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One hundred years ago, on Aug. 2, 1923, Calvin Coolidge took the oath of office as president of the United States, administered by his father, a local official, in the early morning hours by lamp light. The death of President Warren Harding had come as a surprise while Coolidge was on vacation at the old family home in Vermont.
As the former governor of Massachusetts, Coolidge became widely respected for his actions in the Boston police strike (“no right to strike against the public safety”). That gained him a nomination as vice president on the Republican ticket in 1920, which went on to win the election.
It is agreed by many today that Coolidge has been underrated as a president. In office he was noted for his modesty, dignity and taciturn manner ( “Silent Cal”), frugality and common sense. The national debt from World War I was reduced and taxes were lowered. The nation, as a whole, became more prosperous in an era of rapid change. No scandals, in contrast to those in the Harding administration.
Although eligible to run for another full term in 1928, he did not do so. Fast forward one century. Two impeachments for then President Donald Trump, now federally indicted on more charges than would seem possible, unproven charges of colluding with Russians, partisan riots of both right and left, charges of a stolen election, and it goes on and on. Just to be balanced here, the incumbent president now faces accusations of corruption in collusion with family members selling influence to foreigners.
An average citizen can be excused for being exhausted, fed up with all this. There are serious issues to be debated. We need somebody like Coolidge, and a 2024 election on issues of policy, not of whose baggage is heaviest with accused misdeeds. Too much to hope for?
Alan W. Boone