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Monday, February 19, 2018

Presidents Day 2018

Monday, February 19th  

Presidents Speak for Themselves
A Reflection
Presidents are human beings.

They have all been men (so far), flawed men, everyone who has ever held or sought the office. 

Some have had heroic attributes. All of them have had craven moments. There have only been forty-four of them, until now, the 45th. A couple of other presidents have barely made it into office, only a handful have won the office while failing to earn the popular vote. The forty-third was appointed by the Supreme Court, the first time.

Nevertheless, they were all legitimate…until now.

This president, the occupant of the oval office, the forty-fifth, I was prepared to accept him as the latest president, even though he lost the popular vote, even though there is a cloud of intrigue surrounding his victory; foreign interference (Russia), domestic malfeasance (the FBI), I was prepared to accept him, just as I had accepted Regan, and Bush who were also elected to the highest office, without my support or my enthusiasm or my vote. I accepted them because I believed that they would uphold the rule of law (even though they did illegal things, or illegal things were done in their name).

In the end I believed they would support the American system, the separation of powers, the separation of Church and State, the freedom of the press, an independent judiciary.

The forty-fifth president will not.

He is seeking to undermine the courts, at every turn. He actively undermines our institutions, and works to undermine the rule of law.

He has called the free press an enemy of the people.

This kind of rhetoric makes him a threat to the Republic. The power of his office makes him a threat to humankind

He should listen to the words of these presidents, and we should listen to him, take seriously the things he says and does in our name.

The words of the presidents:

1st George Washington (Two Terms)
“If men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter…reason is of no use to us; the freedom of speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter.”
A Real President - April 30, 1789 - March 4th, 1797

2nd John Adams
“The liberty of the press is essential to the security of the state.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1797 - March 4th, 1801

3rd Thomas Jefferson (Two Terms)
"The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure."
A Real President - March 4th, 1801 - March 4th, 1809

4th James Madison (Two Terms)
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
A Real President - March 4, 1809 - March 4th, 1817

5th James Monroe (Two Terms and Last of the Founders)
“Free people seldom intrigue together; because there is no motive for it. Between the leaders however of a free people, and the neighboring monarchs, such intrigues have often taken place, and always will take place, whilst liberty is odious to monarchs, and men can be found base enough to betray her.”
A Real President - March 4, 1817 - March 4th, 1825

6th John Quincy Adams (Lost the Popular Vote)
“The freedom of the press should be inviolate.”
President - March 4, 1825 - March 4th, 1829

7th Andrew Jackson (Two Terms)
“As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of persons and of property, liberty of conscience, and of the press, it will be worth defending.”
March 4th, 1829 - March 4th, 1837

8th Martin Van Buren          
“There is a power in public opinion in this country - and I thank God for it: for it is the most honest and best of all powers - which will not tolerate an incompetent or unworthy man to hold in his weak or wicked hands the lives and fortunes of his fellow-citizens.”:
A Real President - March 4th, 1837 - March 4th, 1841

9th William Henry Harrison 
“There is no part of the means placed in the hands of the Executive which might be used with greater effect for unhallowed purposes than the control of the public press. The maxim which our ancestors derived from the mother country that "the freedom of the press is the great bulwark of civil and religious liberty" is one of the most precious legacies which they have left us. We have learned, too, from our own as well as the experience of other countries, that golden shackles, by whomsoever or by whatever pretense imposed, are as fatal to it as the iron bonds of despotism. The presses in the necessary employment of the Government should never be used "to clear the guilty or to varnish crime." A decent and manly examination of the acts of the Government should be not only tolerated, but encouraged.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1841 - April 4th, 1841

10th John Tyler
“The guaranty of religious freedom, of the freedom of the press, of the liberty of speech, of the trial by jury, of the habeas corpus…will be enjoyed by millions yet unborn…”   
A Real President - April 4th, 1841 - March 4th, 1845

11th James K. Polk   
”Thank God, under our Constitution there was no connection between Church and State, and that in my action as President of the United States I recognized no distinction of creeds in my appointments office.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1845 - March 4th, 1849

12th Zachary Taylor 
“As American freemen, we cannot but sympathize in all efforts to extend the blessings of civil and political liberty, but at the same time, we are warned by the admonitions of history and the voice of our own beloved Washington to abstain from entangling alliances with foreign nations.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1849 - July 9th, 1849

13th Millard Fillmore
“The law is the only sure protection of the weak, and the only efficient restraint upon the strong.”
“Church and state should be separate, not only in form, but fact - religion and politics should not be mingled.”
A Real President - July 9th, 1850 - March 4th, 1853

14th Franklin Pierce 
“While men inhabiting different parts of this vast continent cannot be expected to hold the same opinions, they can unite in a common objective and sustain common principles.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1853 - March 4th, 1857

15th James Buchanan           
“The country is indebted for the clause prohibiting Congress from passing any law respecting an establishment of religion or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or of the right of petition. To this we are also indebted for the bill of rights which secures the people against any abuse of power by the Federal Government.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1857 - March 4th, 1861

16th Abraham Lincoln (Assassinated, Ended Slavery)     
“Whenever this effect shall be produced among us; whenever the vicious portion of [our] population shall be permitted to gather in bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and rob provision stores, throw printing-presses into rivers, shoot editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure and with impunity, depend upon it, this government cannot last. By such things the feelings of the best citizens will become more or less alienated from it, and thus it will be left without friends, or with too few, and those few too weak to make their friendship effectual. At such a time, and under such circumstances, men of sufficient talent and ambition will not be wanting to seize the opportunity, strike the blow, and overturn that fair fabric which for the last half century has been the fondest hope of the lovers of freedom throughout the world.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1861 - April 15th, 1865

17th Andrew Johnson (Impeached)
“Notwithstanding a mendacious press; notwithstanding a subsidized gang of hirelings who have not ceased to traduce me, I have discharged all my official duties and fulfilled my pledges.”
Impeached President - April 15th, 1865 - March 4th, 1869

18th Ulysses S. Grant (Two Terms)
“Let us labor to add all needful guarantees for the more perfect security of free thought, free speech, and free press, pure morals, unfettered religious sentiments, and of equal rights and privileges to all men, irrespective of nationality, color, or religion.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1869 - March 4th, 1877

19th Rutherford B. Hayes (Lost the Popular Vote)           
“I am not liked as a President by the politicians in office, in the press, or in Congress. But I am content to abide the judgment the sober second thought of the people.”
"But at the basis of all prosperity, for that as well as for every other part of the country, lies the improvement of the intellectual and moral condition of the people. Universal suffrage should rest upon universal education. To this end, liberal and permanent provision should be made for the support of free schools by the State governments, and, if need be, supplemented by legitimate aid from national authority."
President - March 4th, 1877 - March 4th, 1881

20th James A. Garfield (Assassinated)        
“In the long, fierce struggle for freedom of opinion, the press, like the Church, counted its martyrs by thousands.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1881 - September, 1881

21st Chester A. Arthur
“If it were not for the reporters, I would tell you the truth.”
A Real President - September 19th, 1881 - March 4th, 1885

22nd and 24th Grover Cleveland (Elected Twice, Serving Two Non-consecutive Terms)          
“Officeholders are the agents of the people, not their masters. Not only is their time and labor due to the government, but they should scrupulously avoid in their political action, as well as in the discharge of their official duty, offending by a display of obtrusive partisanship their neighbors who have relations with them as public officials.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1885 - March 4th, 1889, March 4th, 1893 - March 4th, 1897

23rd Benjamin Harrison (Lost the Popular Vote)  
“God forbid that the day should ever come when, in the American mind, the thought of man as a 'consumer' shall submerge the old American thought of man as a creature of God, endowed with 'unalienable rights'.”
President - March 4th, 1889 - March 4th, 1893

25th William McKinley (Assassinated)        
“Equality of rights must prevail, and our laws be always and everywhere respected and obeyed. We may have failed in the discharge of our full duty as citizens of the great Republic, but it is consoling and encouraging to realize that free speech, a free press, free thought, free schools, the free and unmolested right of religious liberty and worship, and free and fair elections are dearer and more universally enjoyed to-day than ever before. These guaranties must be sacredly preserved and wisely strengthened. The constituted authorities must be cheerfully and vigorously upheld.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1897 - September 14th, 1901

26th Theodore Roosevelt (Two Terms)       
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
A Real President - September 19th, 1901 - March 4th, 1909

27th William Howard Taft   
“The intoxication of power rapidly sobers off in the knowledge of its restrictions and under the prompt reminder of an ever-present and not always considerate press, as well as the kindly suggestions that not infrequently come from Congress.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1909 - March 4th, 1913

28th Woodrow Wilson (Oversaw the end of Women’s Sufferage)           
“Publicity is one of the purifying elements of politics. Nothing checks all the bad practices of politics like public exposure.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1913 - March 4th 1921

29th Warren G. Harding      
"We must not abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of press, or the freedom of assembly because there is no promise in repression."
A Real President - March 4th, 1921 - August 2nd, 1923

30th Calvin Coolidge 
“The freedom of the human mind is recognized in the right to free speech and free press. The public schools have made education possible for all and ignorance a disgrace.”
A Real President - August 2nd, 1923 - March 4th, 1929

31st Herbert Hoover 
“Absolute freedom of the press to discuss public questions is a foundation stone of American liberty.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1929 - March 4th, 1933

32nd Franklin D. Roosevelt (Four Terms)
“Freedom of conscience, of education, or speech, of assembly are among the very fundamentals of democracy and all of them would be nullified should freedom of the press ever be successfully challenged.”
A Real President - March 4th, 1933 - April 12th, 1945

33rd Harry S. Truman (Two Terms)
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."
A Real President - April 12th, 1945 - January 20th, 1953

34th Dwight D. Eisenhower (Two Terms – Hero of the Second World War)     
"Censorship, in my opinion, is a stupid and shallow way of approaching the solution to any problem. Though sometimes necessary, as witness a professional and technical secret that may have a bearing upon the welfare and very safety of this country, we should be very careful in the way we apply it, because in censorship always lurks the very great danger of working to the disadvantage of the American nation."
A Real President - January 20th, 1953 - January 20th, 1961

35th John F. Kennedy (Assassinated)
“Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed-and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian law-maker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment--the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution--not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants"--but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.”
A Real President - January 20th, 1961 - November 22nd, 1963

36th Lyndon B. Johnson (Two Terms, Passed the Civil Rights Act)       
“Democracy is a constant tension between truth and half-truth and, in the arsenal of truth, there is no greater weapon than fact.”
A Real President - November 22nd, 1963 - January 20th 1969

37th Richard Nixon (Two Terms, Resigned)          
“You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.” ~ Last press conference before resignation…
Resigned the Presidency amid Charges of Corruption and Obstruction of Justice
January 20th, 1969 - August 9th, 1974

38th Gerald Ford (Un-elected)         
“I believe in the first amendment and the absolute necessity of a free press.”
President - August 9th, 1974 - January 20th 1977

39th Jimmy Carter    
“When people are intimidated about having their own opinions, oppression is at hand.”
“We live in a time of transition, an uneasy era which is likely to endure for the rest of this century. During the period we may be tempted to abandon some of the time-honored principles and commitments which have been proven during the difficult times of past generations. We must never yield to this temptation. Our American values are not luxuries, but necessities - not the salt in our bread, but the bread itself.”
A Real President - January 20th, 1977 - January 20th, 1981

40th Ronald Reagan (Two Terms)  
“The First Amendment was not written to protect people and their laws from religious values. It was written to protect those values from government tyranny.”
A Real President - January 20th, 1981 - January 20th, 1989

41st George H. W. Bush       
We know what works: Freedom works. We know what's right: Freedom is right. We know how to secure a more just and prosperous life for man on Earth: through free markets, free speech, free elections, and the exercise of free will unhampered by the state.”
A Real President - January 20th, 1989 - January 20th, 1993

42nd Bill Clinton (Two Terms, Impeached but not Removed)
“The road to tyranny, we must never forget, begins with the destruction of the truth.”
A Real President - January 20th, 1993 - January 20th, 2001

43rd George W. Bush (Two Terms, Lost the Popular Vote in the First)
"I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy…that we need the media to hold people like me to account. I mean, power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive and it's important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.”
A Real President - January 20th, 2001 - January, 20th 2009

44th Barack Obama (Two Terms)   
“We have to uphold a free press and freedom of speech -- because, in the end, lies and misinformation are no match for the truth.”
A Real President - January 20th, 2009 - January 20th, 2017

45th Donald Trump (Lost the Popular Vote, Elected with the Aid of a Foreign Adversary)
“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, AABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
A Fake President, Failing - January 20th, 2017 – One year and one month in, and it cannot be over soon enough.

These words speak for themselves. One of these quotes is not like the others.

The despot uttered it should be removed from office, not because he made this statement, but for this sentiment and his many other crimes.


Remember This:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

-          U.S. Constitution, First Amendment