I always thought this would be an interesting idea for a movie, the segments of our lives that happen in presidencies. The President of the United States is a big deal and shapes history. Right now there is a close race and no one knows what will happen. Either Romney looses as becomes a question for trivial pursuits or Obama loses and becomes Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush like; considered a loser now but uncertain what history will actually say about our recent presidents. That does make this time kind of exciting, not knowing what will happen and what our future holds for us. Its also very interesting to know that what we think today might be seen differently in 50 years. Maybe George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq will be seen as a turning point in the middle east, the catalyst for the Arab Spring. Maybe he will be viewed as a hero for starting his Freedom Agenda. Or, conversely, maybe he will be seen as the turning point in American politics and future. The man who bankrupted us, the man who showed the United States looking weak because we couldnt control the insurgency in Iraq or Afghanistan. To me thats very interesting, we dont know how he will be viewed. We dont know how President Obama will be viewed, savior of another Great Depression or continuing policies that made the situation worse.
What has always kind of interested me is the 4 year or 8 year time slots presidents play in our lifetimes. For me President Reagan was with me from high school, through college, to living on my own starting a career in NYC. I never paid much attention to him; the image I have of him in my head is from the Phil Collins video where he and Nancy are parodied, I forget the songs name, Land of Confusion maybe? But those years were what I went through and they were also the years I saw Reagan on TV. For Carter I was much younger and didnt really grasp what was going on. My biggest memory of him was his Playboy interview where he talked about ‘lust in the heart’ who wants to hear that from a president? I have memories of being in summer camp listening to the radio when Richard Nixon resigned, having no realization of the impact that had on the Country or the world. For Bill Clinton I was older, in my 20s so I remember him a lot more, but I was never interested in politics until 9/11. I just remember he and Hillary tried to create a healthcare plan, which wasnt of interest to me since I had good benefits at the time. I remember Hillary always having bad hair, she never looked quite right in whatever she was wearing or the headbands. But those 8 years occupy a time in my life that I will always remember, with the POTUS in the background. Reagan is the president I remember most in the background talking on a muted TV. President H.W. was a lot less memorable to me since he just seemed to be an extension of Reagan. I remember that summer of 1988 when people were all up in arms over who would win; I said to myself and others, Bush will win, stop talking about it.
Through the Clinton years I became more of an adult and I benefited from the economic boom. I remember the 2000 election; I remember being disappointed that Gore lost. In 2001 and 2003 I remember saying that the tax cuts were a big mistake; I personally was doing very well financially and would see only $10 per week savings. I remember clearly thinking this was a mistake and would set our Country on the wrong path. Then 9/11 hit, at the time we lived 3 blocks from the Twin Towers. That was a horrible time, but Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld seemed so resolute, so sure, so reassuring and strong. They seemed to me like the perfect people to respond to the outrageous attack on New York City. It was such a shame that what they were saying was completely wrong and meritless. And the invasion of Iraq, history will tell, but now it seems like such a waste of human lives and our Country’s debt. When Obama came along I was much more aware, being in my 40s I was much more attuned to what was going on. During his first term I was laid off and havent found a job in 2 years.
Presidents occupy a unique place in our lives; they are there in the background while we are living our lives. To me its very interesting to think of the 4 year segments they each had and my memories of, not what they did, but how my life evolved.