Past History – Present Reality

Trivia fact: did you know that most presidents were lawyers? (27 out of 44)

Of the 10 presidents I have seen since high school, five were Republican, five were Democrats (who seemed to a better job).

When I was in high school, Democrat John F. Kennedy was president. Kennedy was born in Massachusetts, of Irish descent, a Harvard graduate, a Navy veteran, and the first Roman Catholic president.

Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson was then sworn in as president. Johnson, born in Texas, of the Disciples of Christ Church, a Navy veteran, promoted aid to education, and fought against poverty and the removal of obstacles to the right to vote. In 1965, his administration passed the Medicare Amendment to the Social Security Act.

After Johnson was Republican Richard M. Nixon. Nixon, a Quaker, born in California, faced a divided nation, a Navy veteran, he ended the military draft, ended the Viet Nam war, but Watergate was his downfall, which led to him being the first president ever to resign in office.

Next, Republican Gerald R. Ford, born in Nebraska, raised in Michigan, an Episcopalian, Yale graduate, a Navy veteran, was dealt a hand of inflation, depressed economy, and energy shortages.

Democrat James E. “Jimmy” Carter, a Southern Baptist, Navy veteran, born in Georgia, took office during the era of rising energy costs and growing inflation. Carter decreased the national debt, eight million jobs were created during his term; he created the Department of Education, bolstered the social security system, and expanded the national park system.

Republican Ronald W. Reagan was the 40th president, born in Illinois, a conservative, of the Disciples of Christ Church. His strengthening of defense forces led to a large national deficit, increasing defense spending by 35%.

Another Republican president from Massachusetts followed, George H. W. Bush, an Episcopalian, Yale graduate, Navy veteran, who came in during a changing world (ie, end of the Cold War, fall of Communism, fall of the Berlin Wall), and garnered high deficit spending, during a faltering economy.

Democrat William J. Clinton, a Baptist, Yale graduate, born in Arkansas was the 42nd president. During the eight years of his administration, America enjoyed more peace and economic well-being than any time in history. His term included the lowest unemployment and lowest inflation in 30 years. He reduced the welfare rolls, his time had the highest homeownership. Clinton upgraded the educational system, restricted handgun sales, and strengthened environmental rules. During the Clinton administration, it was the first time in 12 years that the White House and the Congressional majority were from the same party. Clinton was the second president to be impeached by the House, but he was cleared by the Senate, and enjoyed very popular approval ratings, and was popular in foreign relations.

The next president was Republican George W. Bush, a Methodist, born in Connecticut, a Yale graduate, a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard, received a Masters from Harvard Business School, passed a prescription drug benefit for Medicare, passed improvements for air quality, made ocean resources for environmental protection available, doubled support for veterans, and expanded the NATO alliance. After 9/11, he formed the Department of Homeland Security, and initiated the Iraq/Afghan war, based on false intelligence information, that lasted for many years and cost the country billions, raising our national debt by trillions. He wanted to save us from tyranny, but put us into two wars that bankrupted this country.

It sounds like we (the people) are searching for something else – due to radical shifts in power every two to four years. We are losing our values, have too much materialistic indulgence, and our government has become wicked and corrupt.

We look to billionaires to save us (to create jobs) when all they do is go for personal objects for happiness and fulfillment (fancy cars, mansions, jewelry) and try to buy politicians with their wealth. We have a “crisis of values” in this country. All humans are equal in life, of infinite value, and matter more than material objects. The suggestion to “invest in people” is the correct idea, because people are the nation’s best asset. One good deed can change a small part of the world.

One thought on “Past History – Present Reality”

  1. Good post, Gail. I can relate to all of it. When I was born, Give ’em Hell, Harry Truman was still in office. I can remember the “I Like Ike” buttons from Eisenhower’s 2nd term run. But the President that really stands out in my mind is JFK. I was in the 5th grade and remember seeing pictures of JFK and Nixon in school. Just going on looks alone, I liked JFK better than Nixon. He had honest eyes, and Nixon had cold eyes.

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