Born in 1946, William Jefferson, George Walker, Donald John and yours truly awaken to our 73d Christmas today. And, that’s about all we have in common. Although, I do think that William Jefferson and I receive our draft notices on the same day in 1969. With some angst, I first report to Ft. Polk as ordered and serve with distinction for 2 years. William Jefferson seeks political assistance and opts out of his military obligation. However, William Jefferson, George Walker and Donald John do have something in common with Hiram Ulysses Grant. His name later evolves into Ulysses S. Grant, the result of a series of clerical errors. Each of these men become a President of the United States. Nearing completion of the Ron Chernow biography, GRANT, I wish to relate a few impressions of him and his significance today.
I read that Lincoln frees the 4,000,000 person black population but Grant makes them citizens. Grant’s perseverance with regard to enacting the 13th, 14th & 15th Amendments to the Constitution is monumental. He believes that a strict plan of Reconstruction is required in order to reunify and maintain a peaceful nation. Grant struggles with and survives the debacle that is Andrew Johnson. Although wary of rekindling the Civil War, he recognizes the evil nature of Ku Klux Klan and its widespread Democrat support. Reluctantly, but aggressively, Grant uses the military to create a lasting peace and protect millions of Freedmen. These extraordinary accomplishments far outweigh his documented inability to consume alcohol moderately. They also overshadow his noteworthy naivete with regard to loyal supporters who would use him.
As I conclude the Grant biography, Washington, D.C. appears to be substantially uncivil. Also, the number of scoundrels that prey upon the system is of concern. A comment in the book that is most noteworthy follows. “There might be as much incivility now as in the days of Jefferson.” And, I am sitting in Oklahoma City thinking that things cannot get any worse than the current atmosphere in Washington, D.C. Perhaps objectionable behavior is always present in seats of power and this Republic will survive, even thrive. Hiram Ulysses Grant is a scarcely known giant among the Presidents and Generals of this nation. Do yourself a favor and learn about him.