A Tale of Two Countries

Both are called the United States.  Neither are united.

The recognized country is led by Joe Biden, a 79-year-old man, who desperately wants to lift up America, one more time.  He was part of the Obama team that got us out of the big 2008 Fiscal Crisis, and now he’s determined to solve two new big problems threatening our nation’s health – Covid and Division.

The unrecognized country is led by Donald Trump, a 70-something year-old man, who desperately wants to lift America’s wallet, one more time. His problem is also health, his own.  He’s completely power crazy.

When John Quincy Adams won the Presidency many years ago, he received congratulations from the entire world, except from his father, John Adams, the former 2nd President of the United States.  He asked his father why and dad replied, “No man who ever held the office of president would congratulate a friend on obtaining it.  He will make one man ungrateful, and a hundred men his enemies, for every office he can bestow.”

George Washington did not want to run for a second term.  The silver tongue of Thomas Jefferson had to be summoned to convince the old boy to have another go at it.

After his second term, they tried to convince him to run again.  History praises Washington for stepping down, declining a third term, and showing that America was a Democracy, not a Monarchy.  One man isn’t king for life, and all that stuff..  In reality, Washington hated the job.  And when they begged him to run for a third term, he said, and I quote, “I’d rather be in my grave.”

Thomas Jefferson’s epitaph, that he wrote himself, oddly omits the fact that he was the third President of the United States.

My favorite President, James Buchanan, is often maligned for his eagerness to vacate the White House.  On the day that Lincoln was inaugurated, James led old Abe to the ceremony, and told him, “If you are as happy to be here as I am to be going home to Wheatland, then you truly are a happy man indeed.”

There are only a few Presidents who wished that they could have been President for longer than they were, Teddy Roosevelt, and the dead ones.

Teddy even headed up his own Bull Moose Political Party, in an unsuccessful attempt to win another term.  Grover Cleveland, our 22nd President was voted out of office, and his wife told the White House staff, “Take care of the place.  We’ll be back.”  and they were when he became the 24th President four years later.  He fought back to regain the title, but most of it was his wife’s idea.  He was never very crazy about being President.  Men who want to remain President are rare.  Most of the people who have held the job, realize the extraordinary toll it took on them, and are glad to leave when their days are over.

We’ve only had two Presidents from Pennsylvania, James Buchanan and Joe Biden.  Both coveted the job but were rebuffed for years and years, until when they were finally too old for the job, but the country was in serious trouble and turned to them in the Country’s hour of need.

James Buchanan wrote, “I had hoped for the nomination in 1844, again in 1848, and even in 1852, but now I would hesitate to take it.  Before many years the abolitionists will bring war upon the land.  It may come during the next presidential term.”

He wound up accepting the nomination in 1856, anyway.  He had served his country for so long, that it was all he knew how to do.  His nickname wasn’t Buck.  His adopted nephew James Buchanan Henry was called “Buck”.  James Buchanan was known simply as “the Old Public Functionary.”  He served in the militia, the state house, the congress, the Senate, Secretary of State, Ambassador to Russia, Ambassador to Great Britain.  After his fiancé died in 1820, he had dedicated his whole life to his country, and he didn’t refuse to serve his Country in 1856, when that Country was even more divided than today.

Most Presidents were glad to leave the White House.  Lyndon Johnson said, “I will not seek, nor will I accept my party’s nomination for President.”

Joe Biden should be enjoying his golden years, but he looked around and saw that he was the best, and maybe only, chance for Democracy to beat the juggernaut that was Donald Trump.  Like Buchanan, he is probably proud of taking the helm of the ship of state when it was floundering in a violent storm, but I’m sure he wishes that somebody younger might have taken the reins, instead.  Joe probably wishes that his son Beau was running the country today.

Donald Trump does not feel the same way about his sons.  Don Trump, Jr. probably will take over the franchise when Donald Sr. dies, but since the good die young, Donald Sr. might be around for a long, long time.  Poor, neglected son Eric, meanwhile, has been voted son most likely to turn states evidence when the shit hits the fan in the January 6th Investigation.

Richard Nixon didn’t want to go.  So, it was only Teddy Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland, and Richard Nixon, who were forced to vacate the office before they actually wanted to.

And now, Donald Trump.  One year into the Biden Presidency, Trump still hasn’t conceded.  He’s still holding on, which is Joe Biden’s second problem.  If this was a third world country, he could just shoot him.  Or a drone could accidentally  “go off course” and blow up Mar a Lago.  But Joe Biden is a decent man.  He won’t stoop to the tricks that Donald Trump would stoop to in a heartbeat.

How do you take the high road, and succeed?  I don’t know.  If it was me, I would just have the CIA put exploding golf balls in Trump’s golf bag whenever he had a foursome that included Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, and Lindsey Graham.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

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