Sunday, June 26, 2022

These Are The TimesThat Try Men's Souls


 Are political things really this bad in America? 

Well, last week when visiting family in Austin Texas, I didn’t see anything bad going on. On our way to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum we saw no rioting in the streets. No traffic accidents. Actually, I don’t recall seeing any emergency vehicles at all. 
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
Before we discuss awful problems, let’s dwell on something good.
The LBJ Library and Museum is a monolithic ten story building on the University of Texas Campus. The exhibits are very meaningful and pleasantly done. Johnson was President from 1963 to 1969. That’s when I was in my 20’s and somewhat able to appreciate him as the most powerful man in America and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. I’ve read biographies about him and also about his advisors. The Museum exhibits were very consistent with everything I’d previously learned.
LBJ as a young man wanted to become a politician and he consistently progressed step by step all the way from complete novice to President. 
The Museum exhibits tell about his famous and usually successful political efforts. And, the exhibits capture his love and care for the welfare of people of all races and conditions of life. He had a great Heart.

Literacy Test  Prohibited  Voting Rights Act
Prohibited Voter Literacy Test 
LBJ had self-confidence, but was also a humble man who easily identified with poor people and wanted to protect them. His Great Society legislation helped many. But probably his greatest accomplishment was the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Learn more on the Civil Rights Act:

The First Lady of the Johnson Administration was none other than Lady Bird Johnson. The Museum showcases her tremendous support to LBJ as his confidant and person he wanted to have lunch with everyday to discuss his challenges. Independently of LBJ, Lady Bird contributed broadly to the American ways of life.
Both LBJ and Lady Bird were exceptional leaders.

At this point in the Revolutionary War, George Washington’s army had suffered humiliating defeats in which New York City was lost to British troops. Thousands of volunteer soldiers were abandoning the war effort. Washington knew that without better morale and victories the Revolution would fail. 
Three days before the Battle of Trenton, Washington caused Thomas Paine's pamphlet to be read to the troops. It began with the famous lines, “These are the times that try men’s souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country.” 
After hearing the reading of the pamphlet, the troops rallied and Washington’s army defeated the British at Trenton. Beyond the inspiring words, the pamphlet was meant to “shame neutrals and loyalists to support the cause.” 
Paine and Washington were exceptional leaders !

  • Here are a few of the symptoms:
  • America has grown more and more polarized and at war with itself. 
  • The delegates at the recent Republican Convention in Houston voted to adopt a resolution that “former President Donald J. Trump was the victim of a stolen election.” This lie has been rejected by multiple Federal Courts and the Supreme Court of the United States.

  • Donald Trump during COVID-19 repeatedly showed his ignorance and poor judgment by insulting and attacking the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and it’s spokesperson Dr. Fauci. Dr. Fauci courageously maintained his self-confidence and authority. Trump often suggested false cures and offered conspiracy theories to the public. It is very likely Trump’s bad mouthing of the CDC and Dr. Fauci contributed to a statistically significant lowering of confidence in the CDC. The statistical findings can be found by right clicking the link and selecting “Open Hyperlink” option.

  • Congress itself has been extremely polarized. Mass shootings have increased in frequency. And, most recently we’ve been shocked by the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, a Democrat, was one of many presidents famous for their political knowledge and leadership skills. From learning about them we can gain inspiration. Johnson was a dedicated servant to all Americans. He died in 1973. Lady Bird died in 2007. 
Many Republican presidents have been knowledgeable politicians with leadership skills. We are not without adequate role models.
But at this present time, Donald Trump with his Big Lie about a stolen election, is publicly supported by the Party of the Republicans, and also by a very large percentage of the Republicans in Congress, and also—and most recently—by Republican delegates at the Houston Republican State Convention.
Privately, many Republicans accepted the 2020 election as a legitimate win for President Biden. The State and Federal Courts are unanimous in finding there was no significant fraud in the election.
Publicly Trump’s former Attorney General Bill Barr and Mitch McConnell (the most powerful Republican in the Senate) accepted Biden’s win without delay. Barr labeled the “stolen election” idea as “bullshit.”
The columnist Paul Krugman in his book, Arguing With Zombies (2021) points out that vital issues can be fruitlessly tied up in political agendas—so that “everything is political.” The facts then can be irrelevant. He repeats the famous statement of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Krugman goes on to say that in modern America, “…a lot of people do believe that they’re entitled to their own facts.”

Our modern American crisis can improve only when most all of us step up our efforts to share and collaborate with one another. 
Here is a worthwhile caution from LBJ:
“If we turn away from knowledge and truth, we will not succeed… But if we are courageous and farsighted and farseeing, if we have no fear of the truth, if we seek only after light, then we and our children and our children’s children shall know the greatness of this wonderful, beautiful land we call America.” (Newberry and Silvernail, Eds., 2017)

Visit the The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum!
It's monolithic exterior I thought at first was rather overdone; but after touring the museum and soaking in the images and writings in the exhibits, I feel the museum's exterior is perfect for President Johnson and Lady Bird. Their contributions in all their adult lives were huge! 
        For references, see the relevant page on the website.
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