Friday, February 12, 2016

Clinky S. Truman: Tale of a Snuggle Buddy

I have a new man in my life. Relax, it's not a boyfriend. At least not in the technical sense. His name is Clinky S. Truman. You see, Clinky is a Valentine's Day present from someone whom I have grown super, super fond of. A true kindred spirit, he like myself is a complete history nut. When I went to his house and saw he had original newspaper clippings from the day Lincoln was shot I was awestruck and I don't know if starstruck is the correct word, but eh.

Like myself, this fellow can name all the presidents in order, and like me he even knows the name of their wives. What does this accomplish in the scope of the world? Absolutely nothing.

It's rare to have the dork taled bond like this, and most people don't understand it. Once, I was on a date with a dude who was a complete and utter Neanderthal. Granted, he was handsome but in the words of Judge Judy, "Beauty fades and dumb is forever."

In any event, it was a party that was pretty horrific and my date went to watch some show on television which was more akin to his IQ. Yes, a show where the participants risked death and the barbaric spectators at home gaffawed. My date, the duranged version of Pauly D, thought the show was the bees knees as he and his fellow cave men engaged in a bizarre ritual of chest pounding. Bored and ready to put a pencil through my eye, and trust me his friends were too stupid to have ever seen one, I left and found the two dorks I knew in the room.

My date for the evening. It looks as bad as it was, trust me.

Within minutes, we found ourselves discussing General McClelland and how he nearly bungled The Civil War for the Union. We also began to engage in a discourse about how the art of war had changed. While I didn't want to be disrespectful to my date, I was talking about things that expanded my mind. I didn't mean to be gone for long but was sucked in. I figured my date found some cave dweller closer to his phylum of pretty, feeble minded trash. In events like these, usually not only is that the case but he leaves with her, the girl who's panties he doesn't have to work to get off.
Not here. Pauly D walks over, harshes my mellow, and hisses, "What, am I not exciting enough for you?" No Slow Poke. You aren't. And then he went on some trailer park-esque tirade about how he spent money on me therefore he owned me for the evening. I told him I had a job and if he wanted that attitude he could hire a hooker. Then I reminded him I was in fact smarter, and that was the beginning of the end. The end came when he sent me a text, I corrected his massive spelling mistakes, and he told me just because I could spell didn't make me better, but alas he misspelled the word better.

I do have the connection to one person aside from the man who sent me the teddy bear. That person is my dad. When we watch Big Battles, we are like two Gremlins at the movie theatre. The rest of the family whines as we hold them hostage. Hitler and his evil Nazi shitheads are about the be defeated by the Allies Goddamnit! The rest of the family groans, we know America is going to win. Yes, but don't tell us that. Don't spoil the miracle.
My dad and I watching Big Battles. Yeah, it scares everyone.

I wanted to name my new stuffed friend after the man who sent him. This fellow, as I mentioned also a history nut, has bloodlines descending from The Mayflower. His name even sounds so, and it would have been a dignified teddy bear name. Then he said his childhood nickname had been Clinky. Thus it became the bear's name.
I decided to give the bear the second half of his name after perhaps the most underappreciated but perhaps the most honest leader America has ever had, Harry S. Truman. Yes, the little senator from Pendergast. The one prone to occasional vulgarity and the one who didn't take any shit from anyone. They called him "Give 'Em Hell Harry" and oh yes he did.
I wouldn't want to piss this dude off, ever.

Truman became the Vice President quite by accident. Roosevelt's advisors felt Truman would be the best Vice Presidential candidate because his predessor leaned too far to the left and America was paranoid about Communism since the Russian Revolution. Roosevelt was intrigued that a man from Missouri, a notorious conservative state, could be balanced, fair, and a middle of the road liberal.
However, Roosevelt and Truman only met a few times. Because he was Vice President, Truman was treated like an understudy, akin to the backup quarterback. While benched, he had to be ready to play at any given time, but as we all know most of the time the back up does not see game time. Truman knew the basics of Roosevelt's foreign policy, but his job was to lead Senate and stay out of Roosevelt's hair. Added bonus, also to avoid any major scandal but no one truly cares about the Vice President.
That is, until Roosevelt died in the arms of his mistress. Truman went to comfort Eleanor Roosevelt. He asked her if she needed anything. She said, "Me? You're the one in trouble now."
Of course she would know. Much like the House of Clinton, while the man who benefitted from the patriarchy was falling weak to his basest of instincts, his more intelligent wife, not given the opportunities because of sexism, was running the country. The more her husband was out of the house the better. Truman knew this too. This is why he gave Mrs. Roosevelt so many UN opportunities.
The real President Roosevelt

The antithesis of the overeducated, out of touch, yet benevolent near dictator he replaced, Truman hadn't recieved a formal college education but somehow became an administrative judge and then head judge of Jackson Country, Missouri. Direct, feisty, and fair, Truman was not only a welcome relief to America but someone who was truly in touch with the people he ruled because not so long ago he had been one himself.
While Germany surrendered, America was still in the grips of conflict with Imperial Japan. Truman wanted a swift exit with a swift solution. America had been at war for far too long. So was it a land invasion or the atomic bomb?
 Either way, the American dead had piled up throughout the years. Americans were weary of body bags and weary of mothers burying their dead sons. While it meant killing Japanese innocents, it was either a million of ours or a million of theirs and it was no other way.Needless to say, after a heartwrenching wrestling match with his conscience, Truman did the still controversial thing of dropping the bomb.
Truman warned the Japanese government of his intentions and gave them ample time to surrender. Alas, they did not take the American president seriously. One atomic bomb came their way. There was still some resistence. Then another one was dropped. Finally, Japan surrendedered. Truman knew this was a lose/lose situation. He wasn't happy about it. But he was thrust into the seat of commander and chief and had to do what was necessary.
Action shot, Truman doing something presidential.

As far as leaders went, Truman was ahead of the bell curve. He was a practical progressive and a liberal with a backbone. Long before Obama made Obamacare a reality, Truman proposed national health care. His heart aching for the Jews of Europe, much to the consternations of conservatives, he helped create the state of Israel. Truman was also instrumental in the Civil Rights movement. Like Roosevelt before him, he sought to desegregate. He wanted Civil Rights not just for blacks but for Native Americans, Latinos, and women as well. Being a fair and balanced man, Truman, if he had the dialogue, would have probably opened the conversation to the topic of LGBTQ people. Also, he led the Americans from a war time economy to a peace time economy and saw growth both times.
Korea, nicknamed Mr. Truman's War, in some ways it was a blunder. The goal was to contain The Soviet Union. It was the auspicious start of America acting as an odd big brother. Truman wanted Wilsonian ideals and wanted to end isolationism. Still, while national security was at an all time risk, more so in those days then it is now, with the Rosebergs and all, perhaps in retrospect his actions make sense. 
Like everyone else in America, I have mixed feelings about this. Not every culture is equipped to embrace democracy. Yet at the same time, the arrival of America presents the fact their might be a better option. Also, each time America has taken down a dictator they were an evil presence that needed to go. While we have done so in countries where the natural resources were plentiful, it still bettered the lives of those people. Perhaps America should decide whether it wants to be Big Brother to no one or everyone and not just the people who had oil. Like Truman said in regards to Israel, "It's not because they have oil but it is my moral duty to do so."
Either way, much like Obama, he had a conservative house that attempted to thwart him. Not taking his hits lying down, he fought right back. He knew a great many Americans voted Republican, but knew the very party they supported was the one that sought to impede their rights and resources.
Truman also caused quite a stir when he fired Douglas MacArthur. At any job, you cannot obey your boss regardless of your military expertise. Especially if you boss is the president, Pal. Thus Truman's approval ratings were at either an all time high or a bitter low.
MacArthur, smoking on the job. No wonder he got fired.

His daughter sang and a critic ripped her to shreds, he became a dad and responded in kind. Truman said he responded not as the president but as a father. Bess Truman, his wife, hated The White House and being First Lady. His mom would call and tell him how to run the country. Bitter about the outcome of the Civil War, she refused to stay in the Lincoln bedroom even if her son was president.
At the end, what made Truman so tremendous was he was president during a difficult time. He had to make some decisions that no leader should have to make anywhere in regards to the safety of the people he governed. America was in the midst of a tough time home and away, and we needed a tough leader like Truman. While he had much to contend with, moreso than the Bush father and son duo, he dealt with these things as he kept his sanity, sense of humor, and above all things dignity as well as honor.
God, do I wish Harry Truman were running today.
Upon retirement, Truman returned to Missouri and didn't want to collect off of his past as President. He felt it would degrade the office and the people of the United States. No man who has held the office, before or after, would have been so noble. While financially unstable in those times, Truman made money from selling the rights not only to his life story but history as he understood it.
Later, when the gravity of Truman's situation was revealed, a bill was past to give a pension to those who were president. Bottom line, Truman would rather die a pauper than be a shill who ever feasted off the bones of others. Since that time, those that proceeded him were overeducated, opportunistic, silver spoon fed sons christened for political office who would have had no problems capitalizing off of once being commander and chief.
History has been kind to Harry Truman and with good reason. He was not a career politician who sought to sell out those he supported. Truman's main focus was the people he governed, the sanctity of the office, and above all things, being fair. And FYI, Truman was a true student of history and literature. If he were alive and well, he would probably he happy as a pig in shit in front of the History Channel, too.
However, high schools still do an injustice to this leader who perhaps was the most unsung American hero. They gloss over his presidency in order to finish the year on Civil Rights. While these things are important, one cannot ignore the man who laid the groundwork for that. Or as Truman would say, and this is a Truman quote in the room of a history teacher who ironically gave him the shady skip treatment, "There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know."
The teddy bear is really named after this man, Teddy Roosevelt

So perhaps half-naming a teddy bear after Truman is not far off, although it was originally named after another president, Teddy Roosevelt. That being said, my teddy bear reminds me that it is important to be fair, kind, balanced, just, and it is okay to have a backbone. That it's okay to stand up to bullies. That sometimes, you give the most when people expect the least from you.
On the flipside, you are never too old to have a stuffed, oversized, snuggle buddy.
Truman giving me a big teddy bear hug and kiss

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