Monday, November 10, 2008

names and terms.

So, there’s a fresh Web site that was publicized in MidWest Living (okay, I totally just ruined any perception that might yet be lingering out there that I am—in any way—cool … obviously, I’m not) …

Anyway, it’s a great site. Check it out.

And with the presidential election over and done, and the “transitional” government in motion—it’s a perfect place to reminisce about all those candidates who have fought the good fight, and faded into the dusty pages of well-worn U.S. History texts. Here, the candidates of yesterday lie in stealthy wait to besiege some poor high school junior faced with that most horrifying tool of torture: the names and terms quiz (my former history students should be groaning right now … )

Maybe you still “Like Ike,” or think that “Four More Roosevelt Lucky Years” sounds like just the ticket. Perhaps you are or were and initial-fan of RFK, JFK, LBJ, or—to lose the rhyme pattern there, just good old FDR.

Some of us still long to commemorate the obvious winners like Regan, Nixon, Ford, Truman, Clinton, and Carter (hmm, no editorializing here). Other more sensitive souls may wish to pay homage to the underdogs —the man (and in some cases woman) nobody remembers. But hey—he ran for president, which in theory suggests Udall, McGovern (can a name be more positively presidential?), Humphrey, Goldwater, Chisholm (female), Landon, Muskie, and Hart weren’t exactly slouches.

Looking through the pages and pages of t-shirts at this kitschy site—some that honor legends, and others that recall nobodies—you find the brilliant campaign slogans, and concerns of years gone by.

And I can’t help but wonder how posterity will define this last marathon season of campaigning, slogans, stumping, and mud-slinging. We’re in such a rush these days either to define our own greatness, or boast others failures that I think the pundits and political prophets believe they can determine how future generations will define all of this.

They can’t.

And it’s refreshing to be reminded of that as I poked around the site.

Retro President: Fashionably nostalgic official.

Hmmm. That’s a humbling legacy for anyone, I would think. And I guess it reminds me that true presidential greatness is a mantle earned with time, and bestowed by the future.

As for me, I think it’s an “All the Way with Adlai” tee for Dad, and maybe a Kennedy Onesie for Syd this Christmas.

I wonder if they have any William Jennings Bryan gear. They should. I believe he once said: “The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.”

I wonder if he said this before or after he ran for the White House 3 times? Good man. Good man.

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