It is hard to see what is true, but that is the price we have to pay for the privilege of living in the most powerful country in the world.
Where do we start? If the tragedy of 9/ll showed us anything, it was that there are powerful forces preparing to take everything we currently enjoy away from us. This is not a game we can choose whether or not to play.
I needed to see our presidents as real human beings before I could vote on the most likely candidate. Yes, I told myself, this is possible. My start was modest.
Last evening, I settled into a comfortable chair with a book about all the U.S. presidents. I browsed, scribbling some notes. Soon I started seeing our presidents as people, not Mt. Rushmore figures. Maybe all men are created equal, but not presidents.
Obama is president number 44, but Grover Cleveland was elected and counted twice. William Henry Harrison, president number nine, was counted even though he died after only one month in office.
The first president that I found interesting was James Madison, president number four. He was only five feet, four inches tall and weighed only a hundred pounds.
Andrew Jackson, president number seven, was six feet one inch, and weighed 140 pounds. In a duel with Charles Dickinson in 1806, Jackson killed him only after Dickinson fired the first shot, raising a puff of dust from Jackson’s jacket as a bullet entered and lodged so near his heart it was never removed. Jackson walked away after the duel.
I got to number 9, William Henry Harrison, who, after delivering an inaugural address lasting one hour and 40 minutes in a brisk March wind without a hat, gloves or overcoat, caught “bilious pleurisy” and died after only about a month in office. That was the only interesting thing he had time to do.
Then I decided that I had had enough for one evening. The presidents seemed very human indeed. I got sleepy and went to bed.
Next time, I hope to check out Nixon, Kennedy and Clinton. I already know enough about Obama. But I’m not done with my research, however casual it seems to be.
With a computer and all that the electronic world has made available for research, I hope to glimpse the shadowy figures behind the presidents, the men with the power and the money who support them under conditions that serve their purposes better than ours. I might not like what I find, but I need to look, anyway.
Only then will there be any chance at all to vote intelligently, hoping to keep our country like the one we are being promised in return for our vote.