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Some Presidential Word Association

By:  Greg Allen - Special to GCN   11/16/14

I’ve been fortunate to have lived in a free society all my life.  I’m somewhat of a history buff and have lived through the implemented policies of several presidents, but I’ve never heard of an administration being referred to as a “Regime” by so many, as this one.

The word “Regime” no doubt conjures up negative anecdotal thoughts for many.  For me, the word relates to thoughts of imperialism, totalitarian rule, and a disdain for liberty.

Many of the political pundits have been saying the last election cycle was a historical sweep for the Republican Party.  A few of those pundits have been saying the seats held by Republicans across the country now rival the same figures as the 1940’s, or as far back as the roaring 20’s.

Barack Obama will go down in history as the 44th President of the United States, the first African-American to be given that title by his fellow peers, but what will the annals of time reveal about him?  He has two years remaining in office, but I can’t recall this type of public fear as it pertains to what an outgoing president might do.
 
A lot of the political narrators on television and columnists, as myself, have been wondering what Barack Obama’s legacy will be after he leaves office.  In reality, a person’s legacy relates to public opinion, a spreadsheet of historical facts, and the perception one has of that individual.

To think Barack Obama cares about his legacy, or that of public opinion, would merely be speculation. Such things will no doubt be toyed with by future historians.

For those of you who have a taste for history, as I, let’s dabble in the confines of word association.

When I think of George Washington, the first president, it ushers in the thought of strong leadership, a fallen cherry tree, and the beginning of a great nation that was no doubt divinely inspired.

Another highly respected president, in my opinion, was Abraham Lincoln. Thoughts of him conjure up Ford’s theater, the Civil War, a stove top hat, and the enduring effort he gave to pull a country together when it was torn.

I’m ashamed to say I draw a blank when it comes to the thought of presidents like James Monroe, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, James Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley or William Howard Taft.

I’m sure those presidents have a legacy, yet what does it say about each when it’s so obscure in the thoughts of most?

My enduring thoughts of the most rascally presidents America ever had are Ulysses S. Grant and Teddy Roosevelt.  Both were noted for throwing caution to the wind.

The legacy of recent presidents runs the gamut of intriguing thought for me.  FDR brings to mind the thoughts of World War II, his wheelchair, and those fireside chats he gave that will go down in infamy.

Harry Truman dropped the bomb and horror was revealed on a scale like never before.

John F. Kennedy was admired by many, but cut down in his prime for reasons we may never know.  Camelot was, in reality, political theater.

Lyndon Johnson was a bully whose policies have done more harm than good.

And who can forget Richard Nixon flashing dual peace signs to declare “I’m not a crook.”

I vividly remember Jimmy Carter’s tenure and the associated high interest rates, long gas lines, and his lethargic foreign-policy.

I truly admired Ronald Reagan, but I can’t get past the thought of that jar of jelly beans on his desk that never ran dry.

Bill Clinton despises that nickname “Slick Willie,” but the anecdote is no doubt deserved.

What will Barack Hussein Obama’s legacy be?  What word association will be played when his name comes up?  Will it be the thought of Obamacare, the historical fact that he was the first African-American to serve as an American president, or will it be that of corruption and all the scandals that have plagued his administration?

Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, is published bi-monthly.  He’s an author, nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit in Jamestown, Indiana, a non-profit organization aiding the poor.  He can be reached at www.builderofthespirit.org or follow him on Twitter  @GregAllencolumn 
© Greg Allen ~ All Rights Reserved


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