Monday, September 12, 2016

Questioning the Health of Presidential Nominees

Voters elect presidents on their intended agenda and policies, and the guarantee that they can execute the duties of the office to their fullest. Yet, there always is the understanding that circumstances may arise during their tenure that hinders that pledge. As such, voters also go to the polls to select vice-presidents for assuming the presidency should the president die, resign or be removed while in office. This is the exact reason that the health of the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, was questioned throughout the election. Voters were concerned McCain - given his age and documented health issues - could die in office, thus ascending the very polarizing vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, to the presidency. Voters, including a significant number of conservatives, said no thank you to that scenario.

In 1841, William Henry Harrison died 32 days into his presidency (March 4 - April 4) due to complications from pneumonia - the same condition from which the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, allegedly is suffering according to reports from her campaign. This set the stage for the first constitutional crisis concerning the presidential line of succession (since codified by the 25th Amendment, in 1967), in which vice-president John Tyler eventually was sworn in as president. Same as the fears raised during the 2008 election, unfounded or not, this country should not have to contemplate a repeat of that potential situation at this critical time.

Vice-Presidents elected to presidency in their own right:

  • John Adams 
  • Thomas Jefferson 
  • Martin Van Buren 
  • Richard Nixon 
  • George H.W. Bush

Vice-Presidents assuming presidency after president died in, resigned or was removed from office, and re-elected:

  • Theodore Roosevelt (assassination) 
  • Calvin Coolidge (natural cause) 
  • Harry Truman (natural cause) 
  • Lyndon Johnson (assassination)

Vice-Presidents assuming presidency after president
died in, resigned or was removed from office, but not re-elected:
  • John Tyler (natural cause) 
  • Millard Fillmore (natural cause) 
  • Andrew Johnson (assassination) 
  • Chester Arthur (assassination) 
  • Gerald Ford (resignation)

Worst case scenario: would the current leading vice-presidential nominees - Tim Kaine (D), Bill Weld (L) and Mike Pence (R) - join the ranks of the second group? Or be another overlooked note of presidential history consigned to the third group? All things considered, voters must choose wisely when electing a president...because the nation’s own health depends on it.

©2016 Steve Sagarra

    Sunday, September 11, 2016

    Spirit of America

    We, the People, are an indivisible alliance of ideas, principles and values, and of individuals and cultures. Given the melding of this alliance, the United States is manifest in design not of destiny but of determination in common cause. With this manifest, we are a nation that is embracing of all to not only devote to but also uphold this common cause toward the goals of our preeminent forefathers and founding documents. To achieve these goals, we as a nation have been and ever shall be resourceful. From first in flight to first on the moon, Americans always will be inspired by ingenuity in our resourcefulness. Because of this history of resourcefulness and ingenuity, our conviction holds strong. And due to conviction, we are accepting - both of our strengths and, especially, our weaknesses in order to indeed cultivate and fashion a more perfect union for all who would embody and pursue its glories.

    Does this mean that we are as a nation perfect and infallible? That we have ended discrimination, deterred marginalization or stymied radicalization? That we overwhelmingly have convinced others to bear more fruit rather than ill-will toward our fellow inhabitants not only in this country but throughout the world? No, it does not. Nevertheless, this nation has been and ever shall be that beacon of such hope and promise, pledged in earnest and forged in sacrifice since our provenance. This simple yet important virtue has sustained through difficult times and steered during prosperity. So what is America? Traverse from sea to shining sea, visit a majestic landmark for free, eat and drink the local fare in golden jubilee. Undeniably, you would witness that we are the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, the wretched refuse, the homeless and the tempest-tossed. Yet, more than anything, we are the invigorated, the fortunate, the resolute individuals, the blessed gems, the persevering and the undaunted. We stand together in the face of a challenge, and challenge each other to stand together united in our similarities and in spite of our differences.

    Since inception as a sovereign republic, Americans have never desired to be conquerors, oppressors or rulers in the name of absolute authority. Likewise, we never have wished to be subjugated by the same, instead standing with those who would throw off the shackles of such tyranny. It is to this core trait that America owes its very existence, and to which many still flock in search of such dominion and independence from their native hardships and persecutions. Admittedly, this innate characteristic has elicited much consternation, tumult and even rebellious hostilities to balance the necessities of governance and the demands of liberty over the years. Nevertheless, our ability to compromise and reconcile this incontrovertible duality that seems at odds is what binds us as a whole. To paraphrase former president Abraham Lincoln, the union of government and citizens established and composed “of the people, by the people and for the people” could not stand without it.

    Naturally, it is the people - from all backgrounds and ethnicities - who are the heart and soul of America. With this patriotic camaraderie - as opposed to xenophobic nationalism - comes a sense of belonging and identity amalgamated and distilled from many nationalities. In this environment, traditions of the whole take precedent while allowing the free expression of individual and regional ones without fear of reprisal or suppression as so often occurs throughout the world. Despite cynicism and negativity to the contrary, we are but only one of a few nations who can boast of this inherent and guaranteed right whether native- or naturalized-born.

    What is the spirit of America? It is our uniqueness in shared beliefs, fundamentals and tenets, an unprecedented commitment and loyalty to all with blind fealty to none and, most especially, those unabashedly willing to integrate and maintain these virtues on a daily basis. It is the opportunity and promise afforded by these conditions to achieve a life that otherwise might not have been forthcoming under different circumstances. History certainly did not begin with the Treaty of Paris (1783) or adoption of the U.S. Constitution (1789); it is prideful arrogance to believe such a notion. Nevertheless, may it never wane and may these United States of America never face that last gleam of its twilight so long as its citizens continue to strive toward a more perfect union as envisioned by our founders.

    ©2016 Steve Sagarra