No More Roosevelts


I recently watched The Roosevelts a new documentary by Ken Burns on PBS and marveled at both the bravado of TR and the gusto of FDR in overcoming polio to obtain the Presidency. Today it’s generally recognized that the last great President who possessed that degree of magic and charm was John F. Kennedy.

Unfortunately, I was a few months old when he was assassinated and I’ve been waiting ever since to experience a president who both inspired people to action and increased the general good the way these men did. With the development of divisive partisan politics and the growth of special interests constricting politicians in favor of making corporations people there seems to be less chance each decade of residing in an inspirational presidency. So with the DNA of TR, FDR, Lincoln, and George Washington still floating around in the American gene pool why have we seen such slim pickings amongst our candidates?

My answer came in the form of a recent headline in the small town paper that informs about 100,000 people in my area. It seems a minor candidate running for County Commissioner made points after continually challenging her male counterpart to a debate he refused to participate in. Instead, he responded by investigating every moment of her time since birth revealing a crime so hideous, so possibly dastardly, it not only made the front page, it might mean the unprecedented unravelling of the cosmos and termination of life as we know it. He found that within the previous five years she had moved to a neighboring community and used her past voting station in a local election! GASP! Oh the humanity! That’s like ten times worse than Watergate and Iran-Contra combined (but still not quite as bad as Benghazi).

What it does indicate is that if you want to run for even the smallest of political offices in this country you better be prepared to endure challenges to your dating habits, the magazines you subscribe to, and the sources cited in your eighth grade science paper. In other words, have each piece of your life placed on a slide and held up to the light with only the bad parts being sent out in press releases. Would Jefferson choose to run today with photos of Sally Hemming on the cover of every newspaper or magazine? Would Abraham Lincoln show up for debates if threatened with the release of information about his sleeping habits (sometimes with men)? Would Mount Rushmore even exist today if we previously established such a standard?

Freedom of speech is the backbone of American society but if we don’t get some kind of control over this wanton investigation of every small detail of political lives future John Kennedys may stay in the army or adjunct history professors.


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