Dreams are funny things. I am not always sure what precipitates the things that pop into my head during dreams.
Last night, actually more towards morning, I dreamed that someone challenged me to name all the presidents that have served while I was alive. Weird, but I started doing it. I woke up as I was working on the list and then became obsessed with getting it right.
I didn't have too much trouble, except mixing up the order of a few that served while I was a teen. Politics weren't much on my radar then.
It did get me to thinking about how my political views have been shaped and changed by the list. I was born when Eisenhower was the commander-in-chief. Nothing to remember there, I was just too little.
But my first recollection was of the Kennedy's. I was in first grade when he was shot and my father came to get us at school. He cried as he drove us home. We didn't understand and it kinda scared us.
The Vietnam war was a staple in our lives and my parents were very critical of Johnson's administration. They were Republicans. It shaped my views of war.
I was in junior high as Nixon ran for office. I knew my parents were voting for him. My friends and I made fun of each other's parent's choices. Hubert Horacio Humphrey was a very funny name for us to taunt with. Of course so was Spiro Agnew for the other side.
I began to follow politics a bit and thought Nixon was a bit slimy as he approached his final days of office. We all ran around waving the two handed victory sign at each other to mock him.
But Ford seemed nice and always provided us a bit of comic relief. Mostly I remember TV bits of his wayward golf shots and his stumbles as he got off planes. "Saturday Night Live" began to shape my mind's window of the presidency.
I was married to a "lost hippy" during the Carter years. Despite being raised in a Republican household, I was registered as an independent and still found the middle was where I identified. H1 and I were not always in political agreement (or for that matter on many other things).
I like Carter, but he just didn't have the public appeal to serve a second term. The oil embargo and failed hostage rescue in Iran doomed him. I think his real legacy will be the work he has done since his presidency.
Reagan was despised by the left. I was living surrounded by many on the liberal left at the time. Doom and social collapse was prophesied. It didn't happen. But, the trickle down economic policy didn't trickle any wealth down to me or any one I knew either.
George H. Bush's administration didn't do much for my economic situation. It just seemed more of the same, but with a less media friendly president to try and sell it.
Clinton seemed to kick start things on an economic front. Economically things were looking good for many.
Environmental issues were being addressed. But morally, I was disgusted by his personal habits.
George W Bush just plain went against so much of what I wanted to see happen in our country. The 9-11 tragedy, war and economic collapse seems to be his legacy. The radical swing to the political right scared many of us.
Now we have again swung back leftward as a nation. I am still pretty happy with the direction we seem to be heading, but there is a lot of time left in this term to see.
There is more to every one of these presidencies than I sum up here, but this is my journey. I am humored by those who are preaching doom and disaster, just as the left did during Reagan. We will swing along as a country back and forth, right and left.
I sleep at night, no matter who is in office. Hopefully my list will grow longer and our country will stay strong and vibrant as it rocks its way through history.