I probably should have worked something up yesterday for this, but, you know, three-day weekend. Those pointless analyses of blockbuster films don’t create themselves, you know. Instead, let’s have a pointless analysis of the American presidents. I’d like to know what you think about the 45 men who have served as the heads of state of the home of Le Big Mac.
This is a Discourses post. I’m not interested in partisan motivations. You shouldn’t feel like you have to attack or defend a particular president’s record because (R) or (D). These types of conversations are all about saying what you think without getting bashed or feeling like you’re playing for a particular team. It’s just you and what you really think.
Intellectual freedom. When do you ever get to do that? Think of it as a “safe space” except your honest opinions are welcomed, not pushed out. I moderate these threads aggressively to promote high-quality discussion, so don’t be an asshole.
Let me offer some good conversation-starter questions. You don’t have to answer any of them to take part in the discussion. You can jump in with whatever you like as long as it’s on-topic.
- Who were the best and worst US presidents and why?
- Which president had the most impact on our world today?
- Which president do you think had the best understanding of his role? You can interpret this in a few ways. Think about which president was most faithful to the job description in Article II of the Constitution. Maybe which president applied the powers of the presidency in the way you think was wisest? The position has evolved so much over time that I’m not sure we really understand what it is supposed to be anymore.
- Which president do you think is the most misunderstood? This could be either presidents who were unpopular in their own time but made the right decisions or presidents who we get wrong today, for good or bad.
- Let’s play Alternate History. You don’t like the president you got? Fine. Let’s talk about what would happen if the other guy (or gal) won. How does Al Gore respond to 9/11? What happens in year one of the Hillary Clinton presidency (spoiler: endless Congressional hearings and investigations)? What if Lincoln didn’t win the 1860 election? Nixon won in 1960, so what happens in Vietnam? Endless possibilities.
For what it’s worth, I think Franklin D Roosevelt is still the most impactful on the present day. He engineered a breathtaking expansion of the role of the president and the federal government with it. He pushed us into involvement into World War 2 and by the time it was over, the US had begun its “imperial” superpower status it has today.
Gun control is a hot topic this week and it was FDR who signed into law the first federal gun law that restricted certain classes of weapons. He ended Prohibition and I get drunk at least once a week. Finally, he was the first president to effectively wield electronic media to communicate his message directly the American people. Had Twitter been around, he’d have used it too.
What do you think?