The more things change….
On this Independence Day, I am flipping through channels and having a debate with the Hubby on what we wanted to watch more; Star Trek or Law And Order Marathons… Yes, our inner geeks were front and center with great relish. We happened upon the History Channel and I saw something I always wanted to watch when I had time; the History of Our Presidents in the United States. With 7 hours to spare, I buckled down and began viewing in earnest, who these men were. These are my “tidbits” if you will on each one. I must say that I saw enough Testosterone and “Abilify” commercials to last me five lifetimes along with making me aware of the demographics the station thought would watch this riveting history. I am here to tell them, I am NOT male, NOT over fifty and I swear the stories of my perceived “testosterone” levels are just that…..
Moving right along…
- 8 Presidents never went to College. ( Imagine That..)
- Lincoln made Thanksgiving a National Holiday and gave the first pardon of a turkey.
- Andrew Johnson, Vice President to Lincoln, NEVER attended a day of school. He taught himself to read.
- Grant, won his election by getting the majority of the Black vote and the minority of the white ones.
- Hayes was the first President to have a telephone installed in the White House. He pretty much ended the progress of Reconstruction era. Did not seek a 2nd term.
- Three separate Presidents occupied the White House in 1881. Rutherford B. Hayes ,James Garfield and Chester Arthur
- Garfield was a big baseball fan and Minister… considered to be very wishy-washy, a party animal, clothes horse and a procrastinater.
- Cleveland was the first and only President to get married in the White House.
- Harrison was the first President to have Electricity installed in the White House but he and his wife were afraid to touch the switches. ( I got a chuckle thinking about that)
- McKinley was backed by big money and initiated the Spanish-American war which was parallel to the Iraq war many years later. He was the 3rd. President assassinated.
- Theodore Roosevelt, was a hawk in relation to war and won a Nobel Peace Prize. Strong energetic personality, a trust regulator, favored labor over management and was the one that changed the name from the” Executive Mansion” to the “White House”. He started the construction of the Panama Canal and saved many of the natural landmarks in the U.S. ( I was happy to hear this as I am a lover of nature and would have been upset, if they were allowed to destroy the Grand Canyon, a place I am preparing to visit in my travels this year). He was the 1st to fly in an airplane, drive a car and dive into a Submarine.
- Taft has the dubious distinction of being the heaviest president in History. He secretly had no desire to be President but was pushed by his wife. As a result, his Presidency was marred with mediocrity. He eventually became a Supreme Court Justice which was his true desire.
- Woodrow Wilson is the only President with a PhD ( Rhode Scholar). He was considered to be cold and without much humor. His face is on the one hundred thousand dollar bill but it was never publicly circulated.
- Harding was a gambler, drinker, extrovert and a womanizer.
- Coolidge lost the Presidential china in a poker game
- Franklin D Roosevelt was the first President to select a woman for his cabinet.
- Truman stopped segregation among armed forces. This was our initial entrance into Vietnam.
- Kennedy and Johnson were spoken so much at length throughout history, I am not adding anything about them here.
- Nixon was obsessed with power, insecure and had an enemies list. Was only President to resign for the Office in disgrace as he faced impeachment. ( dude wiretapped everybody)
- Ford Pardoned Nixon
- Carter was a strong peace negotiator who held grudges.
- Reagan.. largely thought to have flights of fancy in his head and ran the country that way. He may be added to Mount Rushmore one day as his Presidency was filled with many things.
- Bush #1 Thought to be a wimpy President but wasn’t.
- Clinton…I need two years and a pill to discuss him but the Economy boomed under his leadership. We all know about Monica Lewinsky, so I am not going there. It was also thought that Hillary was his Co President and she had an Office in the West Wing. ( first wife to ever do that)
- Bush # 2 known as the “C “average President who was faced with having to deal with the biggest tragedy that happened on American soil; Collapse of the twin towers in N.Y on 9/11/2001
- Barack Obama…History is still being written about him but he too won a Nobel Peace Prize.
After sitting through 7 hours of this, I drew the conclusion that despite the many years that are between the first and the current President, nothing much has changed in History except the dates and the names of people/policies/ programs/ treaties… It is all repeating itself. I must say I enjoyed watching the story about Teddy Roosevelt and if I were President, I would like to think I would be most like him.
It is a great lesson though on what legacy are we leaving here on earth. We may not be the most powerful leader in the free world but rest assured, what we say and do is always being watched by someone. No one is perfect as you can see from the tidbits above but we can all strive in our humanness to be the best person we know how…. the more things change, the more they stay the same…