Saturday, June 21, 2008

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose*

*(Sorry about the missing diacritical marks, Blogger won't take them.)
Over the past 5 years and a bit, there's a song from 40 years back that pops into my head fairly regularly. While searching YouTube for something else, I discovered that there's an updated version. I don't usually get into politics and world affairs too much on this blog, but this time I couldn't resist. Warning: these are quite well-done videos, but some of the images are harrowing and not for small children.
Here's the original version:

The last lines refer to Lyndon Johnson's statement in October 1964 (Paxton used a little poetic license there) that "We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves."
And here's the update:

Now, although I was cheering just as loudly as anyone on campus that night (March 31, 1968) when he announced that he would not run again for President, I have a soft spot for old LBJ. I think of him as a tragic figure in American history -- deeply flawed as a human being, but someone who could have been one of our greatest presidents but for the Vietnam War. I don't think that's the case with Bush 43 and that's all I'm going to say about that.

The three Presidents about whom I've read the most books are Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson. I'd recommend Doris Kearns Goodwin's Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, Robert Caro's three-volume biography (so far), or Robert Dallek's volumes (though I've only read the first one, Lone Star Rising) for insights into what made LBJ who he was.

And I leave you with one last song -- which says about the same thing as this post's title (tr: The more things change, the more they remain the same).

No comments: