We are often, overwhelmed, by the behaviour, attitude, actions, performances, rhetoric, etc, made by our current elected officials, especially our President. Although, a leader’s rhetoric, ethics, effectiveness, efficacy, and apparent willingness to lead, all Americans, rather than, only, those who may support him, is important, we should realize, it’s a lot more important, how his support, might influence future generations, than, evaluating him, merely based on his popularity, or, how he can, in the polls! With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, review, analyze, and discuss, how recent Presidents were thought of, when they were office, compared to, how, history believes them, today. How leaders leave the country, in a relevant, sustainable manner, is what their heritage, should be based on!
- Recent Presidents (since the 1940’s): No discussion of legacies, would be complete, if it didn’t begin with FDR. History only President, who served more than 2 terms, he was known, during his administration, for introducing the WPA (and putting Americans to work, on infrastructure, etc), introducing Social Security, and, for, his most reassuring talks. But while he had been, overall, a superb President, his legacy, was also marred, by allowing internment camps for Japanese – Americans, and denying entry to a boat load of Jews, forcing them to return, to Europe, to face persecution, and, oftentimes, far worse. Harry Truman ascended to the Presidency, after Roosevelt died, and was President, when World War II, ended. He was famous for his, The buck stops here, and being the first leader, to use, a nuclear bomb. While this, likely ended the war in the Pacific, with Japan, many innocent people, and future generations, were hurt, by their exposure to nuclear by – products. He was President, when the U.S. sent troops, to Korea, and, many historians, judge that, as debatable. Dwight D. Eisenhower (known, as, Ike), followed, and was popular, since, he articulated a message of peace, and calm, which resulted in the popular image, portrayed in Happy Days. Many sought a younger, more dynamic leader, and we elected JFK, who had been considered, by many, as Camelot. Johnson got most of Kennedy’s civil rights, and other progressive legislation, enacted, but his legacy, became the war, and Kennedy, appreciated the stardom. Afterward, we elected Richard Nixon, and although, he had the first diplomatic discussions, with China, suffers from the legacy of Watergate, impeachment, and the cover – up. Ford is mostly known, for pardoning Nixon, and only served in office, for a partial term. Running against corruption, the nation, subsequently picked Jimmy Carter, who really, had the audacity to think, a public leader, must possess integrity and ethics. Although, unpopular for years, because of Iran, inflation, etc, his legacy, was much kinder, reminding ushe was years ahead of his days, in the areas of human rights, energy conservation, alternative energy, gas mileage standards, petroleum reserves. His post – Presidential involvement with Habitat for Humanity, and assisting foreign nations, arbitrate/ mediate disputes, etc, has enhanced his reputation and legacy. Ronald Reagan was, and is, beloved, by many, but historians, also point to, the Iran – Contra scandal, eliminating fuel mileage standards, and the realities of Trickle Down Economics (a.k.a. Reaganomics), and that, after, the budget deficit radically, enlarged, was the start of taxing Social Security benefits. While Obama’s legacy, is tough to judge, since he was President, so lately, it has been enhanced by the inevitable comparisons with our current President.
- How will this President, be recalled? President Trump, has far stronger, core fans, who seem, to miss any faults, than previous Presidents, but, also, more detractors. The nation has been more polarized, than previously, in recent memory. Will Trump’s legacy, be, what he tells us he is done, or, will history, treat him, unkindly, and, point to, his rhetoric, empty promises, misstatements, and polarizing, adversarial style, as detrimental, to sustainable environmental protection, human rights, civil rights, etc?
A President’s legacy, is, far more important and relevant, than how popular, he is, for the nearer – term! Wake up. America, and carefully consider, who you vote for, according to their strategies, ideas, and solutions, rather than rhetoric and promises!