“If the President does it, that means it’s not illegal”–Richard Millhouse Nixon
I’ve been accused of being many, many things. Most of them are probably accurate. Most of them don’t really bother me. Think what you want, I guess, but I am what I am.
One of the things I’ve been accused of, though, does actually bother me a bit. There is this notion that I am somehow un-American, or anti-American, or against America.
A guy at work once told me there were plenty of other places in the world I could live because I told him I didn’t like the song “God Bless America” and that children should not be required to pledge allegiance to the flag, certainly not if they are pledging to a god.
I know, I’m a terrible person.
None other than my daughter once asked me why it sometimes sounded like I did not like America because of some of the things I say. We talk about a lot of things, my daughter and I, and her question led to a sit down conversation/lecture that I hope she remembers and thinks about when she’s older and can vote and fully participate in this thing we are calling a democracy.
But of the many things I many be, I feel that un-American is not one of them. Quite the opposite. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only American. See, I’m a goddamn Patriot. I’m a Super Patriot. I should wear a cape and a uniform with a big ‘ol ‘SP‘ on the front. I could zip around in my Patriot mobile, explaining to all what it is to be American and why the idea of America is a great thing.
Let me say that I do not claim to be a historian. I’ve learned some things and know some things. There are way more things that I don’t know, however, and they have this thing now called the internet. You can go on this internet and type in few words and learn about anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to learn about, so you don’t have to take my word for it.
What a country!
You probably shouldn’t take my word for much of anything, and if you do that’s your problem.
See, I’m a Patriot because I believe in the United States Constitution. It has it’s flaws, the primary one being that it did not end the enslavement of Americans of African heritage immediately upon it’s ratification.
But it does allow for it’s amendment, and the amending of amendments, and so on. It’s flaws can and have been corrected. And we all or most of us have to agree on it before we change it.
The best part of the US Constitution is right there in the beginning. The first three words. We the People. The last word is pretty inclusive. It says people and does not discriminate based on anything. People, not men or women or a certain man of a certain heritage or ethnic descent. Just We and People. All of us.
The US Constitution is an awesome document. Those old dudes we all read and learned about wrote it and put it out there. It was ratified on June 21st, 1788. On March 4th, 1789, the government that we know up to this present day began operating under this Constitution.
Then the dudes who wrote it and the dudes that ok’d it began to crap on it almost immediately. Do as I say, not as I do I guess.
So tomorrow the excruciatingly long process of electing the next president of these United States begins. It feels like we should be near the end, doesn’t it? Don’t you already have election fatigue, with the cast of characters and how they have dominated all the media we consume? But no, it’s just begun. They are having the caucus in the state of Iowa tomorrow. I’ll admit I’m not exactly sure what a caucus is. I feel like I may have known at some point but I’m not sure of that. I know I can look it up on the previously mentioned internet, but I prefer to let this magical caucus exist for the one day it does. On Tuesday then, ‘poof’, it will be gone, and no one will utter the words ‘Iowa’ and ‘Caucus’ again for four more years. We’ll have those primary elections soon and those seem a little more straightforward than a caucus.
I do wonder, though, if any other of these preliminary elections are also caucuses. If so, how many other caucuses are there? I also wonder if ‘caucuses’ is the correct plural to ‘caucus’? I feel like it should be ‘cauci’ but know it probably isn’t. I really want it to be. Either way, they are all funny sounding. You could say them over and over in any order. You could say them faster and louder and I bet it would eventually sound like nonsense. It may sound like some kind of huge bird or something. Maybe I’ll use it as the call to action of the Super Patriot.
Cauci, Cauci, Caucuses, Caucuses!
Presidential elections, though. Presidents are only 1/3rd of the federal government. And yet we put so much more importance on this branch than the other two. I get it. It’s easier to focus on one person than all the others that make up the government. And it seems natural that the President is the face and spokesperson of the country. But they are not kings (or queens, if that ever happens.) They should not be put up on a pedestal. They are not above the other branches or above anything else, especially the US Constitution. Listen, the Presidents are not the cause of all your problems. They are not the solution to all of your problems, either.
They are people. They are human people. They’re not necessarily or inherently better or worse than you.
Presidents do and have done some good stuff.
Presidents do and have done some bad stuff as well. Sometimes the bad stuff is really bad. Sometimes the bad stuff is illegal. Sometimes that bad stuff is unconstitutional. Sometimes not.
If you took some of the bad stuff some of the Presidents have done and changed or omitted their name you would be shocked that the bad stuff was ever allowed. Then when the names are put back on you see their names and faces on money and buildings and monuments or whatever.
You have opinions and so do I. My opinion is that to be a President you are kind of an asshole. Maybe you did not start out as an asshole, but you certainly became one. If a President is not compromised beforehand they are certainly compromised by the end of their term or terms.
I’ve come to realize that I don’t really like any of the Presidents. I vote for the person who I think is most closely aligned with what I think and with what I believe.
When I vote, though, I’m pretty ambivalent about my choice.
I always have mixed emotions. That’s the best way I can put it.
President’s have always been assholes. Some have been less assholey than others. I do imagine that it must be an almost impossibly hard job to do. I’m not sure I could go to work everyday knowing at least 50% of the people there did not like me and did not think I was doing a good job and said really shitty things about me all the time (some people say shitty things about me at work but not all the time.)
So I’m ambivalent about the Presidents. Some more than others. I guess it’s degrees of ambivalence for me.
If you’ve been keeping up so far you may know I like lists and rankings and stuff. The best I can do is rank the President’s we’ve had based upon my degree of ambivalence toward them. I’m going to rank them from most ambivalent to least. If I feel less ambivalent, though, may not necessarily mean I am any closer to liking said President. It may just confirm how much of an asshole I think they really are.
There have been 44 Presidents. 43 men have taken the oath of office. President Grover Cleveland was elected twice but his terms were not consecutive so they count him twice.
Some of the Presidents I hardly know and neither do you. That doesn’t mean they didn’t do any good or bad stuff. It just means that they didn’t do enough stuff for me to list. I’m not writing a term paper or anything so I can do whatever I want with my list. Here are President’s I’m not including:
- Herbert Hoover (Hoover Dam’s really big though)
- Calvin Coolidge
- Chester A. Arthur
- James Garfield
- James Buchanan
- William Henry Harrison
- Martin Van Buren
- James Monroe
- James Madison (wasn’t his wife Dolly Madison? Did she make desserts or cakes or something?)
- Gerald Ford (fell down a lot)
- Warren G. Harding
- William McKinley
- Benjamin Harrison
- James K. Polk
- Rutherford B. Hayes
- Zachary Taylor
- John Quincy Adams(when I was young our house was on the corner of Taylor and Adams)
- Franklin Pierce
- Grover Cleveland x2
- John Tyler
- Ulysses S. Grant
So there’s 21 of them, in no particular order.
President’s 1-15 did not free enslaved African people or enslaved Americans of African descent. “We the People,” indeed.
President’s 1-26 did were elected before women had the right to vote. “We the…some of the People?”
President’s 17-34 did not do much or enough to enforce the constitutional rights of American’s descendants from Africa, among others.
Here are the other 21 President’s ranked in order of my feelings of ambivalence toward them, from most to least:
- George Washington. Father of the country and all. See President’s 1-15. Also, did not have wooden teeth and probably did not chop down a cherry tree.
- Thomas Jefferson. Declaration of Independence. Wrote a lot of good words. Did not follow all of them. See President’s 1-15.
- William J. Clinton. Still super popular. Impeached. Not for the stuff he did but for the lying. I’m not sure a President should be impeached for cheating on his wife. But if he had just admitted it the whole thing may not have dragged on forever. Also, kind of icky and possibly predatory toward women. He really hasn’t been called out enough for it. Can you imagine if a Republican president was ever as handsy and touchy as Clinton was? He would not be as popular in the media as Clinton continues to be, I can tell you that.
- John F. Kennedy. Talk about hero worship. President for two years? Said a lot of good stuff. Almost got us all nuked. Again, tapped anything he could get his hands on.
- Barack Obama. Lots of good social stuff. Continues blowing up innocent people around the world. Continues to ignore the unconstitutionality of the Patriot Act, or whatever is left of it.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower. So at least he warned us about the military industrial complex. And we ignored him and have been at war ever since. Companies that produce weapons and other stuff make a lot of money. Also, really got the ball rolling in the Middle East by overthrowing a democratically elected government in Iran. Something about oil.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He’s always ranked really high on lists of best President’s. Depression, WWII and all that stuff. Also, pulled American citizens out of their homes and put them in camps during World War II because they looked a certain way and/or were descended from countries we were at war with. SO glad we don’t really think like that anymore…Eleanor would have been a better president.
- Lyndon B. Johnson. A lot of Civil Rights legislation was signed by Johnson. Also, Vietnam.
- Theodore Roosevelt. Imperialist du jour.
- Abraham Lincoln. Probably the best one, right? Suspended writ of habeas corpus. There is allowances for it in the Constitution but not sure it was his to suspend and/or if he applied it correctly. Wouldn’t have freed the slaves if the Union could have been preserved without doing so. He did free them, though, so there’s that.
- Harry S. Truman. You know that these United States is the only country to have used a nuclear weapon, right?
- George H.W Bush. You should really read about the Bush family history sometime. Prescott Bush was a fascist. For real. Also, George H.W. Bush still does not remember where he was when JFK was killed.
- Richard M. Nixon. Watergate was probably just the tip.
- John Adams. Alien and Sedition Act. You can argue the Alien part, I suppose, but the Sedition part. Couldn’t criticize the government. 2nd President. So, we had one President and then the second one threw people into jail for exercising their 1st amendment rights.
- Woodrow Wilson. Listen, SUPER racist.
- Ronald Reagan. Either really clueless and honestly didn’t know anything, which I don’t think makes a good President or knew everything and subverted Congress and the constitution at every turn…plus really could not have cared less about AIDS and people dying of AIDS.
- Andrew Johnson. Impeached but not removed from office. If Lincoln had lived, or at least had a different Vice-President the history of America could have been markedly different. Gave too much power back to the South too soon after the Civil War during Reconstruction. Presided over the implementation of so called ‘Black Codes’. Follow that to Jim Crow laws to the Civil Rights movement to some racial issues we still face in this country today…
- Millard Fillmore. Fugitive Slave Act. So even if you escaped a slave state and made it to a free state this Act mandated the return of the escaped slave back to his or her “owner.”
- George W. Bush. So this Middle East mess we’re in? Listen, not saying none of it was justified. Someone blew up the twin towers. It was not Iraq, though.
- James Carter. We called him “Jimmy.” Not comfortable with that. Really seems like and continues to be a decent man.
- Andrew Jackson. Not going to get into a whole thing. One word. Genocide.
I’m not sure where to put William Howard Taft. Was really big – like 300+ lbs. Don’t know a lot. Married a 21 year old when he was in office. Not sure what to make of that but feel like that would probably not fly in this day and age.
So vote or don’t. I mean, it’s America! You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, even if you should.
Whatever happens, stop saying you are going to move to another country if your guy does not win. Stay and help and make sure the bad stuff you think is going to happen does not happen.
The President’s are as full of as much shit as you and I. We should understand that about President’s, all of it, the good, the bad, the ugly.
We the People defend the Constitution. We have to, because we can’t always depend on the President’s to do it.
I feel like we shouldn’t have all these statues and monuments to these Presidential and historical people. We are keep putting their likeness and names and stuff on statues and buildings and whatever. They are important people, but not always good people. And they are just people. And while we’re at it, take them all off the money. That would be one less thing we would argue about. Maybe we should replace them with a bird. Maybe a bald eagle.
Or a Caucus bird.
Caucuses, Caucuses, Cauci, Cauci!
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