An Open Letter to Roger Sherman (My Week of Living Bigly: T-Minus Three Days)

Dear Roger Sherman,

Introductions are in order. You don't know me, but I know you. See, I'm from the future. You died over two hundred years ago, which is sucky, but your influence lives on to this day! Those documents you helped write: the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution (thenceforth known exclusively as The Toosh)? Their influence reigns supreme to this day! Indeed, you and all your friends are now known as The Founding Fathers, and you led the world's first revolution built upon the Enlightenment. And you are the Founding Father to have had a hand in all three of the major founding documents of the United States! You're a gosh-darn rock star, dude!

Except you're not. Most people don't know who you are. Your buddies are all pretty much the closest thing we have to royalty in this country. I'm sure that bums you out, what with the wanting to do away with monarchy thing, but don't worry because you're not so much royalty as you are a historical footnote.

See, there's this saying nowadays - it's not really a saying, it's more like a rule of thumb - that says, "Pictures, or it Did Not Happen." Maybe it's a proverb. Basically what it means is that unless there is proof of an event in the form of visual evidence, then no one will truly believe that it actually took place. This extends to the Founding Fathers, though no one was around to get a good photo of you.

Yeesh.

Yeesh.

In practice, this means that if there isn't a movie, tv show, or musical written about you, then you effectively don't exist. John Adams has a miniseries. Thomas Jefferson has a Ken Burns documentary. Alexander Hamilton... don't get me started.

You, on the other hand, didn't even get to really be in 1776. You helped write the Toosh and you didn't even get to really be in 1776. Burn.

Though, perhaps that's not the worst thing in the world. You're still a Founding Father, Roger, and arguably the most influential one. You're like the silent partner of America. You're the man pulling the strings. You don't have the fame, but that also means you don't have the notoriety.

See, people today love to talk about the Founding Fathers. The Framers. The people who created this country. Not only do they love to talk about them, they also love to put words in their mouths and interpret what they would think about today's modern politics. I strongly doubt you, Roger, ever had an opinion about whether or not owning an AR-15 is an American right. You were to busy focusing on "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" to think about that, I suppose. But lobbyists (people who tell people like you what to do for a living) will go to Capitol Hill (the place where the government now governs) and argue that the Founding Fathers fought and bled for our right to own big fucking guns. The Founding Fathers gave us the Toosh. The Founding Fathers created this country as a Christian country. The Founding Fathers this. The Founding Fathers that.

The problem is that the government of today would be unrecognizable to you. It's not that the government has turned into something that you were trying to fight against or something that you would abhor, it's the times have changed, people have changed, and therefore government has changed. You thought that the government would need to do little more than run a postal service. But you also thought that Black people were three-fifths of a person, so maybe it is a good thing that you didn't get to be in 1776.

The real problem, Roger, is you never would have considered the problems facing Americans today because during the time that the three founding documents were written, those problems did not exist. Assault rifles, abortions, gay marriage - Americans today speak a different language than the one you spoke.

You would not recognize the America of today. You would not recognize gerrymandering and voter suppression, poll watching and ID laws. You would not recognize Super PACs, you wouldn't recognize special interest groups, you wouldn't recognize voting blocs or online polls or hanging fucking chads. Which is almost certainly for the best - you'd spin in your unmarked grave if you knew what was going on to the country you helped create.

In for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose; we wouldn't recognize you on a list of Founding Fathers so why should you recognize the country you gave birth to?

I guess what I'm saying is this: who really gives a shit if you, a Founding Father, wouldn't recognize the America of today? Who gives a shit if the EPA and NEA are not what you had in mind? You gave us the Toosh, and now we're going to use it. You founded our country. We'll take it from here.

Love,

Rob