Hello again ATS.
These are the words of a forty-nine year old man who has lived his entire life in the United States of America...
The first time I can recall ever actually being engaged on any level at all with politics was in the year 1977. The previous year had been the US
Bicentennial and my parents had gone out of their way to ensure that I benefitted from the festivities. We travelled to Washington DC in the summer of
'76 and I took it all in. The White House, The Capitol Building, The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial, The Museum of
Natural History, The National Air and Space Museum, Fords Theater... all of this and more. All of it. We spent our last day at Arlington National
Cemetary where I saw the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier and Kennedy's Eternal Flame. Additionally, in 1976 I also boarded and toured the
American Freedom Train
where I was able to stand within inches of George
Washington's own personal copy of the Constitution. The Bicentennial woke something in me and by the following year, 1977, when my school interrupted
class so that we could all watch the inaguration of Jimmy Carter - I was absolutely primed and wholly interested in the political process. I was an
optimistic ten year old kid, fixated by the magic and lore of our great Republic.
From that point forward the passion for politics never left me. Not even after I got old enough to fully comprehend the topic and to endure the
overwhelming loss of innocence that comes with such understanding.
I will grant that Social Studies and Civics classes in Jr high and high school did not teach me much. My jaded and older self is fairly certain that
this lack of education in these areas is as much deliberate as it may be chalked up to issues like overburdened teachers, classroom overcrowding or
outdated curriculums. However these classes did manage to teach me a few things in very clear and concise terms. One of the things that I did learn
was that The United States is not supposed to hinge upon dynastic rule. That is a cornerstone in the very foundation of our freedoms and values. Sure,
there are the studies that show that nearly all of the Presidents share DNA... but if one researches the subject, one learns the truth... The same can
be said for a vast, vast segement of the US population. If you shake the family tree of a lineage that has been in the US for a hundred or two hundred
years? An English monarch is likely to fall out of one of the branches.
On paper and at first glance, the issue of dynasties does not seem very troubling... We've got a couple of Adams - father and son. We've got a couple
of cousins named Roosevelt. We've got a couple of Bush's - father and son again. Six out of forty-four doesn't seem that troubling... Four out of
forty-four, if we're only counting immediate relatives even less so.
But at second glance?
After that first inaguration that I can remember witnessing, the next was when I was fifteen years old. It was the inaguration of Ronald Reagan. A
very exciting time for me. Those who were not alive cannot fully appreciate the road that lead us to Reagan. This was the world before cable news...
before the Internet. This was a world where the news came on television exactly three times per day, 7:00 AM, 6:00 PM and 11:00 PM. This meant that
the news had to be a lot more direct and terse in their presentation. There were far more facts and far less commentary presented. For commentary
people mostly still relied upon newspapers and magazines. Oh and this was also a world where the Smith-Mundt Act was still in effect... A world where
domestic propaganda was forbidden and illegal. Yes, it still happened - but far less often and usually in a much different way. The propaganda then
was usually accomplished by exclusion, not by outright lies ( I said usually
- so put the keyboard down! )
This tangent about the news is important to this because the year and a half prior to Reagan being inagurated news had changed. The
Iran Hostage Crisis
had captured the nation. Every single news program began with a
graphic, counting out how many days the hostages had been held. This was totally new ( at least to me and to the best of my knowledge ). Where stories
had tended to be terse and even long running subjects did not dominate ( Vietnam may well have, but I was three or four at that time and don't recall
it ) to any degree - the Hostage Crisis did. In fact Ronald Reagan rode a wave of nationalism over that crisis into the White House. Carter had been
seen ( at the time ) as innefectual and weak. Reagan has promised to basically bomb Iran into a radioactive pane of glass if he were elected and they
refused to release the hostages.
The hostages were released just as Reagan was giving his Inagural Address.
The Reagan tangent matters to this text because as a fifteen year old kid, I found myself wholly caught in the nationalism and populist zeitgeist. In
fact it would take roughly two decades for that spell to break and for me to lose the emotional puppet strings left over from that era. Reagan was
I felt. Reagan was right
in my eyes. Reagan was an authoritarian
and I, coming from a broken home and bereft of a caring
father, ate every bit of it and asked for more.
And, as it turned out, I now see Reagan as the second US President in a dynasty. One that, while including a hereditary connection, is not hereditary
- but agenda based. The first President I see in this cycle, for the record, is Richard Nixon. Nixon is ground zero for the pattern we now see. It
also turns out that my first political memory - of Carter being sworn into office, represents the only aberration to this pattern since.
One could almost phrase this like a book from the Old Testament... Nixon begat Reagan, and Reagan begat Bush and Bush begat another Bush...
Intertwined with another line of descent... Cllinton begat Gore ( who won and lost all at once ), Gore ( and Clinton ) begat Obama and Obama begat
If I were to seek to provide the necessary sourcing, nuance and historical context for the above - well this would stop being a thread and start being
a book... And I simply ain't got no time for writin' no book. However I do earnestly encourage anyone who isn't already well read on the topic to do
their own research, as time and leisure permit, and come to your own conclusions and form your own opinions. I will state that I am fairly confident
that your results will be similar to mine. Maybe with variations or a subjective philosophical spin. But, still, similar.
Today roughly two thirds of the headlines I've seen on Internet homepages - Yahoo and MSN - were concerned with two people. The first a member of one
of the above mentioned political dynasties, Hillary Clinton. The other being the American rights angry response to these dynasties... One Donald John
Trump. My mileage on this may be uncommon as these pages customize based upon a persons search and viewing histories and, as I've established already
- I'm a bit passionate about politics. My feed might be a bit more politically targeted than usual. Whatever the case, even if your feed is far less
depressing / frustrating than mine - these stories still top most news venues.
edit on 3/2/16 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)