The year was 1948
The Cleveland Indians won the World Series with Manager Lou Boudreau, also their shortstop. Michigan won the Rose Bowl beating Southern California 49-0 led by quarterback Bob Chappius. I was 10 years old and in the fifth grade. 1948 also had a presidential election pitting President Harry Truman against challenger Thomas E. Dewey.
Remembering like it was yesterday, our fifth grade class held an election for president. I was the campaign organizer for President Truman. I liked him because he resembled my dad.
That fifth grade class had an even number of boys and girls, and the girls liked Dewey because he was cute. Confident I had counted enough Truman votes to win, I was crushed when he lost by one vote. Instead of accepting the outcome, I accused our teacher Mrs. Ottem as voting for Dewey. She wasn’t happy about that and later kicked me out of school for something else I said.
Fortunately, Truman pulled off an upset when a few weeks later he won re-election. I was thrilled!
I thought about President Truman when the newspapers reported he was the last president to give a 4th of July speech prior to Donald Trump’s speech this year. Truman delivered that in 1951 to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
It’s fun to compare “lying Donald” and “give them hell Harry.” Truman later said “I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.” Truman fought for providing health care for the elderly and was rewarded by President Johnson when he later gave Harry the Medicare card number one.
Harry was also the only WWI vet to become president. In another contrast Trump ducked the Vietnam war because of a bone spur.
Another difference is that Trump never takes responsibility for problems and Truman proudly displayed his Oval Office desk sign, “The buck stops here.” Trump repeatedly blames the Democrats for the Mexican border chaos and his inability to get money for his wall. He wants us to forget that the Republicans had control of all branches of government for two years. So that “pass the buck” is just another Trump fabrication.
Another “buck” subject is the federal deficit and the growing national debt. During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised he would eliminate the $19 trillion debt in eight years. With his history of debt and serial bankruptcy, it makes Trump’s promise simply preposterous. And of course it was.
Under Trump, the deficit has increased every year and the 2019 and 2020 deficits will top $1 trillion per year. This tips economic theory on its head since in a strong economy the deficit is supposed to go down, not up. When Trump and the Republicans opened up the treasury and handed $1.5 trillion to billionaires and corporations, it was simply a crime of extortion.
Factoid: in the last 40 years only two presidents reduced the deficit during their terms, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Donald Trump has an even more fundamental problem than truth telling and soaring national debt. He is the shallowest and most insecure American president in memory. He has no sense of humor and carries a thinly-veiled hate for himself. His lack of self-love confirms the ancient teaching of Plato. In his “Republic” he concluded that men who seek “gain” are destined to the least happy life. By contrast those who seek “honor” are happier and those who seek “truth” are happiest of all.
Trump’s affinity for authoritarian world leaders reveals his insecurity and self-loathing. He admires brutal dictatorial leaders like Putin of Russia, Erdogan of Turkey, Duarte of the Philippines, bin Salmon of Saudi Arabia and Kim of North Korea. No American president before Trump has ever turned his back on our democratic allies preferring to play footsy with leading abusers of human rights.
Trump can’t take criticism because of his insecurity and his worst fear is that someday he might be found out. Pathetically, it’s widely known that he even cheats on the golf course.
Morally and ethically bankrupt, unhappy Trump seeks love in all the wrong places.
David Strand lives near Aitkin.