Here today, gone tomorrow.
That tired old cliché is spot on today as the United States replaces President George W. Bush with a new chief executive, Barack Obama, at mid-day tomorrow. Of course, as a savvy consumer of news, you already know that. But have you ever considered how presidential politics figures in your own family history?
You may be lucky enough to have a president lurking somewhere in your family tree. Or, more likely, there are stories passed on about brushes or near-brushes with past leaders of the free world.
I have a former vice president, John Cabell Breckenridge, in my own family tree, but he’s several branches over from my direct descendants. Sadly, most of the presidential-related stories in my family tree that I’m familiar with are my own.
Keep in mind that I live in Iowa, where serious presidential candidates practically take up residence in the months leading up to our state’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Even though I’ve been generally apolitical in my adult years, I have found myself up close to a couple recent candidates – John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.
As a high school student in 1960, we were briefly released from class to observe a passing motorcade, but I can’t tell you if it was Richard Nixon or John F. Kennedy that zipped past our school that day. I clearly remember being inspired at a rally for candidate Eugene McCarthy eight years later, however.
Then there was the time I practically bowled over George McGovern at Custer State Park in South Dakota and the time I was invited to go pheasant hunting with candidate Jimmy Carter’s campaign consultant and eventual press secretary Jody Powell in 1976.
I’m sure there are similar stories from other family members, but I have yet to hear them. What about your family?
Flickr photo of the White House courtesy of ktylerconk.