Make Room Mt. Rushmore?

by Bob Sparrow

rushmore

“My lips are sealed”

This week we will, or already have, decided who will be our next president, or perhaps more accurately, decided who we want to keep from being our next president. In a desperate move to help us all to feel better about our new president-elect, I thought I would look at the ‘character’ of some of our past presidents, who had the huge advantage of not living in this era of ‘social media’ where everyone carries a camera and bad news travels at the warp speed of the Internet.

  • As it turns out our founding fathers weren’t without their flaws, both Washington and Jefferson owned slaves, in fact Jefferson was more than a groper, he fathered six children with slave, Sally Hemings – that would have been a little difficult to keep off the TMZ network today!
  • Lincoln, who is often revered as our best president, seemed to think of himself above the law as he single-handedly suspended habeas corpus (the principle that someone under arrest can’t be held for long without being brought before a judge), shut down opposition newspapers and jailed their editors, conspired to establish a
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    Teddy the Elephant Killer

    military government in Washington DC and used military force to keep the Maryland legislature from meeting so that it couldn’t vote on secession.  I suspect that WikiLeaks would have had a field day with old ‘Honest Abe’.

  • Teddy Roosevelt’s lust was of a different sort, he lusted for war. His imperialism and racism can be summed up with the following quote from him, “All the great masterful races have been fighting races,” he claimed. To fellow Anglo-Saxons, he said, “It is wholly impossible to avoid conflicts with the weaker races,” and added, “The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages.” I’m guessing that Hitler was a big fan of Teddy.

OK, that takes care of Mt. Rushmore, but there is plenty more . . .

  • Benjamin Franklin was careless with secretive documents that ended up in the hands of the enemy – a British
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    Lying Franklin

    secret agent. But he swore that those documents only contained information about how he was going to fly a kite to invent electricity and Chelsea’s wedding.

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt was known to lie a lot (What? A politician lying!!!) He was in terrible health, which he kept from the public, he was said to have liked Stalin too much and he had Soviet spies in his cabinet and didn’t really care, family members enriched themselves by his being in office, the New Deal actually slowed the recovery from the Great Depression and, among other things, he was accused of trying to seize control of the Supreme Court. Gosh, he could easily get elected today!
  • The list of sleazy presidents is too long for this blog, but here’s a few of the all-stars:
    • John Tyler – fathered 15 children with two different wives and had several more with his slaves; in November 1836 he became the Whig’s party president ‘erect’.
    • Andrew Jackson invited prostitutes to the White House Christmas party – I’m sure he just wanted to make sure that there were plenty of Ho Ho Hos to go around!
    • clintonlewinski

      Bill & Monica

      While Jack Kennedy and Bill Clinton are considered modern history’s best-know presidential horn-dogs, Lyndon Johnson,  who called his naughty bits ‘Jumbo’, was worse than either of them.  Both Grover Cleveland and Warren Harding were also known to have a number of dalliances while in the ‘oval orifice’.

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      Marilyn & Jack

    • It is well known that FDR and Eisenhower (at least while a general in the army if not while president) had mistresses while serving in ‘pubic’ life.

There’s more, lots more, but I think you get the point. So while you may think that we’ve reached new lows with this year’s two candidates, it’s actually just politics as usual, so we’ll be just fine. There now, don’t you feel better? Yeah, me neither!

Even if this didn’t make you feel better, why not SHARE it, maybe it will help a friend with pre or post-election blues.

When Did ‘Independence Day’ Become the ‘4th of July’?

by Bob Sparrow

Founding

Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin

Ahhh, the 4th of July – warm weather, baseball games, parades, old glory flying, fireworks, barbecues and beer. Who doesn’t love that? The neighborhood I live in has made this day a very special one from the time our kids were very small. We’ve had parades where the kids decorated their bikes in red, white and blue streamers. We’d go to the local school grounds and taught the kids to play softball until the year that they taught us. We’d play horseshoes and go swimming. We’d barbecue burgers and hot dogs, have a few cold beers (not the kids!) and when it got dark we launched some fireworks.

We thought it was the perfect 4th of July, and it probably was, but it wasn’t the perfect ‘Independence Day’. Nary a word was spoken about the courage of George Washington, the eloquent writing of Thomas Jefferson, the legal leadership of John Adams, or the many talents of Benjamin Franklin. And with all the media we’re surrounded with today, I’m betting that you don’t hear much about these heroes this week as we prepare for what is suppose to be a celebration of what these, and many other courageous men and women, did to create this incredible country.

It’s curious how we’ve personified virtually every other holiday we celebrate with characters, from Father Time to Santa Claus, but we’ve actually taken the Independence‘characters’, our Founding Fathers, out of our Independence Day celebration and relegated it to just a date.  It would be like instead of calling it Christmas, we’d just call it ’25th of December’, or instead of Easter we’d call it the ‘first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox’; OK, maybe we’d keep that one as Easter.  Independence Day is many American’s favorite holiday, but it’s because of the aforementioned activities not because we spend much time recalling and recognizing the deeds of the truly amazing people who founded this nation.

I suspect part of the reason for our lack enthusiasm over celebrating as the victors of the Revolutionary War, is that we don’t see England as our enemy anymore. In fact, they are, arguably, our strongest ally, but back in the day, they were not so very nice to us and they were particularly pissed when we told them to take their taxes and tea bags and put them where the sun don’t shine.

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King George III

King George III, king of England at the time of our revolution, was a particularly annoying bastard – you can read some of our grievances with him in the actual Declaration of Independence, which, by the way can be printed on two typewritten pages – sans signatures. Maybe this year, you could print it out and read it during the barbecue, preferably before ‘beer thirty’. You might also mention that our Founding Father’s were not only courageous, but were very intelligent and interesting people. To wit:

–       George Washington, who is the only US president never to run for president, was elected twice by a unanimous decision of the Electoral College (He got every vote!) – popular vote was not used in those days. As president, he refused to be paid. But, he was also the richest president in history, with total assets in excess of $500 million in today’s dollars.

–       Thomas Jefferson publicly opposed slavery, even though he owned slaves his entire adult life and had 5 children with his slave, Sally Hemings.

–       John Adams died on the same day as his rival Thomas Jefferson on July 4th, 1826, the 50thanniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

–       The multi-talented Benjamin Franklin could speak 6 languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Latin . . . and English

–       Our first secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton was shot and mortally wounded by Vice President Aaron Burr in one of the most famous duels in American history.

–       Patrick Henry, an attorney, had many people who had nothing to do with a case visit his court hearings just to hear him speak; he was that good of a public speaker.

–       Benedict Arnold, the famous traitor, was a General in both the American and British armies – some say at the same time.

I hope you all have a great 4th of July, but I also hope that you also make it a great ‘Independence Day’ and remember those who, nearly 240 years ago, gave us the freedoms that we so enjoy to this day.