Presidents Day Quotes

Not our town, but similar feel

On President’s Day I started thinking about our presidents. I can remember my reaction to the ones who were in office when I was alive. I actually saw Eisenhower drive through Farmington when I was quite young. (Basically, they slowed the cars down as the drove through town on Route 4. I’m not sure how my mother and other people knew in advance to take the kids down to wave and see him.) That was the only one I’ve seen in person.

I can remember my parents stories about the presidents they’d lived with. Apparently my Grandfather was anti-New Deal, no one was allowed to mention Roosevelt’s name, he was always “That man in the White House.” But go back further and all I have is what we learned in history classes, which we now know to be seriously weighted propaganda, intended to inspire confidence in the country, and instill lessons like honesty in the small children to whom they were taught. (The Washington and the cherry tree story appeared in the 19th c., or Lincoln walking 7 miles to return 2 cents, although that one may be true.) All in all, they are as authentic as Lincolns proverbial axe. “The head’s been replaced twice and the handle five times, but it’s still the very axe Lincoln used!”

Luckily, there are people who are fascinated with almost every period of history, who research and write about them. Of course, those have spin as well. However I tend to think there’s a reason that reporters tend to be “Liberals”. If you go looking for the truth and discover that some of the rich are taking advantage of most of the poor, you end up being cross with the people who are being greedy. Stories may have a spin for other reasons- certainly the people in the South who glorify their Confederate ancestors have a need to see their beloved dead as heroes and justify their actions. But I think it’s possible to accept and sympathize with your ancestors positions without defending them if they were based on false premises.

I found quotes for all the presidents, although we do need to remember that, as my mother used to say “Pen and ink reject nothing” to which I add, the internet accepts even more. Even at that, many of these quotes may have come from their speech writers.

I posted these on fb, and got some some responses. Some mentioned I was unfair to Trump, but frankly, most of what I was finding in Trump quotes was the horrible, racist, misogynistic, ignorant, misleading, and divisive things he says every day until we have become too stunned to respond any more. (There are probably parts of the internet where his quotes are more positive, I can’t find them.) I picked the loyalty one because of his recent post-impeachment behavior. I will admit that the selection of all the quotes reflects my bias and what we are going through now in 2020.

(I included the names and dates even though you can find them elsewhere for easy context. The size of each picture reflects the size of the type- for ease of reading, not the importance I give each man or statement.)

45 Donald Trump         2017…    2017-    b. 194644  Barack Obama        2009-2017          b. 1961

43.   George W. Bush        2001-2009           b.1946   (I was told told he didn’t say this)

42   Bill Clinton  1993-2001     b. 1946  (three presidents born in the same year!)41.    George H. W.  Bush     1989-1993    1924–2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I had to include the broccoli quote because I like it. What a way to inspire kids to want to be president?)

 

40     Ronald Regan  1981-1989     1911-2004

39.  Jimmy Carter    1977-1981      b. 1924

38    Gerald Ford 1974-1977     1913-2006

37    Richard Milhouse Nixon  1969-1994    1913-1994

 

 

 

 

 

36   Lyndon Baines Johnson   1963-1969    1908-1973

35    John Fitzgerald Kennedy 1961-1963         1917-1963

34   Dwight D Eisenhower   1953-1961   1890-1969

33    Harry S. Truman      1945-1953         1884-1872

32.   Franklin Delano Roosevelt

31 Herbert Hoover     1929-1933      1874-1964

I hardly think we can blame the depression on Hoover, since it was worldwide and started just as he got in. It was mainly that it was to big for him to fix.

30    Calvin Coolidge.   1923-1929       1872-1933

29    Warren G. Harding   1921-1923      1865–1923

28    Woodrow Wilson    1913-1921     1856–1924

27. William Howard Taft       1909-1913      1857–1930 As I started to read more of his quotes, I decided I need to learn more about Taft. He sounds like my kind of guy. Not to mention as Teddy’s chosen successor, he had to have something going for him. (I did find one source suggesting that he was the one who said ‘speak softly but carry a big stick’, but I think that may have been him continuing Roosevelt’s policies.)

26   Theodore Roosevelt  1901-1909        1858–1919I have to admit that Teddy Roosevelt has always been one of my favorite presidents. Possibly it’s because he was from an era of great change, which has led to many movies with him in them as a minor part, so we get to feel that we know him when we really don’t.

It’s easy to like someone who is gets to beat up the bad guys, he can be an action hero and still be seen as a nice guy.

 

 

25 William McKinley      1897-1901     1843–1901

23      Benjamin Harrison      1889-1893               1833–1901

22/24   Grover Cleveland       1885-1889    1893-1897   1837–1908Had him back again after Harrison, I guess his first term didn’t look as bad as they thought.

21    Chester A. Arthur         1881-1885     1829–1886

20   James A. Garfield     March-September 1881       1831–1881He was assassinated, so much for radicals.

19  Rutherford B. Hayes      1977- 1881          1822–1893

18    Ulysses S. Grant     1869-1877     1822–1885

17     Andrew Johnson      1865-1869         1808–1875

Never underestimate the power of that mendacious press!

16      Abraham Lincoln   1861-1865     1809–1865A hero for our times- showing what a severely depressed person can accomplish.

15    James Buchanan    1857-1861        1791–1868

14    Franklin Pierce            1953-1857       1804–1869  Can we blame the Civil War on Fillmore and Pierce? Can we look at Pierce and say that voting for a military hero is not a good way to pick a political leader?  I think the issues were more complex than anyone could have handled, but the country selected someone who would do nothing because they were afraid of what change would bring.

13      Millard Fillmore      1850-1853           1800–1874

12    Zachary Taylor       1849-1850     1784–1850

 

 

 

 

 

 

11   James K. Polk.    1845-1849 1795–1849

I cannot help thinking of our current golfing presidents. Admittedly, Trump is combining leisure with profit.

 

 

 

10    John Tyler   1841-1845      1790–1862

How must it have felt to Americas to have gotten to double digits in their presidents?

9   William Henry Harrison    1773–1841 (this is the 31 day president)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.   Martin Van Buren    1837-1841     1782–1862

Van Buren presided over the removal of the Cherokees.

 

 

 

 

His quotes show a certain wit, and ‘common sense’, but in the one to the right, a sad innocence.

 

 

 

 

 

7       Andrew Jackson    1829-1837   1767–1845I defend Jackson in that he was a product of his time, although I am not sure I am not swayed by the Hollywood myths about him more than history. What will the movies make of our current politicians?

6     John Quincy Adams      1825-1829       1767–1848

5    James Monroe     1817-1825     1758–1831

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4    James Madison   1809-1817      1751–1836He got to oversee the first war, the war of 1812.

3       Thomas Jefferson     1801-1809     1743–1826

2         John Adams   1797-1801      1735–1826

1      George Washington   1789-1797  1732–1799

By way of trivia, these are the men who served as the Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled: Samuel Huntington March-July 1781, Thomas McKean July to November 1781, John Hanson 1781, Elias Boudinot 1782, Thomas Mifflin 1783, Richard Henry Lee 1784, John Hancock 1785, Nathaniel Gorham 1786, Arthur St. Clair 1787, and Cyrus Griffin 1788.

I hope you enjoyed this stroll down memory lane, and are inspired to think about our ancestors who were still trying to make a living, raise their kids, deal with illnesses, and pick a president from among a bunch of ones they probably didn’t really like. Remember the men and women who died because they believed that strongly that the chance to select the ones who represent our interests to the world puts us all in a better position than those who simply have to put up with whoever is in charge until they die.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memorizing

When I was a kid, mother drilled us in learning things. Some was poetry or songs, some was those blasted multiplication tables (Thanks Mother!), a lot of it was “manners”, say “excuse me” when you burp, stand when an elder enters the room, Say “How do you do?” and respond “Fine, thank you, how are you?” when asked.

Frankly, that “fine-thank-you-how-are-you” being automatic is a huge stress reliever for a kid. Knowing what’s right to say rather than having to try and figure it out takes off a lot of pressure. (Come to think of it, knowing that 6×7 is 42 instantly without having to work it out some other way is also really convenient!) While I recognize that there are cultural variations and they need to be acknowledged and respected, simply having the standard greetings be automatic is the grease on the wheels of social interaction.

I’m not going to say that automatic responses can’t be problematic. Apparently when my grandmother was a kid, it was drilled into her that you don’t use pronouns to describe your elders (“betters”). A kid would get roundly reprimanded for saying “she” or “her” in reference to their parents or grandparents. Personally I never got it, but when you’ve been trained that something is “the way things are done” you accept it.

Another social convention that confused me was “it’s rude to point” at a person, although apparently not at an object or in a direction. That ambiguity always threw me off. I think some people still use that one, and ‘point’ with their chin, or the palm of their hand rather than with a finger. I get that one. Since even if you don’t believe in it, energy can be directed through your finger, and people probably worried about hexing. Similarly “don’t stare at someone” probably comes from concerns about the evil eye or “overlooking”. Staring at someone fixedly is a way of initiating telepathic contact, so that’s probably the origin.

Still, I wonder whether why we don’t memorize things any more. Is it because of our low levels of focus. Has our concentration and memory skill gone down due to unknown environmental factors- like sperm counts? Or is it that we simply don’t try to do it anymore? Perhaps we could remember poems and songs as well as passwords and phone numbers if we simply decided that that was worth the attempt. I know it’s often a great convenience for me, and anything that reduces stress these days is good. (I’m not saying that drilling your kids in the math facts isn’t stressful, but it’s SO worth it to have it in your head. Again, Thanks Mother!)

Updates

I updated my Where I’ll be when page.  Finally. after four years.
I have also posted a new letter, which contains some political musings, pretty depressing, but if you want this one old ladies thoughts about this appalling situation, feel free to go to the most recent page: Oatmeal month