Monday, 7 May 2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Group to Discuss Civil Disobedience and Terrorism, McVeigh and Oklahoma City
ORLANDO: Is there a line that divides Civil Disobedience from Terrorism? Is terrorism the sole domain of underground groups, like Osama bin Laden's organization? Or can governments also commit terrorism? On Tuesday May 15th, the night before convicted killer Timothy McVeigh is to be executed for the worst act of domestic terrorism our country has ever seen, a public forum of these questions will take place over dinner at Chapters Bread & Books Café in College Park.
The Jefferson Project is a local organization founded with the long-term goal of furthering education in the electronics technology industry, but also committed to furthering the social and political beliefs of our nation's third president, Thomas Jefferson. "Jefferson was far ahead of his time in so many of his beliefs," says Jefferson Project founder Tom Borkes. "And he always believed that education - the free discussion of ideas - was the single best means for improving yourself, and for society to advance."
Co-founder Mark Goldstein agrees. "Jefferson believed that the United States could be a beacon for the entire world of how a country should conduct itself and the freedoms every one of its citizens should enjoy. But unless we appreciate our freedoms, and discuss them, and work to keep them, we'll lose them."
The group intends to hold occasional meetings to discuss Jefferson's principles and writings in terms of current events. "We've got Jefferson enshrined in Washington, and chiseled on Mt. Rushmore," notes Borkes, "and sometimes we forget that he was a revolutionary, somebody who supported the overthrow of the established government. And some of the things he wrote two hundred years ago are as current and controversial today as they were back then." "At the same time," adds Goldstein, "We don't have any particular axe to grind or a particular point of view we're seeking to promote. What we are seeking to promote is the free exchange of ideas."
This first discussion takes its theme from letters Jefferson wrote at the time of Shay's Rebellion, a few years after the Revolution, when debtors in Massachusetts rose up in armed revolt demanding relief against foreclosure of their farms. "I have ever held it," wrote Jefferson, "that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing. For what country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that the people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
Part of this quote was on McVeigh's T-shirt when he was arrested.
Chapters Bread & Books Café is located at 717 West Smith Street, one block north of Princeton, just west of Edgewater Drive in College Park. The meeting itself will begin at 6:30 p.m. There is no charge for this event, but people are encouraged to patronize the restaurant for dinner. Reservations can be made by calling Chapters at (407) 246-1546.
This first discussion will be moderated by J.D. Sutton, whose one-man show An Evening with Thomas Jefferson has been performed at Chapters several times. "One thing I've found in doing my play is that people are drawn to Jefferson and what he has to say. And because what he says is so often so thought-provoking, I don't think we'll ever lack for good topics for discussion. This could be fun."