And time passes

....In big and small ways... and a thought about two First Families

I don't blog much lately. I thought it had been a few months. It turns out to have been about a year. The Internet is overflowing with people who blog in earnest, and those who post their most trivial thoughts in soundbites (myself included) on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. ("I don't tweet.") Therefore, I stay away from it. (Not to mention, I always have a dozen projects going on.)

I also refrain from being too specifically political on Facebook. This election between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama is, to me, a matter of perception. People see what they want to see in the candidates. On one hand, all recent people who aspire to be President of the United States (I notice the media now calls that POTUS) are cut from somewhat of the same cloth. They enjoy attention, they must please their contributors, they must compromise, they must cater to lobbyists and these days even extremists. People like me who shoot their mouths off and call things as they perceive them simply don't run for higher public office. So I stick to political humor to occasionally illustrate my points.

Last night I watched the 2nd debate between Mittens and Barry. To me, the contrast is stark. One fellow believes that the elite/rich in America will take care of everyone else (how's that been working out for all of us?). The other believes that government should have a role in caring for people as well as protecting them from the more mercenary. (Whether he's able to accomplish that is another matter...especially with a Republican Congress that put out the goal of obstructing any bit of progress he intended to accomplish.) Debate results last night were probably in the eyes of the beholders, spun about by media outlets, paid consultants, and pollsters. I do know that the Green candidates for President and Vice President were arrested just prior to the debate at the debate site. That does not bode well for a free America.

After the debate I settled back to watch something else on TV... thinking I might escape from politics. I generally watch documentaries on Nat Geo, Discover, History, in addition to the dramatic HBO and Showtime series I am fond of. I had DVR'd something called The Kennedy Detail. In this two-hour documentary, a number of Secret Service agents who guarded JFK and his family came together in public--in Dallas--to, for the first time, discuss working with the Kennedy family and, more dramatically, recall the details of what happened on Nov 22, 1963. This is an amazing show and I would encourage anyone of my generation--and in fact everyone in general--to check it out. It had me in tears by the end. Of course, that event is very critical to who I am. I realized last night that next year marks the 50th anniversary of that event. Half a century. I cannot fathom that. I remember it vividly to this day... I remember being sent home from school that day (2nd grade in NY City), I remember the shock that descended over the country in the days, weeks, and months after.

The documentary is extraordinary, not only for the firsthand recollections of the agents, but for amazing film of the First Family that I have never seen before including clips of JFK and Jackie preceding the fateful ride through Dallas. (In addition to an hour's worth of footage shot in the previous White House years.) Much was made about the pink dress and pillbox hat Jackie wore when she showed up for breakfast that tragic day. That outfit will forever live in American history--in photos, movies, and with the stains of her husband's mortality at the swearing-in of Lyndon Johnson. This was one of the most poignant documentaries I have seen in recent years.

But it left me with one overriding thought. I have seen nine subsequent administrations: Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, two Bushes, Clinton, and the first African-American President, a milestone in itself in this divided country. Some Chief Executives were better than others, few recent ones truly shine in American history. What I noticed in the documentary I watched last night was what an extraordinarily compelling First Family we had from 1960-63--there were a lot of film clips of young John and Caroline with their parents. And I reflect that the only White House family I have felt such pride about since then has been the Obama family. Whatever you may or may not say about the policies and ability of the President, I believe we should all be proud of the family who resides in the White House these days. For those Americans concerned with "family values": I think this is one very sweet First Family. I hope they get to stay for four more years.

Even though this election has some very critical issues, I believe it to ultimately be a visceral one. There is about half the country who will look at the picture below and it will warm their hearts (as it does mine). This is the new America and it is also the America where everyone does indeed have opportunity and hope. Please vote on Election Day.

Posted: Wed - October 17, 2012 at 01:03 PM