History Repeats Itself: The Parallels Between Donald Trump And Warren G. Harding

History Repeats Itself: The Parallels Between Donald Trump And Warren G. Harding

Believe it or not, there was a Presidential Cabinet far more corrupt and incompetent than Trump's could ever hope to be.
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f you've been paying any attention to the news, you likely know that the country is in turmoil. Between repeated displays of incompetence/conflicts of interest in Trump's Cabinet picks, Kellyanne Conway's insistence that the Bowling Green Massacre actually kinda-sorta happened, the President's extreme executive orders, and WHPS Sean Sphincter Spicer's earnest, yet wildly ineffective, attempts at damage control, it feels like we're living in completely uncharted territory -- a Twilight Zone, if you will.

What if I told you, however, that this sort of bizarreness has some precedence in the Oval Office? That given the sordid history of one particular President, we have plenty reason to be worried about what the next four years will bring?

I'm, of course, talking about this guy:


That's Warren G. Harding (1865-1923), the 29th President of the United States. You probably haven't heard of him. If it weren't for the fact that I spent hours pouring over Judith St. George's So You Want to Be President as a kid to the point of memorization, I probably wouldn't have either. Here's how George describes him:

Ignoring the bit about being handsome, that description sounds mighty familiar...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

If you compare the trajectories between Harding and Trump from the very beginning, parallels begin to emerge. Much like Trump, Harding won over voters with an appeal to normalcy in the wake of a politically charged war and advances in civil rights for minorities, all the while deflecting accusations from critics deriding him as "the least qualified candidate since James Buchanan." Ultimately, Harding's efforts paid off with an easy landslide -- 60% of the popular vote -- and he was inaugurated on January 20, 1921. (This is inverse to Trump, who lost the popular vote and whose approval ratings are steadily declining as we speak...but that's an analysis for another day.)

Then there are the policy parallels...or lack thereof, seeing as how Harding and Trump were of entirely different mindsets. However, there is one instance Harding and Trump were in sync. In an era where anti-Semitism and fears of progressive socialism/communism ran rampant due to recent global conflicts (hmmm...), Harding's Congress passed the Per Centum Act of 1921 as a temporary means of halting immigration. In essence, the act restricted the number of immigrants from any given country to 3% of the total population of that given ethnic group already in the US (as of the 1910 census).

If that sounds needlessly complicated, that was likely the point: the way the law was phrased strategically targeted "undesirables" like East European Jews and Italians while allowing "desirable" groups like the Irish and Germans to enter unscathed.

Somehow, I feel like I've seen something similar before...

Oh. Right

There's also, of course, the matter of the Ohio Gang. Think of them as the Roaring '20s equivalent of Trump's cabinet: close allies/friends/relatives of the President with conflicting interests and/or no political experience who tended to place personal interests above the interests of the country. Collectively, they wreaked havoc with such transgressions as [deep breath]:

º Using political power to make backroom business deals with large oil conglomerates for personal gain

º Engaging in illegal activities while acting as the head of the Department of Justice

º Appointing oneself colonel while embezzling over $250 million in government funds from the Bureau of Veteran's Affairs

º Taking part in bribery, influence peddling, and lobbying while in office

º A whole host of general incompetence and laxness in dealing with pressing matters, resulting in the effectiveness of several departments being compromised completely

The parallels between what has happened and what many critics fear will happen are uncanny.

What I'm trying to get at here is that the wackiness in the White House right now isn't entirely unprecedented, and has the potential to get far, far worse. Harding was rather naive, easily manipulated, and mostly oblivious to the chaos in his Cabinet. Trump, on the other hand, seems to fairly complicit in how his cabinet is handling things, if not outright encouraging them. It's this key difference that will ultimately distinguish what happens in the Trump administration and what happened in Harding's, and the reason why I can only be so hopeful that things will resolve themselves neatly once he leaves office.

The Harding administration eroded trust in the government and laid the groundwork for the inevitable economic collapse at the end of the decade. One can only hope that Trump and co. will realize the grave responsibility they now possess and not let history repeat itself. Perhaps, even, Trump will demonstrate some humility and take a page out of Harding's playbook. As the latter himself so eloquently reflected, "I was not fit to be president, and never should have been."

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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