Hunkered Down And Holed Up

Hurricanes! Amirite?

Day 8 still no power at our house but half an hour away, our son is back on the grid so we bugged out and headed for heat and lights. They say that we might have power back in our house on Wednesday or Thursday.

What have I been up to all this time? Lots of closet cleaning, lots of napping and lots of reading about LBJ. Hal K. Rothman’s “LBJ’s Texas White House – Our Heart’s Home” makes me want to live in the Hill Country of east Texas, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Lyndon Johnson and The American Dream” made me wish she wasn’t so clipped and cold about a man she had a close and complicated relationship with and Robert Dallek’s “Lone Star Rising – Lyndon Johnson and His Times” clearly laid out the opposing forces that made the man’s personality what it was.

One thing that comes through loud and clear in any book you read about LBJ is that no matter what kind of finagling it took to make things happen,  he sincerely believed in the causes he championed. He was a long -term thinker and deeply aware of how his words and actions would affect his legacy. I read and reread the speech in which he announced that he would not seek reelection in 1968 and could not help but compare his principles and motivation to those of America’s current president. this came at the end of 30 minutes updating details and changes in strategy about the Vietnam war:

“For 37 years in the service of our Nation, first as a Congressman, as a Senator, and as Vice President, and now as your President, I have put the unity of the people first. I have put it ahead of any divisive partisanship. And in these times as in times before, it is true that a house divided against itself by the spirit of faction, of party, of region, of religion, of race, is a house that cannot stand.

There is division in the American house now. There is divisiveness among us all tonight. And holding the trust that is mine, as President of all the people, I cannot disregard the peril to the progress of the American people and the hope and the prospect of peace for all peoples. So, I would ask all Americans, whatever their personal interests or concern, to guard against divisiveness and all its ugly consequences.

Our reward will come in the life of freedom, peace, and hope that our children will enjoy through ages ahead. What we won when all of our people united just must not now be lost in suspicion, distrust, selfishness, and politics among any of our people.

Believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year.

With America’s sons in the fields far away, with America’s future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world’s hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office–the Presidency of your country.

Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.”

Can any one anywhere in this country imagine Barack Obama putting the country ahead of himself?

Lyndon Johnson remains as unpopular now as he was at the time of this speech. Although he carefully crafted and controlled his public image at every moment, in the end he donated 100% of his papers to his library in Austin without censor for “history to be his judge.” His library is the only one with no fee charged for admission and the papers are open to all who seek them. Can anyone anywhere in this country imagine Barack Obama doing that?

9 thoughts on “Hunkered Down And Holed Up”

  1. This is the 4th major municipal crisis I have been through as a person with community responsibility in the last 18 months: blizzard, Irene, Halloween Ice Storm and Sandy.

    If there is one major thing I have learned (among hundreds of things), it is that the two worst qualities in a person charged with dealing with an emergency are 1) incompetence and 2) excessive ego. Both prevent meaningful action.

    The first you either are afflicted with or you aren’t. The second is under your control. We have worked hard during our crises to develop an atmosphere of collaboration and meritocracy. Period. It has been of great help.

    Our current President is cursed with both attributes and – in keeping with his world view – we all have to share the consequences. In a better world his failings would only be visited upon himself.

    Thus the only thing we can do at this point is see to it that he is removed from his position of responsibility. He is singularly ill-suited to it. I say this not as a Republican, a white male or anything other than as an American.

  2. Welcome back, we were worried about you and your neighbors. Still are, for a fact.We all think we’re so smart, then Mother Nature shows up and proves that we might as well be cavemen, wondering why the god of thunder is angry.

    Stay safe and warm and dry.

  3. There’s a picture of Chris Christie with Obama during the storm, working together. All my friends on the left posted, “Look how great it is that Christie can put partisanship aside to work towards helping people.” All of my friends on the right posted, “Look how great it is that Obama can put partisanship aside to work towards helping people.”

    We all have our own egos, causing us to perceive things as we do.

  4. I’m so glad to get a nice long post from you. I hope your basement is dry. It’s been a long week, and every time I hear New Jersey on the news I think about you and hope you and Sami are well. It’s good to know the kids are too.

    My ego perceives that you and Sami are smart to be prepared no matter what government entity thinks they’ve got it covered, I hope that’s also reality. The truth is no one is going to be able to do much for the first 2 or 3 days except the people themselves. If no other fact is gleaned from this there is at least that one. I took it to heart and made a 72 hour emergency list and bought about $80.00 of things from it. Still a lot to go, but you never know what will happen, so Christmas this year is books and blankets.

  5. Glad you’re safe, been thinking of you. Parts of West Virginia rec’d 5 FEET of snow, some are still without power, same as you. We just missed that here in my part of VA. Hope you’re back in your powered home soon!

  6. Have been watching the blog for signs of life. Your post after the election expressed my thoughts exactly. Maybe I need to read about LBJ. There was such a long, ugly history of campaign stealing by him here in Texas that I never cared for him. I do think he left office a changed man–for the better. I do not expect that of the current occupant. Meanwhile, do what Sgt Friday would do — click that ballpoint pen, put in his pocket, and carry on.

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