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Monday, August 29, 2016

Thoughts on PBS Documentaries on U.S. Presidents

PBS has been playing documentaries on recent US presidents. The documentaries are from the 90's and 2010s, and are pretty interesting, especially on how I can learn more about the country at a particular point in time before I was born or too young to remember.

My thoughts: LBJ wasn't very progressive with civil rights (he continued some of Kennedy's work, but signed a 1965 act banning immigration from Africans and Asians and Eastern Europeans), and made a bad choice in entering the Vietnam War, and was pretty regretful over it. He just seemed lost when anti-war movements started, and said privately that there would be killing no matter what measures he took to continue or end the war.

Nixon was a horrible person, and I am amazed he became president. He was a dirty person who ruined other people's lives for political gain, and was incredibly distrustful.

They didn't air one on Ford.

Carter was better as a peace activist than being the president, and him acting like a sermonizing preacher to the country backfired hard. He worked hard to broker peace between Egypt and Israel, but was in a tough spot with giving asylum to the shah, which led to the Iranian hostage crisis. And the hostages only got released the minute Reagan was sworn in as president, to take away a win from Carter. Carter seems like a nice guy, but shouldn't have been president, he seemed too small-town for it.

Reagan was charismatic and witty, but seemed stuck in his own head a lot, and his Alzheimer's affected his decision-making, leading his staff members to either take over his duties or resign over their disagreement with the Cold War or nuclear threats. His meeting with Gorbachev was groundbreaking in finding peace and understanding with Russia, but he also participated in the Iran Contra situation while feigning ignorance, and didn't publically acknowledge AIDS until 1987, six years after the disease started infecting and killing people. I could see why conservatives liked him, but his economic policies led to two major recessions, and he seemed too elite for the majority of average Americans.

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