Friday, August 30, 2013

A TARDIS for a week

For the uninitiated, TARDIS is an acronym from the television show Doctor Who. The show started in December 1963 and is still on the air, minus a couple of years here and there where they took some breaks. TARDIS stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. The craft can travel pretty much anywhere in time and space.

With the premise put forth in the title, there are countless possibilities. However, the one I would choose probably seems more aligned with Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

If I had a TARDIS for a week, I would use it to host a conference. Why? There are some great people in history, mostly Americans, whom I would love to hear speak about our country today.

So many take quotes from these people and try to apply them to today's situations as a means of gaining wisdom. Wouldn't it be cool if we could collect them together for a weekend and hear them speak?

Here is what I would do. I would scoop up those on my list. I would then give them a crash course in the current US Constitution, key SCOTUS decisions, key bits of legislation, and key social issues we face today. I would also let them learn about other cornerstone events such as the proliferation of the internet, smartphones, twerking, the space program, etc. That would take a couple of days.

I would gather the following people, with my reasons:

John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. These men were the predominant authors of the US Constitution as well as its "owners' manual" known as The Federalist Papers. John Jay was the first US Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. His insight in several landmark decisions such as Roe v Wade, Heller v DC, Gore v Bush, etc. would be great. The other two men are more well known, by most, and their inclusion should be more than self-explanatory.

George Washington. He was our first and probably greatest president.

Thomas Jefferson. Not only was he the President of the United States as well as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, but his views on religion and separation of church and state are key to many of today's issues.

Frederick Douglas. The man had Abraham Lincoln's ear. He probably did more for abolition and civil rights than anybody else prior to (or since) Martin Luther King.

Martin Luther King. Nothing more needs to be said to justify Dr. King's inclusion. Any objections? If so, you're not invited.

John Locke. His political philosophies set the foundation of our Constitutional Republic. His views on how we are today would provide great insight.

Benjamin Franklin. Many would love to hear his commentary on the news media of today.

Thomas Paine. His pamphlet, Common Sense, sparked the revolution. What advice would he give to peacefully place us back on track? Are we on track already?

Susan B. Anthony. She was both a suffragette and an abolitionist. He views on civil rights and women's issues are much needed today.

Milton Friedman and Adam Smith. We need some economic advice. I'm sure that most of the others listed would agree with them that step one is to cut wasteful government spending and balance the budget. However, I'd love to hear it direct from their mouths.

The conference would last about three days. Each would get 35 minutes to speak on their chosen topic within their realm of expertise. Then they would have 15 minutes of Q & A.

The last day would be panel one-hour discussions. The panels would be:

Jay, Hamilton, Madison -- The State of the US Constitution

Jefferson & Washington -- Leadership and the Executive Branch

Jefferson, Paine, Franklin, Locke -- The Blessings of Liberty and Individual Rights

Anthony, King, Douglas -- Civil Liberties, the Way Forward

Friedman & Smith -- Taxation and Economic Prosperity

This would prove to be a great event. If somebody runs into a blue police box with a flashing light on top, please tell the driver that I need to borrow it for a few days. Heck, he can come along. It would be fun.