Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Little Bit of Baghdad, In Uptown

Pop. Pop. Pop. In rapid succession. Screams and squeals. People scattering in the darkness. Under normal circumstances I would have called the police, as my neighborhood can be sketchy at times. No phone call this time. Why do people think it is fun to use loud fireworks that only make gunshot sounds, nothing else? I guess it is fun to throw these fire crackers into crowds and watching people freak out and think they are going to die. That is funny. On the plus side, the smoke created by these things is wafting directly into my cement alcove in the sky. Lovely.

Supper club was last night. It was a huge turn out. I had a nice time. The food was fantastic. Pork loin and mashed potatoes -- just enough spice too. I am having a hard time mobilizing behind Obama. I have so many friends in Chicago that have been 110% behind Barack since the first indication that he might run. I am not against him, I am just struggling to move past the Hillary Clinton defeat. I know I will vote for Barack when it comes to election time. Maybe I am not ready to make a move in this respect yet.

I have been watching lots of U.S. history lately, mostly about Presidents, their decisions, their time and the outcomes. Unfortunately we as Americans remember the best presidents much more than the bad presidents. I will argue the four greatest presidents in U.S. History are (in no particular order): George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. We all can pick out half a dozen things that each of these men have done to dramatically change not only America, but the world.

What makes a bad president? Is it the choices he makes, or the choices he doesn't make? What makes any of us good or bad in eyes of our contemporaries or the history books? I think the worst presidents were mostly in the mid 1800's. The ones before the Civil War whose decisions exacerbated the growing schism between North and South, Abolitionism or Anti-Abolitionism. The ones after the Civil War, plundering the treasury, halting civil rights, pushing personal agendas during reconstruction -- perhaps these guys were worse than the pre-war folks. They were greedy opportunists.

What about modern history -- Nixon, Clinton, Bush (2)? All three were (are) liars. Clinton can easily be argued as one of the best presidents and one of the worst -- both points can be made pretty easily. I think history will show Clinton as one of the good guys and his impeachment just a footnote. George W. Bush is an anti-intellectual who is setting the American society back decades with his ill informed policies. Just think -- 8 years ago, with no war in Iraq we could have a stabilized Social Security System, a decent amount of money spent on alternative energy sources, and maybe some sort of national health care for the needy.

I realize that I am an Eleanor Roosevelt Democrat. I want universal health care, free education for veterans, excellent free education for all children, specialized training or university education for all, and excellent transportation. I wonder if Barack will be the person to turn our country into a place I am proud to live...I wonder.

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