Both Old and New Testaments begin with boring lists of who begat whom, without lascivious details or revealing selfies. So in this season of seemingly less Joy to the World, may I borrow holy template to offer some conceptual mapping from Over There left overs to O. K. Corral do over?
Denying the possibility that we were not invincible after all, an overwhelmed President Hoover and defeated Happy Warrior couldn’t spare us October 29, 1929, nor its offspring: The Great Depression.
We needed a half-full glass mind-set, a broad smile and cigarette tipped heavenward for Happy Days Are Here Again.
For twelve years, Franklin Delano Roosevelt resuscitated America with alphabet agencies defying fear, even as the Greatest Generation went down to the sea in ships on a date which will live in infamy.
Left behind to finish, Missouri’s Harry Truman harvested Einstein’s Atomic Age and The Korean Conflict – bequeathing the police action to WWII Supreme Commander Ike, to divide to conquer, as Commander-in-Chief, Dwight D. Eisenhower
Heart attacks behind him, Eisenhower hoisted Cold War and Nikita Khrushchev on younger shoulders: PT-Boat 109 Kennedy.
Gunned down after a thousand days, JFK’s legacy: The Peace Corps, an isolated Cuba in a world saved from nuclear destruction — and a Texan named Lyndon.
Creating Gulf of Tonkin fantasy, LBJ left behind a wall of Vietnam dead, a wounded America and John Kennedy’s Civil Rights Act for Nixon’s last stand.
More than the first, gate, Nixon left behind an unintentionally united Vietnam and intentional eighteen-minute gap in history — but for the careening Ford — an institutionalized neoconservative closed group of radical zealots.
Neither VP nor POTUS elected, Gerald Ford, left behind Nixon pardoned, and the link of Dulles brothers to Fritz Kraemer and Bush/Cheney.
Inheriting the malaise of elitists John Foster & brother Allen, the Nixon hit list and a stumbling Ex-Warren Commission member too cowardly to speak assassination truth to CIA power until death did us part — Write It When I’m Gone — Jimmy Carter, nonetheless left behind Camp David Middle East Peace Accords between Menachem Begin and Anwar El Sadat – and in the sands of time, a failed attempt to rescue American hostages from Iran.
On January 20, 1981, “Ronnie” acquired Iran’s 444 days of Americans held hostage. Tricking American voters, he cast himself as the hero riding in to save the day, just moments after ascending to 40th president.
Echoing the morals of a Nixon, Reagan left behind most Americans.
Advancing precedent setting Grenada, for pre-emptive nation invasions, President Reagan, after Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall, grandstanding on the back of a pope, left behind our 99% waiting for something to Trickledown – meanwhile, mistakes were made.
CIA tainted by the blood of Dallas, read my lips George H. W. Bush presuming a twice elected Reagan rerun, checked his watch once too often and retired to jumping out of planes, leaving behind a stabilized Iraq in the hands of Saddam Husain villainy, until relative neo-con punched his ticket.
William Jefferson Clinton was a shock and awe interruption for those determined to loop an everlasting Cold War winning refrain of, The Forty Years War.
Aided and abetted by the hypocrisy of House Speaker Newt Gingrich, zealot Ken Starr, Speaker to Felon Dennis Hastert, a dash of opportunism Henry Hyde and finger wagging oral in the Oval, Bill Clinton managed to leave behind the possibility of finally ending WWI imperial ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo, but no Glass-Steagall.
Like JFK before him, wild Bill left America with a thriving economic surplus solidly in the black – which fatefully deposited us into the agenda of Ralph Nader and Mission Accomplished burning bush.
George W. Bush, did his best at leaving all of us his worst: the Mushroom Cloud Gang, including in no particular order, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Gonzales, Yoo etc; perpetual war, death & destruction, ISIS, and, released from the shadows, America’s pre-Trump Dark Side: Neo-Conservatism.
No matter what holiday we celebrate, for our Happy New Year: understanding that there are always connecting dots that dissolve the greatest lies we tell ourselves. — truth sets us free from denial, so knowledge can flourish, and with knowledge, wisdom is empowered to evaporate hateful discrimination.
Not pageantry nor flag waving, but reason and love parent World Peace as does admitting and correcting our past mistakes.