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UNLIKE A BUNCH of people these days, Henry Clay famously said, “I’d rather be right than president.” This was during an 1838 Senate debate. Was he hedging on what was destined to be his five failed campaigns for this country’s highest office? Was it prematurely sour grapes, or what?
Later, Clay was given the sobriquet The Great Pacificator for his role in putting together the Compromise of 1850. This legislation limited the expansion of slavery and delayed secession for a decade. Cited in Smithsonian.com, December 6, 2012, “Indeed, Mississippi Senator Henry S. Foote later said, ‘Had there been one such man in the Congress of the United States as Henry Clay in 1860–’61, there would, I feel sure, have been no civil war.’ ” Clay died, age 75, in 1852.
Henry Clay was also something of The Great Hypocrite. According to the Smithsonian article, though he called slavery “this great evil… the darkest spot in the map of our country,” he had 60 slaves of his own.
My Own View on the Matter. So much for Clay’s prattling on about other options to the presidency. And, come to think of it, I’d rather be anything but president.
An example: Years ago in undergraduate school, I was given a government appointment of sorts; namely, Corporal in Worcester Poly’s Army Reserve Officers Training Corps. Displaying ROTC prowess in leading a drill exercise, I subsequently marched my squad completely across the field doing nothing other than “Change Step—March.” This is the command employed for changing Left/Right Left/Right Left/Right to Right/Left Right/Left Right/Left.
Done repeatedly gives the marvelous impression of an ROTC squad skipping across a field.
Yes, I’d rather be anything but president. And my officer colleagues at Worcester Poly concurred with my decision.
These Days. What with 2020 elections coming up, I share the sentiments of the huge bunch of Democrats wishing to displace the mendacious, narcissistic, blundering, peevish wacko currently in office. Even Tea-Party Republican talkshow host Joe Walsh recently entered the fray.
However, I’ve got to wonder about motives of some of these people, and where righteousness might fit into the process eventually.
Lively Journalistic Endeavors. It’s certainly a wonderfully ripe time for journalists covering matters political: a chaotic administration, mixed signals of bait-and-switch, and the president’s petulance when called on this. As examples, I found his recent cancellation of the state visit to Denmark typical. And I wonder whether American business interests will be forced to leave China.
The opposition, worthy or otherwise, has received attention from journalists as well. Several of my favorite lines come from Madeleine Aggeler writing “A Guide to All the Indistinguishable Men Running for President” in New York magazine, July 31, 2019.
Of the lead photo’s six, she wrote, “Yes, that’s actually a picture of six different men, not just one man in various stages of explaining the plot of The Big Lebowski to a woman who told him she’d already seen it.”
Of John Delaney, former congressman for Maryland’s Sixth Congressional District (and, as of this date, already a goner), she wrote memorably, “He looks like if a thumb split from the other fingers and went to dine at Hooters alone.”
I’d rather write like that than be president. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2019