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From Hi, My Name Is Jack:

In late August, I received $36 for the bus, had my mom drop me off at Greyhound, waited until she left, and hitchhiked from Boston to Athens, Georgia. It took twenty-six hours going back, and I met some incredible people along the way. As soon as I arrived, I called Mona, who was not nearly as excited to hear from me as I was to talk to her—probably because she had spent a lot of time over the summer with the Tech tailback.

Regardless, Rush started—followed by football, classes, parties, and the full swing of college life at the University of Georgia. In November, I was playing bridge, which I did for hours every day, when one of my fraternity brothers hurriedly came out of the TV room. “The President’s been shot!” was all he said. Instantly, the TV room was full, as we all watched the events at Dealey Plaza unfold before our eyes—narrated by Walter Cronkite. Finally, they announced President Kennedy was dead. My bridge partner, Ferber Buckley, said, “He’s dead. We can’t help him now. I’ve bid six spades—a baby slam, and I want to play the hand.” We all went back and played the hand which I’ve been embarrassed to admit ever since.

Kids at UGA, like Americans everywhere, were devastated by the assassination; and for a short period of time, sobriety reigned at Kappa Sigma. With classes cancelled for three days, Mona and I spent substantial time together and continued to do so until the end of the quarter. Making the best grades so far, I went home for Christmas, not realizing I was spending the last carefree days of my youth.

Hi, My Name Is Jack—Chapter One

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Our selection process for picking a Presidential candidate is so flawed; we have become unable to choose the best man or woman for the job. We don’t even look for the best person. Instead, we scrutinize candidates, looking for the one with the least flaws or negative baggage.

If our current methodology were operational throughout our history, many of our best leaders never would have survived the process. For example:

  • Thomas Jefferson, who had a slave concubine and plagiarized much of the Declaration of Independence from John Locke, would never have been taken seriously. The media would have crucified him.
  • Abraham Lincoln, who fought depression his entire life, would have been considered unstable and, therefore, unfit to lead.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was the allied commander in Europe during World War II and responsible for defeating Hitler, maintained a mistress who traveled with him throughout the war as his secretary. He left his wife, Mamie, back home in Kansas. He would have been considered morally unfit to lead.
  • John F. Kennedy’s profligacy, which included movie stars, would never have survived the finger pointing of his rivals in the primaries.

There are many other good Presidents who would not have been electable, while many weak leaders would have survived, including Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama—the two worst Presidents in my lifetime. To be fair, mediocre Presidents like George W. Bush and Richard Nixon also would have survived. So would most of the Presidents of the late-nineteenth century—the ones nobody can remember.

The point is this: the mediocre survive the process. As finger pointing has become the norm, it seems that few ask the fundamental question, “Can the candidate in question lead us in perilous times or not?”

Take the current crop of Republicans for instance. If you’re going to choose—based on knit picking and who is safe—Romney is your guy. He is a good, safe bet—straight down the middle, as mediocre as they come. He looks good; he’s affable; and he will be whatever you want him to be—just as long as he thinks it will bring him victory. He’s the poster boy for playing the role of a Presidential candidate.

Herman Cain’s popularity, which has certainly peaked, is an exciting candidate. I love his honesty and his candor. By paying those women for their sexual harassment suits, however, his goose was cooked before he ever started. That’s as good as a nolo contendere plea. Actually, I’m not as concerned about the sexual discrimination issue as I am about his competency to lead. Frankly, I don’t think he can do it—nor can Bachmann or Santorum. Ron Paul’s followers are as faithful as hound dogs, but he’s a fringe player—just like Ralph Nader and Ross Perot were in the past.

That leaves two others—Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. Both have real records, which are impressive. Newt’s baggage appears to be more extensive, but he’s been in national politics much longer than Perry. The Texas Governor has an impressive record leading America’s second largest state, which is important, but he seems ill prepared in many areas.

That leaves Newt who hasn’t gone out of his way to impress me with his conservative credentials, but I still remember how he led the charge to turn the nation around in the mid-nineties. We need someone to do that again, and I believe he can. What has impressed me the most is his knowledge. He’s capable of leading us in turbulent times. I’m certain of it. Finally, I believe he’s eaten enough crow to know he doesn’t want to make a fool out of himself again, but only time will tell.

—Jack Watts

QUESTIONS:

  • What do you think of this editorial? Be specific with your comments.
  • Do we pick the safest candidate or the best one?
  • Which Republican candidate would make the best leader? Why?
  • Is Herman Cain’s candidacy finished?
  • Can Rick Perry’s candidacy make resurgence? If so, how?

If you want to join the discussion, go to http://webelieveamerica.com/forum/topics/who-will-be-the-republican-presidential-candidate and let your voice be heard.

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