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Mr. Madison's Hat
How I Would've Ended Slavery Before It Ever Began
Although I am Southern from the top of my straw hat to the bottom of my bare feet, I think that slavery was an abominable institution. Sometimes I imagine going back to the Constitutional Convention as the lone representative of the would-be State of Arkansas just to heckle the powdered wigs of Massachusetts like those honorable gentlemen do over yonder in the British House of Parliament.
Since all of those New England men were better orators than I could ever hope to be, I would have to rely on more subtle means of persuasion than speech-making. For instance, I’d like to seek out that excellent man from Virginia and tell him all about the accomplished Washingtons who would succeed him: Carver, Booker T., Kermit, and Denzel. And I expect that if Carver’s peanut butter didn’t win him over, then surely Denzel’s movies would.
Or I would perform a bit of subterfuge with James Madison. Madison was a diminutive man with a small head. And we’re told that a fella once reached through a window at an inn where Madison had stopped and stole his hat. Madison, being as socially awkward as he was, felt so naked that he wouldn’t appear in public for two days. That is until he had bought a hat off of a passing snuff dealer (presumably with a small head too).
I think it might prove an effective strategy if I were to slip into his cloakroom every day, snatch his hat off its peg, and replace it with one a half-size larger. Then I would pass him in the street and say, “My dear Mr. Madison, I do believe that your head is shrinking. Perhaps that has something to do with those small-minded ideas about slavery.”
Then perhaps I would tell him that there would arise a man by the name of Wilt Chamberlain from these former colonies. And it would be a bad bet to suppose that he would only be three-fifths tall. If I play my cards right, this would leave Mr. Madison squirming as he realized just how easy it would be for a seven-foot black man to pluck the hat from atop his pointy head.
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