Recently my wife and I visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, IL and the Gerard Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Grand Rapid, Michigan. We are spoiled in Kansas City to have immediate access to the magnificent Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, which I have visited many times.
During the election season these presidential museums and others should be required visits by all Americans and political candidates. Being an elected official is hard work and there are no easy answers. It may be many years after an elected official has left office before they know if their actions and policy decisions had the effect they intended. All three of these Presidents faced very difficult choices.
President Lincoln spent his entire Presidency dealing with the issue of slavery. The Museum shows the personal pain and difficult decisions the President had to endure to bring about the change he wanted. President Ford’s pardon of President Nixon and the difficult and painful process he had to go through to restore the public confidence both at home and internationally was inspiring to view. Of course, President Truman decision to “drop the bomb” was very controversial and marked a turning point in the history of our country.
These three Presidents were ordinary people who had extraordinary responsibilities and fulfilled these responsibilities to the best of their abilities. As we prepare for the upcoming presidential election, I wonder what will be the legacy of our next president.