Vietnam War

Remembering Ted Kennedy, John McCain, Lyndon B. Johnson, WEB DuBois,19th Amendment Anniversaries In Time Of Turmoil

Late August is a time to remember the contributions of three political leaders who were true statesmen, one civil rights leader and educator, as well as the celebration of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts died on August 25, 2009; Senator John McCain of Arizona died on August 25, 2018; President Lyndon B. Johnson was born on August 27, 1908; WEB DuBois died on August 27, 1963; and the 19th Amendment (Women Suffrage) was ratified and declared in effect on August 26, 1920.

These four individuals had a dramatic effect on American history, and the woman suffrage amendment has transformed American history as well.

Ted Kennedy is one of the greatest US Senators of all time, with his 47 plus years of service on all kinds of crucial issues.

John McCain is one of the heroic Senators, who also sacrificed years of torture and imprisonment in Vietnam, and was the true conscience of the Republican Party.

Lyndon B. Johnson promoted the greatest series of domestic reforms (“The Great Society”) since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, and those reforms still impact America today.

WEB Dubois was the most significant early leader of the Civil Rights Movement before Martin Luther King Jr. and impacted the concept of Black History, and holding America to a higher standard of racial advancement.

The 19th Amendment overcame the long discrimination against women participating in public life, and has had an immeasurable effect on the American promotion of democracy.

The “Ups And Downs” Of Ranking Presidents Over Time

Historically, many Presidents have gone through periods of low esteem, and then, suddenly, high esteem in the minds of public opinion and also, Presidential scholars.

Abraham Lincoln had a very divided nation in response after his assassination, and only in the early 20th century, did the nation decide to honor Lincoln with the construction of the Lincoln Memorial, dedicated in 1922. He has been rated Number One by just about every Presidential scholar and poll, except those right wing Confederate sympathizers and white supremacists

Harry Truman left office in 1953 with a very low public opinion rating, and was regarded poorly in assessments of Presidents, until after he passed away in 1972. In the next five years, as TIME Magazine termed it in the late 1970s, we had “Truman Mania”, as massive research and writing on Truman caused his rise in stature to as high as Number 5 in scholarly polls on Presidents.

Dwight D. Eisenhower left office with an image of a passive, lazy President, and the vitality and youth of his successor, John F. Kennedy, did not improve his image, and he was seen as not an outstanding President. But his historical reputation has risen dramatically to the point that in many scholarly assessments, he is now seen as number 5 or 6 among all Presidents.

Lyndon B. Johnson suffered mightily in assessments due to the Vietnam War, despite his amazing domestic accomplishments of the “Great Society”, and was poorly rated for 20 years. But now, he is somewhere between number 9 and 11 in rankings of Presidents.

Jimmy Carter has never risen from the mid to low 20s in rankings and popularity, but it seems possible to imagine that when the longest lived President eventually passes away, that his rating may go up much more than many might now imagine.

Pentagon Papers 50th Anniversary: Turning Point On Executive Authority In Presidency

It has been a half century since the exposure by the New York Times of the Pentagon Papers, that revealed the secrets of how America became engaged in the never ending Vietnam War.

It infuriated President Richard Nixon, and led to circumstances that brought about the Watergate Scandal, and the move to impeach Nixon, leading to his resignation on August 9, 1974.

But now, revelations show Donald Trump had engaged in even worse violations of the law than Nixon did, and this makes it clear how alarming it is that Trump is still trying to promote a coup, as on January 6 at the US Capitol, so that he can return to power.

And it is ever more alarming that most Republicans are willing to bend to Trump’s will, and that the Republican Party of 2021 is far more corrupt and dangerous than it was in 1971!

The Assassination Of Robert F. Kennedy 53 Years Ago Transformed The Future Of America!

The world changed on June 5, 1968, 53 years ago, when Democratic Presidential contender, Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York, was assassinated in Los Angeles.

This author has written about that tragic event in his 2015 book, 2017 in paperback—ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield Publishers).

While there was no certainty that RFK would have been the Democratic Party nominee in 1968, or that he would have been able to defeat Richard Nixon, many observers believe his death was a turning point that transformed the future of America!

RFK had been able to put together a coalition of working class whites, as well as African Americans and Hispanic Americans, and he was inspiring many young people to engage in the campaign, including those opposed to the war in Vietnam under Lyndon B. Johnson.

While no winner of the Presidency could, in reality, be expected to accomplish all the goals that had been set, there was great optimism and hope that RFK would have been a transformative President.

Instead, the right wing of the Republican Party won out under Richard Nixon, who appealed also to many George Wallace supporters, and Hubert Humphrey, despite his wonderful record of commitment, was lost in the anti war movement opposition to LBJ.

The next fifty years would be dominated by conservatives who wanted to push the nation backward, and the battle for Democrats has been to overcome their impact, and the battle is presently engaged under Joe Biden, at a very difficult time with Donald Trump promoting the “Big Lie”, that he won the election.

So America is in crisis, and Biden, having the same birthday as RFK, but 17 years later birth, is trying to bring about what RFK was promoting a half century ago!

On Memorial Day Weekend, Republicans Show Contempt For Preservation Of Democracy!

Memorial Day weekend is a time for remembrance of the contributions of generations of Americans who sacrificed their lives to protect and preserve American democracy.

It is a time to give thanks to those who gave their lives for their country in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and other lesser conflicts in American history.

But now, the Republican Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan, has shown contempt for the concept of preservation of democracy, by refusing to back a bipartisan January 6 Commission to fully investigate the US Capitol Insurrection, which caused the death and injuries of scores of US Capitol Police.

The Republican Party has allowed itself to become part of the cancer of Donald Trump, which is destroying the party’s history and reputation.

No matter what, however, there will be full investigation and accountability for the horrid events of that day, including the threatened hanging of Vice President Mike Pence, and the murder of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the dire threats to other Senators and Congressmen, who if not for the Capitol Police commitment, might have become victims as well!

Foreign Policy Rears Its Ugly Head For Joe Biden

Every President enters office wishing to deal with domestic policy and change.

But invariably, foreign policy rears its ugly head much too often!

Woodrow Wilson came to office in 1913, not expecting the First World War I to break out in 1914, and bring us into that war in 1917.

Franklin D. Roosevelt came to office in 1933, wishing to deal with the Great Depression, but also had to deal with the growing Fascist threat of Japan, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy, and eventually, entrance into World War II!

Harry Truman came to office in 1945 to end World War II, but had to deal with the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and send troops to Korea.

John F. Kennedy came to office in 1961, and had to deal with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Lyndon B. Johnson came to office in 1963, wanting to promote the Great Society, but also had to deal with the Vietnam War.

Every other President in modern times has had to face similar issues, and now, Joe Biden must deal with China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran as major headaches, as he tries to resolve the COVID 19 Pandemic Crisis!

500,000 Souls Lost To COVID 19 Pandemic In One Year: A Great Human Tragedy!

In 51 weeks, one week short of a year, we went from zero deaths to 500,000 deaths from COVID 19–February 29, 2020 to February 22, 2021!

The population of Atlanta—the number of dead in Arlington National Cemetery—the total of deaths in World War I, World War II, and Vietnam combined, which took two years in World War I, four years in World War II, and 12 years in Vietnam—this is the loss of a half million souls!

A President (Donald Trump) who presided over the greatest loss of life in one year, and showed no concern, no compassion, no decency, no empathy, as compared to a President (Joe Biden) who commemorated the loss tonight at the White House, and exudes concern, compassion, decency, empathy, not only on the loss of life in COVID 19, but on all issues that affect the American people!

We are finally on the road to recovery, although it will still be a long, hard fought battle, but thank goodness we have a decent President to take us through the darkness!

60th Anniversary Of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address: One Of Three Greatest Farewell Addresses

President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his Farewell Address to the nation sixty years ago today, and it reverberates through the ages, as we come upon the inauguration of a new President, on the heels of the nightmare of the absolutely worst Presidency in American history!

Eisenhower’s Farewell Address is rated as one of the greatest in American history, alongside George Washington in 1796 and Jimmy Carter in 1981.

Ike warned against the dangers of a military-industrial complex which would take us into overseas interventions and foreign wars that would undermine our nation.

Sadly, we have seen America engage in wars that have undermined our nation, specifically the escalation of the war in Vietnam, along with the decision to have a military presence in the Middle East as a result of the Persian Gulf War, and then, long drawn out wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

These interventions in the Middle East came after the Al Qaeda terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and America has been permanently changed as a result.

And now, we face a threat of domestic terrorism out of control, as Donald Trump leaves office, with the backing of these domestic terrorists as they attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, which complicates the challenges facing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as they are inaugurated on January 20, 2021, three days from now!

Presidential Egomania Led To Disaster Under Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, And Now Donald Trump

The problem of Presidential egomania has led to disaster under a number of Presidents.

It caused Woodrow Wilson to promote civil liberties violations during World War I, and to refuse to negotiate with the US Senate over the Versailles Treaty and League of Nations. It also led to his paralytic stroke in the fall of 1919, which undermined the rest of his term, and his refusal to step aside for Vice President Thomas Marshall at a time of tumultuous internal events in the last 17 months of his term, including the infamous Palmer Raids (Red Scare) in 1919-1920.

It caused Herbert Hoover to refuse to adjust his view on laissez faire, causing the Great Depression to become much worse, and lead to his massive defeat by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. That economic disaster was made even worse by Hoover’s refusal of cooperation with the President Elect, adding another million people to the unemployment rolls before the 1933 inauguration of his successor.

It caused Lyndon B. Johnson to damage his domestic Great Society legacy by his insistence on continuing the war in Vietnam, and then finally being pushed out of the race for reelection in the spring of 1968, leading to the election of Richard Nixon.

It caused Richard Nixon, who had some real accomplishments in domestic and foreign affairs, to destroy his own Presidency by his own insecurities and desire to get his “enemies”, leading to the Watergate Scandal and his downfall less than two years after an overwhelming reelection victory in 1972.

So two Democratic and two Republican Presidents, all of whom had ability and intelligence, threw away their Presidencies due to egomania!

And now, we have Donald Trump, who is allowing the nation to be decimated by the COVID 19 Pandemic, politicizing face masks and social distancing, and therefore, responsible for the greatest loss of life in a short time in American history, and facing almost certain repudiation by the American people in ten days!

The difference is that Trump’s egomania and narcissism is far more dangerous than that of Wilson, Hoover, Johnson and Nixon, as he is the first one to indicate he will refuse to accept the election results and to leave office peacefully.

Trump is creating a massive political and social crisis as we have voter intimidation and threats already occurring.

The Republican Party is working to delegitimize the election count, already occurring in California, a state that the Republicans are insured of losing, but are brazenly taking illegal actions!

America On The Road To Worst Loss Of Life Than Any And All Wars In American History!

America is on the brink of the worst loss of life in its history, having already surpassed World War I, The Vietnam War, The Korean War, and all other wars, except World War II and the Civil War.

With the greatest loss of life being in the Civil War (620,000), that is likely to be passed by mid year 2021, no matter whether Joe Biden becomes President in January 2021, as the projection is for 400,000 by that date, and any policy to deal with the COVID 19 Pandemic will take time, so sadly, but assuredly, America will pass the Civil War in totals.

By the time the pandemic is overcome, it is likely that America will surpass the 1.4 million combined killed in all of America’s wars combined!

And the Spanish Flu Pandemic estimate of 675,000 from 1918-1920 seems likely to be surpassed, and the way things are developing, the total loss of life from the COVID 19 Pandemic may surpass 2 million over time, more than the wars and the Spanish Flu Pandemic combined!