Friday, November 7, 2008

An American Success

The United States has a long history of rugged individualism. Throughout our history, strong men and women have made a difference. The Founding Fathers fought the British empire over the right to have a government that was by the people and for the people. There were those who sought to end the cruelty of slavery. There were those who faced head-on the guns and batons of businesses who wanted to keep labor unions out. There were leaders such as Abraham Lincoln who did not have access to education and yet, his was curious enough to go out and learn. He went from a log house to the White House.

There are others who are less well-known. Some, like Booker T. Washington I read about in school. Against the background of being born a slave, he succeeded in establishing a college. Theodore Roosevelt invited him to dinner at the White House. One hundred years ago, this was met with much criticism.

Times have changed and for the better. We have a President-elect whose personal history is one that blends overcoming early hardships as well as representing the new mobility of our nation. Obama comes from a broken family. His father was from Kenya. Obama was born in Hawaii just two years after it became a state. He only met his father once and his mother had to go on welfare. With the help of his grandparents, he was able to go to some very good schools. Like many others, he has used the education he received to advance.

It wasn't just his education, which to some means elitism, that propelled him to the White House. Like other leaders in the mold of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan, he goes beyond the simple concept of individualism. All of these leaders succeeded to positions of leadership on their merits. Others have done the same without being well regarded or remembered.

I have my thoughts on why the Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Reagan stand out more so than than Cleveland, Harding, and other presidents. I'm not going to share them at this time. I seem to be at a cross-roads with many of the bloggers I read on a daily basis. I'm inviting opinions.

Why do you think George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan stand-out as presidents?

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