I have grown tired of the current political season.
I have wanted to ignore it, but all of the media is saturated with the day’s political news. My vote for the presidency is well established, for sure, but there are others whose minds have not been satisfied with either candidate. So the political season will continue to grow.
We are at a precipice, though, a changing moment in American history. The next president will be different from the previous two. They will be of a different age, with a different pedigree, and different agendas. But even with those peculiarities, I am still wishing it would all end sooner.
I teach history on the collegiate level, and believe to have a fairly keen sense of America’s trail in the last two hundred years or so. My grandfather talks of his days as a soldier in World War II, and speaks fondly of President Truman, who gave the order to drop the world’s first nuclear weapons upon two Japanese cities, which forced the Japanese to surrender. Those bombs, though they killed around 200,000 people, saved my grandfather’s life, for before the orders for the bombs were given, he was undergoing amphibious training to invade the islands of Japan. There is no doubt that his chances of survival would have been slim, and, therefore, mine would have been the same.
So when a very comprehensive biography of Harry Truman viewed on PBS last week, and though my threshold for all things political is at an all-time low, I felt obligated to watch. And I was then amazed at the simplicity and the practical nature of a forgotten president. His ascendency to the presidency came at the death of Franklin Roosevelt, and soon, his ideas and his past experiences, his poor upbringing and studious and persistent nature, the prominence of his morality, his business successes and failures, and his desire to serve — all were used to guide America through the end of the most violent war the world has ever seen. He has become one of my favorites.
I encourage you to watch the video here. It’s long, but divided into very short chapters for easy viewing. And it may take you awhile. But you will come away with a new sense of honor for the heaviness of that job, and you will wish that all men, or women, who will ever hold that job, would be a little more like Harry.