The Presidency; home alone

Scott is back with more questions: In the first one hundred years of the US, which president do you find the most fascinating?

Who do you find the most fascinating US president after those first one hundred years?

It occurred to me that, depending on how you measure the first 100 years, one could put Grover Cleveland in both chronological camps, since the first President under the current Constitution was elected in 1789, and Cleveland’s terms were 1885-1889 and 1893-1897. Not that I would, but I COULD.

There are a number of early Presidents who I find fascinating: Jefferson, Madison, JQ Adams, Jackson (for the wrong reasons), but primarily for their service before (or in Adams’ case, after) the Presidency. It’s hard to argue with choices such as Washington or Lincoln.

Still, I’ll pick Chester A. Arthur, the 21st President (pictured), who became President upon the death of the assassinated James Garfield in 1881. He was a real patronage guy earlier, but when he moved into the Oval Office, he became a reformer. From “Publisher Alexander K. McClure recalled, ‘No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted, and no one ever retired … more generally respected.'” He was an upstate New Yorker, BTW, though born in Vermont. He died only a couple years after his term ended.

More recently, it’s probably Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th President, who succeeded the assassinated John Kennedy in 1963. The Texan was SO right on many civil rights issues. Of course, he was SO wrong on Vietnam, and his expansion of the war cost too many lives. He suspected that Nixon was interfering with the peace talks in 1968, yet did not want to weaken the Presidency and kept his own counsel.
Jaquandor is back:

You are alone for an entire day, as in, your family has to go somewhere and you’re on your own. And it’s your day off. What do you do, and what do you eat?

I alternate: I read newspapers, work on the computer, clean (vacuum and/or wash dishes), watch TV while riding the stationary bike. I’m always listening to music, except when the television’s on.

I’ll make some elaborate omelet, made with whatever I can find in the refrigerator, for breakfast; if I haven’t had any lately, buy Indian takeout for lunch; scour for leftovers – it might be the Indian food again – for dinner.

There are lots of ‘black’ stereotypes. Which one or ones irritate you the most?

It’s what black people are supposed to sound like. My father was very fussy about his children not speaking with street lingo, but rather with standard English. So people have said that I don’t “sound” black. Well, I AM black, and this is what I sound like; ipso facto, I sound black, Jack.

You asked this of me, so I’m turning it back: Are we really in a ‘post-racial’ society, and if not, how attainable IS such a thing?

Oh, goodness, no. In some ways, the myth that the Obama election meant that we as a nation is beyond race, has temporarily slowed progress. The narrative is belied by any number of bits from the last thing I wrote in answer to a question of yours.

Racism, and homophobia, and a lot of bigotry become mitigated only by knowing people who are not like yourself. It gets chipped away a little at a time, like the sea gradually wearing down a sand castle on the beach. It doesn’t go away at once; sometimes, things get worse before they get better. Maybe in another 50 years?

Are there any countries you think you’d like to visit if not for the fact that you’re pretty sure you wouldn’t find anything you liked eating there?

Garrison Keillor has made me nervous about Scandinavia; all that talk about lutefisk, which I had once and found to be awful.
I decided that I wouldn’t back any more Kickstarter items for a while. Then Elaine Lee and Michael William Kaluta, who had had an unjust run-in with Disney/Marvel not long ago over their creation, Starstruck, are putting out a new Starstruck item. OK, after that one, NO MORE Kickstarter for a while.
Jane Henson 1934-2013, widow of Jim, and a force in her own right.

4 thoughts on “The Presidency; home alone”

  1. Thanks for the answer, Roger. Your comments about Chester A. Arthur make me want to read more about him.

    I also liked your answer for the racial stereotype question. Not only how you finished it (proving that you DO in fact have a good sense of humor), but that one bothers me, too.


  2. Roger, I’ll pick a couple for comment. First, I admire what you said about Lyndon Johnson. He used the fact that he was a bully in the Senate to insist on civil rights reforms; yet, you also brought up Vietnam, which he miscalculated… yet GWB didn’t learn.

    Also the question about “black speak,” or whatever. A Black co-Kellogg Fellow, who had a PhD, said flatly, “I hate it when white people say ‘yo.'” She went on to complain about “white” (beige) people in general. I called her on it; said I was glad all our kids were sharing the same slang, as long as it was not swearing, and that, like all kids of color, all light kids are not the same.

    Big argument ensued: She said I was being a racist (her patent comeback for almost everything), because (and this is true) racism is about power. I countered with this: “If we lined up everyone in this room” (which we did) :by level of education, you’d be in for a surprise.” At the low end of the scale, myself (HS only) and one white girl who got knocked up and finally got her GED. Guess who was at the very top? The woman who bitched.

    I said, “We have to get away from this ‘articulate is a dirty word’ mindset and embrace the fact that we are all human.” She called me a little white girl from the burbs! Some folks simply don’t get it. I never assume anyone’s race, blog or whatever. The first thing I notice about a stranger is their VIBE… hostile or welcoming. Thanks for listening, AMy


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