By James Lincoln Collier
In the recent rather rambling chase for the presidency, there seemed to be a good deal of feeling abroad that it was Hillary’s turn. Bill had had his innings, and despite a small misstep—if that’s the appropriate term—came out of it pretty well. The Bushes believed that it was Jeb’s turn—it seemed only fair, as the other male members of his family had been president at one time or another.
Applying this principle more widely means that Earl Browder ought to have become president. He ran for the office pretty often and never even got close—for example: 80,000 votes in 1936 while Roosevelt got 28 million. Of course, one of Browder’s problems was that he was running on the Communist ticket, which put off a lot of Americans. At that time Communism was more popular than it is today but there was, nonetheless, some feeling in America that Uncle Joe Stalin ought not to have shot quite so many of his friends as he did.
Or take the St. Louis Browns. The only time they won a pennant was in 1944. Most of the best baseball players were in the military service, but the Browns had a lot of players the U.S. government thought unfit for military duty. The Brownies had a very good pitcher named Bobo Newsome who won twenty games for the hapless Brownies one year, but had to lose twenty to do it, principally because too many of the Browns’ hitters didn’t remember—or had never learned—that you had to score runs to win. Finally, the Browns had to slink away shamefacedly and become the Baltimore Orioles. Surely, the Brownies ought to have been given a turn at winning a pennant.
Or take money. Not long ago I read in the newspaper that a thousand Americans own half the country’s wealth (something like that, anyway). What would Abraham Lincoln have thought of that? Or George Washington? Or George Bush? The Bushes have a lot of money, but nothing like what Donald Trump has—if we can take him at his word, which surely we can, as he’s president. Why should Trump have all that money when some writer is eating cornflakes for breakfast, especially when he has to pour ginger ale on his cornflakes because Trump has put a tariff on milk (I think that’s right)? Why isn’t it the writer’s turn to have a million billion dollars? If that isn’t unfair, I don’t know what is.
What about the Native Americans? They got to America before anyone else did, invented scalping, cultivated corn successfully, and made Custer wish he’d stayed home to hoe his tomatoes that day. How come Trump can be president when the natives were here first? Surely it’s their turn. Geronimo would have made a better president than a lot of those we’ve had recently. He’d have sorted out the Clintons and Bushes mighty quick, I can tell you, to say nothing of Donald Trump. I’d like to see Trump complain to Geronimo about Congress. What a hoot Geronimo would have gotten out of that. If he were in the White House we could get rid of that Easter Egg Roll on the front lawn and have scalping practice instead. I’d love to see the look on Putin’s face when Geronimo handed him a tomahawk and gave him a choice of senators. That would put a stop to a lot of loose talk about sanctions.
Or take the Nobel Prize. As far as I can see, it always goes to somebody from a country whose name is spelled entirely with consonants, mostly “l”s. Surely it’s the turn of somebody from a country like Sierra Leone which has plenty of vowels in it. I’m not sure that Sierra Leone is a country or what, but it ought to be because it has plenty of vowels. True, it’s hard to spell, but most people will get close enough. The name of my country isn’t so easy to spell either. A lot of people end up with the “Untied States.” Actually, at the present moment Untied seems about right. Any country that can have a whole family for president is pretty untied, if you ask me.
However, you may not have asked me. All I mean is that the Clintons, the Trumps and the rest have had their turn. I’d like to see how the Trumps would handle Geronimo. That’d be a test of presidential savvy all right. Especially for someone who’s never handled a tomahawk.