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The happy sad fable of Benjamin Harrison's Inauguration [View All]

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-18-13 05:40 PM
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The happy sad fable of Benjamin Harrison's Inauguration
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Once upon a time, long ago and far away in politics, Presidents were not imperial. They were folks. No, not "just folks," but, still, at least real folks.

In 1888, Republicans were still very much the party of Lincoln. Grover Cleveland was the twenty-second President of the United States.

Even though Cleveland, son of a minister, had not been born to privilege, he was a Democrat, but a really good one.

Biographer Allan Nevins wrote: "in Grover Cleveland the greatness lies in typical rather than unusual qualities. He had no endowments that thousands of men do not have. He possessed honesty, courage, firmness, independence, and common sense. But he possessed them to a degree other men do not."<6>

H may or may not have fathered an illegitimate child, but that is another story entirely,

President Grover's first term was going to end in March 1989. He wanted to be President again.

However, Benjamin Harrison, a Republican, wanted to be President, too, like his Grandpa, Whig William Henry Harrison.

Republican Benjamin defeated Democrat Grover, becoming the twenty-third President of the United States

(For some reason, Harrison's photo at the White House website is one of the least flattering of all the Presidents' images at that site.)

Now, may people had thought that Grandpa President William Henry Harrison had died so soon after his inauguration because of his Inauguration Day. That day, the weather had been chilly and windy and President William had not dressed warmly. In fact, President William Henry had not come down with a cold until fully three weeks after his inauguration. Still, many people believed that he had died because of his Inauguration Day.

On President Bennie's Inauguration Day, there was a rainstorm, which must have brought thoughts of Grandpa's inauguration.

Outgoing President Grover Cleveland not only attended the inauguration, but actually held an umbrella over the head of President Bennie while President Bennie took his oath of office. (Fortunately for the umbrella toting President Grover, President Bennie was one of the shortest Presidents of the U.S. at 5'6".)

The whole story ended happily (and very historically) for President Grover.

In 1892, he ran for President again, against President Bennie. This time, President Grover won. The victory made him the first President, and (so far) the only President, to serve non-consecutive terms. And so it was that our twenty-second President also became our twenty-fourth President.

You would think that this happy ending would have led to politicians from different parties being nice and nicer to each other and to Presidents being more and more down to earth.

Sadly, however, the lesson was not a lasting one. In darker times to come, Republican President Hoover and Democratic President Elect Hoover would ride to the inauguration in a convertible. with Hoover looking away from Roosevelt for the entire ride, for all to see. Presidents would become unwilling to hold an umbrella over their own heads, let alone someone else's. And politicians would become so stupidly and pointlessly spiteful that everyone in the land was disgusted by them.

The End.

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