Sunday, September 21, 2008

We The People, pt. 1, 448 words

One legend, a bit of folklore from the beginning of the United States, goes that the Founding Fathers were struggling to come up with a seal, a symbol of the fledgling nation. Official history states that a consultant came up with the design, Congress put it into a copper plate, and passed it on, and there you were: the Great Seal of the United States. If you've ever looked at the back of a dollar bill, you'll know what I mean. The eye in the pyramid, with the Novus Ordo Seclorum ("New World Order") banner underneath, and opposite that the eagle with the shield holding the arrows and olive branch and the E Pluribus Unum ("Out of Many, One") banner. Lots of stuff that people like to claim is a bunch of Masonic imagery, showing the Founding Fathers' allegiance (and the United States' subjugation) to the Freemasons.

But I digress.

So, in the one hand, you have the official history. The designer, the copper plate, the designs deliberated over and carefully planned out. On the other hand, you have the distinctly un-official history. The bit of folklore about how they wracked their brains and couldn't come up with anything. That's not the significant bit, though; after all, who wouldn't be stumped for a time and have to think about it, when it comes to something like that?

Now, the legend goes, one night Jefferson was at his home in Monticello, and trying to come up with a design. He's frustrated, and steps outside for a moment to wander through his back garden. You know what I'm talking about, we've all been in that kind of place before, where we've been beating our heads against a problem so long that we don't know what to think or even how to think anymore, so we need to get away and take a break. Get a breath of fresh air, forget the problem, just leave it to our unconscious and come to it later with a new perspective. Perfectly normal, which is how all such legends start. Normal. And then something else intrudes.

Outside, Jefferson suddenly finds himself face to face with a man dressed all in black, his face obscured so it's impossible to tell who he is. Now, it's not like Jefferson's place is like Fort Knox, but it's not the village green either. He's surprised, obviously, but the man in black just hands him a heavy squarish thing, wrapped up in paper. What else does Jefferson do but take it? When he does, the man in black turns around and leaps away over a high hedge from a standing start, and he's gone. Just gone, impossible to find.

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