January 20: Historic Day Over And Over Again! :)

Today is January 20, which has been Inauguration Day for the President of the United States every fourth year since 1937, due to the 20th Amendment which was added to the Constitution in 1933 in record time, after the horrors of waiting four months until March 4, 1933, to see the transition between defeated President Herbert Hoover to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the worst days of the Great Depression.

So every President since then has been inaugurated on January 20, with the exception of Harry Truman in 1945 (upon the death of FDR), Lyndon Johnson in 1963 (upon the death of John F. Kennedy), and Gerald Ford ni 1974 (upon the resignation of Richard Nixon). But Truman and Johnson were later inaugurated for a full term on January 20, with only Gerald Ford never experiencing the pomp and circumstance of Presidential Inauguration Day, as a result of his defeat for a full term of office in the 1976 Presidential Election to Jimmy Carter.

Round numbers tend to carry more weight, somehow, so today it is 50 years since John F. Kennedy took the oath and 30 years since Ronald Reagan uttered the oath.

It is also 30 years since Jimmy Carter left the White House, and 10 years since Bill Clinton left the Oval Office.

Kennedy and Reagan have become the favorite Presidents of the poorly informed general public, based on public opinion polls every year to commemorate President’s Day every February.

But it is worth some consideration to think about the contributions of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton AFTER they left the White House!

Carter has already had the second longest retirement of any President, and in mid September 2012, he will surpass Herbert Hoover as the longest retired President ever, and since he is seemingly in tip top shape physically and mentally at age 86, it seems likely he will beat the Hoover record.

Often called the best former President in American history, while far from the best President in office, Carter has stirred some outrage and animosity for some of his views and statements in the past thirty years, particularly regarding Israel and the Arabs.

But despite this, he has been engaged in many good deeds, including Habitat for Humanity and promotion of democracy and free and fair monitored elections all over the world through the Carter Center in Atlanta, and he has great acceptance as an outstanding man promoting peace and diplomacy and the fight against poverty and hunger in the world community.

His stature has risen, and he is the author of about ten books, the most prolific author ever, even surpassing Richard Nixon.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton in ten years time has pursued a similar commitment to peace, diplomacy, and the fighting of hunger and poverty through the Clinton Initiative. He has a great international image and is seen, much like Carter, as a man of wisdom and principle. He has written his memoirs and has given advice to President Obama, and has stood by very proudly as his wife has become an exceptional Secretary of State after being a Senator from New York for eight years.

Both men have their definite faults and shortcomings, as all of us do, but both have gone the extra mile and done the office of the Presidency proud, setting a distinct image and imprint on the potential of a former President to have a major impact even beyond his years in the Oval Office!

So there is a lot to celebrate on January 20 this year!