It’s strange what sorts of things get my attention and stay in my memory sometimes. Years ago, when President Jimmy Carter invited the leaders of Israel and Egypt for peace talks, he allowed himself to be recorded by the media asking them the following question: “Do you need to use the bathroom before we start?” Maybe he said restroom or toilet. But it was that question.
It just struck me as funny that no matter how famous and how powerful you are, your biological needs don’t just magically go away. It is reported that Lyndon Johnson used to embarrass people while talking to them from his private loo while relieving himself.
So how do mortal human beings reach the stage where other mortal human beings elevate them to pseudo-deity status? How do fallible people cause their gullible subjects to think they are some kind of super beings beyond reproach?
If you’re a supermarket clerk in Podunk, Iowa, or you work on an assembly line in Detroit, just to support your family, perhaps you spend your free time coaching after-school sports, attending church regularly and being a respected community member. You live your life and mind your own business, believing in the principle of live and let live.
When you die, the preacher will deliver your eulogy reminding everyone that you were an upstanding citizen. Your family and friends left behind will sincerely mourn your passing.
But if the progressives are wrong about the coming Earth meltdown, then 100 years from now a generation will have arisen that never knew you existed. Your great-grandkids will probably have heard your name but that’s about the extent of it.
ABOVE & BEYOND
So what is it about certain individuals that causes them to stand out when world history books are written? Whether you were a hero like Churchill or a villain like Hitler, your name will be one of the few that stands out from the rest.
Perhaps some believe in predestination that some folks are just intended to be recognized and remembered and most of the masses of humanity are not. Despite the current psychosis of subjective reality, when and where you were born, of which of the two genders, of what social status are significant factors.
In today’s world of advanced technology and global communication, one has a greater chance of transcending one’s immediate environment which he or she was born into. Had you come into this world centuries earlier perhaps on a small island in a vast ocean somewhere or in the midst of the sub-Saharan Sahel or as a child born into a nomadic family of Visigoths, your days on this planet would have come and gone without notice beyond your immediate surroundings.
But let’s just focus on people alive today. Perhaps at some point we could look at how out of a population of a billion and a half in China, Xi Jinping has grabbed such an immense power and control over so many lives.
But right now, I’d rather just think about our leaders here in the United States. Frankly, future generations will remember very, very few people governing our country today. Just by the nature of the position, the president will be one of them.
But do you really know anything about President James Buchanan or President Warren G. Harding? James Knox Polk perhaps or maybe Chester Arthur? You don’t have to answer that out loud.
This country will remember George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Somehow they stood out amongst their peers. Each was instrumental in events that changed the course of world history.
Somehow, we do forget though that they were still mortal human beings. The general who led the British colonies to become the United States of America through the Revolutionary War and went on to became our first president, was only 67 years old when he passed away.
THE POINT IS
What I’m getting at is that the principle that most of this will not matter 100 years from now should guide our politicians in their every day interactions with one another. Back when I was still watching television, one of the best dramas was The West Wing which portrayed the everyday pettiness of those who work in the White House for the most powerful man in the country.
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when John Bolton was admonishing Donald Trump not to host Taliban terrorists at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 and getting fired for his efforts. The human temperaments and personality clash must have been quite dramatic.
After a long career in public service and dealing with international counterparts extensively, I can sense some of the tension of that encounter. If your biggest decision today was how many Bud Lights to have while watching Monday Night Football, that momentous discussion may not even have crossed your mind.
I’m not really aiming at a political objective here. I’m not trying to demonstrate how one political theory is superior to another. Rather, just trying to point out that it is just fallible human beings like you and me, who sometimes have to take a break to go pee, who are making decisions that will impact all of us for a long time to come.
JUST MERE HUMANS
I’m sure in the prestigious White House bedroom, Donald Trump still has to put his pants on one leg at a time. He probably wakes Melania up while he’s lying in bed for his nightly tweetstorm.
Just understand that our leaders sometimes do good and sometimes do bad. No one is perfect. Try as they may, human emotions sometimes get in the way and preclude clear-headed decision-making.
I believe Donald Trump loves this country sincerely. But he needs to put a lot more of the office into himself and less of himself into the office he holds. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Kennedy and Reagan all managed to do that successfully. If Mr. Trump wants his legacy to rival theirs, he must do so also.
As for AOC and Nancy, neither will be more than a brief footnote in history books. All they’re doing now is trying to earn that asterisk by their names. I’m old enough to remember Sam Ervin and Daniel Inouye in the Watergate hearings but their roles will fade into history.
None of us is above the call of nature. More importantly, none of us will be here 100 years from now for a retrospective on who was right and who was wrong.
That’s why we need to concentrate on that which transcends partisan politics. Perhaps in the year 2120, a student doing her doctoral thesis at the prestigious School of Universal Knowledge will scavenge through the rubble of pre-cataclysmic Washington DC to piece together and assemble the lessons learned from the impeachment of Donald Trump. It will be written in Chinese.
We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.
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