“Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory”
– John Kenneth Galbraith
Last weekend, GHIW and I traveled to the Windy City for a quick romp of theatre, dining, a visit with old friends and new, and a whirl through the Field Museum’s special exhibit, “Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years.”
The exhibit was memorable. My excitement at viewing Jackie’s gowns, suits, dresses, hats – the defining couture of my upbringing, segued to nostalgia for those halcyon days of scratchy black and white television images and my younger, simpler existence of the ’60’s. But by the end, GHIW and I both found ourselves depressed and angry.
How sad that no one younger than us has any memory at all of a time when the White House was a gathering place for intellectuals, artists, musicians, writers and thinkers. Who is left to imagine a presidential administration that could and did reach out to other nations in a spirit of equality – speaking other languages, bridging cultural differences.
We know now that the Kennedy years were not the Camelot years we imagined. But the tone and timbre of those years were pitch perfect; refreshing and inspirational and far-reaching. One need only contrast the Kennedy administration to the current administration to understand how low we’ve descended on the evolutionary ladder.
My God! We have a president who can barely speak his native language. A man who never traveled beyond the borders of his country until after becoming president. A president who brags about not reading newspapers. A president who surrounds himself with sycophants and sanctimonious opportunists.
JFK sent Adlai Stevenson to the United Nations as ambassador.
“W” wants to send John Bolton.
I want to send bananas to the White House ’cause it’s nothing but a monkey house now.