, it could easily mean marrying sisters. Jefferson knew Hemmings was Martha Jefferson’s half-sister; he saw her and treated her that way. He loved her. She loved him. They did not marry; they probably could not under the laws that prevailed at the time, but Jefferson might have married her upon his return from France if Virginia law had permitted it. It is telling that Hemmings could have stayed in Paris in 1789 as a free woman but instead returned home with Jefferson because she loved him. He was no rapist. They had a relationship.”
Young Man: [Stunned. Unable to respond.]
Me: “Even after Jefferson’s death, Hemmings could have written down her story about how he ‘mistreated her’ if he actually had. Not one slave at Monticello ever even suspected there was anything but love and respect between them or they, too, would have spoken out about it. Jefferson had children with Hemmings. He could have easily sold them at birth to new slave owners if he were ashamed of them and wanted to hide the relationship, but he did not. He loved them.”
Young Man: “Then where did all of those rumors come from?”
Me: “A fellow by the name of James Callendar was a journalist who did some work for Jefferson. He, at some point, wanted to become the postmaster for Richmond, Virginia. He approached Jefferson to ask him to use his influence to help him obtain the job, but Jefferson refused to use his influence in that way. Callendar was infuriated and spent the rest of his life making Jefferson’s life miserable. The ‘rest of his life’ was only a year, though. While drunk, Callendar fell off a bridge into a few feet of water and drowned. He was too drunk to stand up. Anyway, all of the negative ‘Sally Hemmings’ rumors about rape and mistreatment started with that scoundrel, Callendar.”
Young Man: “I had no idea.”
Me: “Thomas Jefferson really was all the man we hold him to be. He was the ‘apostle of democracy,’ and the ‘oracle of liberty.’ What your professor told you was merely to recruit more members to the ‘Holy Order of Perpetual Offense.’ That term is not mine. I read it somewhere. But it is what professors are doing…they loathe their own lives, so they are recruiting others to join them in their perpetual state of offense. It is that simple.”
Young Man: “You know, I’m starting to look at things differently.”
Me: “America can claim moral superiority over all other nations. It has the power to destroy ALL OTHER nations or assume control over them right now, but it does not. America is virtuous and benevolent. It provides economic relief to over 100 nations. Americans are the most generous people on earth. We produce the most. We create new things. We innovate and experiment. We find cures to diseases and share them with the world. We have revolutionized communications, travel, medical advancements, food production, water distribution, and more. All of those things originated here in America. Almighty God ordained our founding fathers to make it possible. You see, nothing makes a man’s thoughts more sharp than when he is under the threat of life or death. The belief that America could ultimately be what it is today, threatened to deliver death to the founding fathers and their families, yet they persisted and prevailed. They were good men of excellent, superior moral virtue. Yes, they were human, and they made mistakes. In balance, when compared to all other great men throughout history, they measure out as the greatest who ever lived.”
Young Man: “That actually sounds true. I believe you. But what about socialism? Several professors told me that socialism is necessary for America’s future.”
Me: “That position is ridiculous. Socialism is a man-made construct. Capitalism, on the other hand, is naturally occurring. We can talk about the difference between the two some other time. For now, I will say…there have been few on earth who understood the evils of socialism more than Great Britain’s Winston Churchill, who said, ‘Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery’.”
Young Man: “Wow. That is an impressive quote.”
Me: “Guess who Mr. Churchill (and all Europeans) can thank for surviving World War II to be able to make such a profound statement? The Americans.”
Young Man: “I apologize for being such an [explicative] to you earlier.”
Me: “No swearing!”
Young Man: “Sorry. I see now. Our founding fathers were great and they deserve the pedestal history has put them on.”
Me: “Thank you for saying that. They were great. America is great. We are a great, loving, generous, compassionate, creative, hardworking people. Why is America the greatest nation on earth? Why is it exceptional? It is simple. America enables her people to produce RESULTS.”
The young man shook my hand and seemed relieved to be American.
I hope he always remembers.
I conclude these thoughts by sharing an excerpt from an article a friend mailed to me from the Colorado Springs Gazette. It is a partial quote by deceased politician, Dean Alfange:
“I will not trade my freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any earthly master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say – ‘This, with God’s help, I have done.’ All this is what it is to be an American.”
It is as though those words were spoken by me in the first instance.
God Bless the United States of America.
Life in the Extreme,
Matthew D. Hutcheson may be contacted through regular mail:
Matthew D. Hutcheson
9595 West Quincy Avenue
Littleton, CO 80123
If you are curious why Mr. Hutcheson is in prison, you can learn more here:
For those of you interested in some source material, you will enjoy the following:
Henry Wiencek’s Master Of The Mountain: Thomas Jefferson & His Slaves, Chapter 1, Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2012, (Kindle location 260-272.
The Women Jefferson Loved by Virginia Scharff, Thomas Jefferson: The Revolution Of Ideas by R.B. Bernstein.
Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).
“Major Events In The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy”, Lehigh University Digital Library, 2012, (http://digital.lib.lehigh.edu/trial/jefferson/time/). See also “Sexual Liberties Of Thomas Jefferson” by John L. Smith Jr., Journal Of The American Revolution, April 18th 2016.
Annette Gordon-Reed’s Thomas Jefferson & Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, Chapter 5, University of Virginia Press, Second edition. 1999.
Peter Onuf, Jeffersonian Legacies, “Those Who Labor For My Happiness”, Pg. 158, University of Virginia Press, 1993.
Letter from Martha Jefferson Randolph to Thomas Jefferson, November 30th, 1804.