Friday, September 02, 2016

From the Archives: Gary Johnson reflects on his first visit to Jefferson's Monticello

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on May 5, 2010. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original. exclusive: Gary Johnson reflects on his first visit to Jefferson's Monticello

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson visited Charlottesville on Monday, May 3, to give a speech sponsored by the two local Republican unit committees and the Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia.

Johnson, a two-term Republican who served from 1995 to 2003, is now honorary chairman of OUR America Initiative, a public-policy advocacy group. Prior to becoming governor, he was a successful entrepreneur who took a one-person handyman operation and turned it into a 1,000-employee contracting and construction company by the time he sold it.

The former governor took advantage of his time in Charlottesville, appearing by telephone on the Joe Thomas morning drive-time radio show on WCHV and on Rob Schilling’s mid-afternoon radio program on WINA-AM.

He also strolled along Charlottesville’s downtown mall, where he wrote a message about “freedom” and “liberty” on the First Amendment Monument near City Hall, and he made his first visit to Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello.

The Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner asked Governor Johnson to reflect on his tour of Monticello.

Jefferson the Architect
The word he repeated in his answer was “fascinating” in reaction to the many elements of Jefferson’s home.

“I found it fascinating,” Johnson said about Jefferson’s design, “and I found it fascinating to see the quirks, if you will, in how it was built and all the fascinating elements”: the wind-direction indicator above the front porch, for instance, and the two-faced clock that Jefferson built for his entryway, a clock that tells just the hours on the outside but minutes, hours, and days of the week on the inside.

“What I found most interesting,” Johnson said, was that Jefferson was a self-taught architect “and that he built this home and that he took 40 years to do that.”

“That’s my background,” he continued. “My background is building and just recently I took two and a half years of my own life to build the home that I’m now living in.”

Contrasting himself with Jefferson, the architect, Johnson added that he “was in the trades long enough to know that I wasn’t going to be a part of that architectural component other than just [giving] advice.”

Jefferson the Politician
Asked about his reflections on Jefferson the man, the politician, and the Founding Father, Johnson replied that he learned on the tour that “having given 50 years of his life in public service, he enjoyed his time here [at Monticello] more than any of that. Yet he did give of himself and I, just in my own small way, felt like I could relate to that also.”

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