Containing Multitudes Since 2004
Hasn't history been kind to old Harry? He left office as the most unpopular president in history (that is until Tricky and W). He was a racist who integrated the armed forces, and an anti-Semite who demanded that the US be the first to recognize Israel. Yet he also took responsibility for all of his actions, including the decision to drop the A-Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and today his presidency is viewed very favorably. Well, I guess after Tricky, Carter, Bubba and W, almost anyone would look good.
Really? More unpopular than Harding or Hoover? I'm not saying that he wasn't, but that seems surprising.
I think the racism and anti-Semitism were more products of his time and upbringing - actions spoke louder than words for Truman, and he was extremely progressive in his administration compared to his successor. The casual corruption and cronyism was also a product of his time and political upbringing in the Pendergast Machine, and certainly not limited to Truman. He was certainly one of the best presidents we ever had.
I also consider Truman to have been a very good president. He took responsibility for his decisions and actions, and governed by what he thought was right and not what was popular. In today's world, where every issue is "focus grouped" and every decision is set up so the President can have "deniability", it is refreshing to look back on someone who didn't play the "blame game." I can see where my comments taken as sarcastic and denigrating to Truman. Rather, it was a tip of the cap to him that he went against his darker prejudices and did the right thing for this country. Supporting the civil rights of African Americans and helping the Holocaust survivors have a homeland were two actions which were morally correct, even if politically unpopular.
I know this photo, the caption is wrong: it's 1935 and he's hosting bums in a soup kitchen. You can't say bad about a man who'd do that!
The bums were better dressed back in the day.
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