The French have a phrase, “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose,” which means “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” There can be no better illustration of that sentiment than Suzanne Jurmain’s new book, The Worst of Friends.
Ostensibly, it’s a story about Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Despite their differences—tall, short, quiet, talkative, etc.–the two were great friends, boon companions before and during the American Revolution.
However, when it came to getting our fledgling country up and running, they stood on opposite sides of the fence. Especially, when it came to the question about whether the United States should have a strong or weak presidency. They argued bitterly, privately and publicly, ending up as the leaders of opposing political parties. Making matters worse, they had to serve together as President (Adams) and Vice President (Jefferson).
That’s when things went very, very wrong. Republicans and Federalists would cross the street to avoid one another. Criticism, complaining and name-calling ruled the day. There were even fisticuffs in the streets. Nothing was getting accomplished in Washington. Sound familiar? It seems our current problems are as old as the republic.
I’m happy to report however, that there is appositive resolution to this story. It’s more 200 years later so obviously Jefferson and Adams were able to reconcile. Want to know how? You’ll have to read The Worst of Friends.
Posted by: Eileen