January 20 is my birthday and every four years beginning with the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945 for his 4th term, I’ve received the gift of a new president, or the continuation of the same.
I’ve handled most transitions without much gnashing of teeth, although I suspect I may have been putting up a fuss on that first transition.
But there have been a few that have raised my angst and blood pressure, and a few that have lowered that pressure along with a sigh of relief. Let me recap a few of those transitional birthday presents.
Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan —
Going into the Carter years, I was disappointed that Gerald Ford was not re-elected, I felt he was a good man – qualified, experienced and honest. But I rolled with the punch and entered into the term of the man from Plains with not much of a rise in angst or blood pressure. .
As the Carter term unfolded we experienced what I believe was the worst economic mess since the Great Depression. Far worse than the 2008 melt down, with double digit interest rates, inflation rates and high unemployment rate.
Along side all of this was a serious hollowing out of the military – I remember those Navy fighter squadrons hobbled due to the lack of spare parts.
So my angst and blood pressure rose and I looked forward to the next transition.
Along the way during those years was Ronald Reagan. The “Gipper” was on the radio daily in those days with short punchy commentaries that caught my attention, and when he ran against Carter I was delighted and my angst and blood pressure receded – and I was not in the least disappointed by his presidency.
George H. W. Bush (Bush 41) to Bill Clinton
I liked Bush a lot and was disappointed that he was not reelected. As with Ford, I felt Bush was a good man – qualified, experienced and honest. But I rolled with the punch and entered into the term of the man from Hope with not much of a rise in angst or blood pressure.
Clinton, along with a Republican Congress was able to sustain the good economy of the Reagan/Bush years which was a good thing, and much to his credit. But his sexual behavior, and exploitation of his high position to seduce multiple young women, even in the White House, resulted in much scandal and an impeachment by the House of Representatives.
This caused a considerable rise in my angst and blood pressure, and once more I looked forward to the upcoming transition.
Bill Clinton to George W. Bush.
I remember breathing a sigh of relief at the election of George W. Bush, and the prospect once more, of having a President I could respect. A good and honest man and a man of integrity.
I believed at the time, and still believe, that Bush 43 was the right man at the right time following the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Bush 43 was largely untainted by scandal, unlike his predecessor Clinton, and his successor Obama and Obama’s likely successor Hillary Clinton. The scandal laid at the feet of George Bush was that “Bush lied – babies died” pushing us into the war with Iraq. This in itself was a lie. There was near unanimous agreement among the world’s intelligence communities that Hussein’s Iraq had and was developing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). And there was a strong and vocal consensus within the US Congress that Saddam’s Iraq was a gathering threat and needed to be stopped.
So with the approval of the US Congress, and with many UN resolutions to back it, the US and its many allies moved against Iraq with the invasion of 2003. The invasion was successful, with Hussein and his Ba’ath party removed from power.
But when the post invasion success met with problems in the post- war occupation, many of the very politicians that so strongly supported President Bush turned on him and began a vicious campaign against him and Vice President Cheney.
In retrospect, I see two key quotes that capture this demonization and the lust for power among the Bush opponents. The first being “Never let a serious crisis go to waste” offered up by Rohm Emmanuel, Obama’s 1’st Chief of Staff. The serious crisis was the 9/11 Islamic terror attack, after which these Bush opponents laid in wait for the opportune time to unleash the attacks so as not to “ … not let the serious crisis go to waste.”
The second quote is from Barack Obama when he boasted “We are 5 days from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.“
So this demonization, although occurring during the Bush 43 years, caused a rise in angst and blood pressure – brought on primarily by the demonizors — the Democrat Party.
George W. Bush to Barack Obama
My angst and high blood pressure continued pretty much throughout the Obama years. I’ve written extensively on this blog and trying to review here would be counterproductive so I invite you to do your own homework, but let me leave you with two large issues causing my angst;
(1) the middle-east is awash in war, and the rise of Islam threatens many, especially Israel. Obama has essentially green-lighted Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons with the express and oft stated goal of the extermination of Israel and the Jews. Under Barack Obama, America has become an enemy of Israel and has appeared to fulfill the prophesy of Zechariah 12:
A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel.
The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’
“On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.
“The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.
Mourning for the One They Pierced
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, and all the rest of the clans and their wives.
(2) Obama has accelerated the downward slide of American culture by sewing seeds of gender and sexual confusion, especially among the young and impressionable. The federal government requiring by force of law (ACA) and regulation that young girls share locker rooms and restrooms with boys and men is personal and national tragedy in the making.
In my reading of the past 8 years, Barack Obama has fulfilled his goal of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.“ And it has been a destructive transformation; politically, culturally and on the international scene.
Barack Obama to Donald Trump
“ … This peaceful transfer of power is miraculous and taps our better angels through a ceremonial picture of unity broadcast to the world. That is why I love the inauguration. And the inauguration is why I love the United States of America. … “
It’s been a tough campaign these past two years for many of us, with much angst on my part. Not that many weeks prior to the election I was saying “we are scraping the bottom of the barrel with these two candidates.” But when I put Trump aside and took a good look at the corrupting rot of a Hillary Clinton, and a national future of such rot, my choice for Trump was easy, and when he won, though a surprise, I was pleased.
Trump’s selection of the people around him has been impressive, and I feel comfortable in going forward with this team – so my angst and blood pressure are lowered.
Trump has also gathered around himself a number of Christian pastors and a few Jewish rabbis. I heard today from one of the commentators that Trump likes having them around, and actually listens to them.
So that’s my Birthday message.
Don Johnson – January 2017