Thomas Jefferson on changing our laws

I took a trip to Washington DC recently, where I went to go see the stone people (that is, I took a tour of the memorials on The Mall).

I visited the Jefferson Memorial for the first time. This was a New Deal project opened by FDR in the 1930s. In it, Jefferson stands in a domed marble structure, surrounded by significant quotes from his writing. Amidst recent historical events, I found this quote to be particularly relevant.

Just in case you feel that our laws should not or cannot be adapted, I encourage you to consider these words:

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

Whether you want to apply this to gun legislation or action for equality, don’t let anyone tell you we can’t use our own system to make things better for each other. The evidence that change is needed is real, and anyone who believes in doing nothing is simply an obstructionist.

Brookyn, NYC

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