There’s an old saying that warns, “Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.”
Warren Harding rose to the presidency in the wake of WWI, when an electorate was dismayed at the Democratic reign of Woodrow Wilson. America wanted change. We got it. It backfired. Historians generally consider Harding as one of the worst presidents ever.
In 1968, the nation was tired of the five-year quagmire in Viet Nam, plus many years of civil unrest and too much federal spending. Lyndon Baines Johnson would surely be a loser if he ran again, so he bowed out. Hubert Humphrey was seen as an extension of Johnson. He didn’t have a chance. The country wanted change! America got what America wanted.
We got Richard Nixon.
Six years later, it was all over. Nixon disgraced the presidency and became the first to resign from the Oval Office. Gerald Ford made a gallant effort, but his pardon of Nixon was too much to bear for a jaded electorate. The opposing party portrayed him as an extension of Nixon. America wanted change! And, it changed indeed.
We got Jimmy Carter.
The peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia, who had served only one term as governor, had an endearing smile and promised to raise the morality of the highest office in the land. Sound familiar? Again, Americans got what they wanted. We also got an economic disaster with runaway inflation reaching double-digits, soaring interest rates, a huge budget deficit and slow economic growth. Then, of course, the faux pas with the Shah of Iran resulting in the return of the Ayatollah, and the subsequent taking of 53 American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran for 444 days which many consider the onset of the war with radical Islam. And, did I mention the calamitous Mariel boat lift when Castro pulled a coup over the U.S. by shipping 125,000 of his most undesirable residents onto our shores?
Ah, yes. Change…the magic word.
Just two years ago, America had enough of a Republican dominated congress and made a change at the polls. Consequently, the Democratic Party became a majority in the Senate and House of Representatives. The most recent Gallup Poll conducted this month shows that congress’ approval rating has sunk to its lowest point in three decades. Only 14 percent of Americans approve of the job the House and Senate are doing, which is far lower than President Bush’s record-low approval rating of 28 percent. Americans wanted change, and we got it.
There are many examples in history where citizens of other nations thirsted for change. National pride was at an all-time low in 1933 when the German people elected a new chancellor who instilled vibrance and hope to sagging spirits. He certainly made changes, but not exactly what was expected. Most Germans refused to believe the warnings of “fear mongers” because they were blinded by Hope, and Charisma. The voters heard what they wanted to hear, and discarded what they did not want to hear.
Cuba wanted change. The new leader had fooled everyone, until he assumed office.
Change is what’s happening throughout Africa today.
Change is a stimulating sound. But change doesn’t always work out for the better. Change can be a bitter pill. Americans should think twice about feeding into the glow of change before voting this November. In these times, when international terror and radical jihadists are at our doorstep, another backfire could portend long term disaster.
Be careful what you wish for.