“It’s not doing what is right that’s hard for a President. It’s knowing what is right.” – Lyndon Baines Johnson
In a normal, more conventional timeline, a large chunk of our news cycle would be devoted to two upcoming Presidential conventions. These two conventions would decide who would be best equipped to hold the position of President of the United States, one of the most consequential positions a person can hold in our modern world. Their nominees would battle it out to see if the 44th person to hold the office would continue to be the 45th President or if there would be a 45th person who will be the 46th President of the United States.
But those conventions now have (or should) be cancelled. And since I imagine that we all have a lot of free time on our hands and while there’s still an even number, I say we spend the time from Father’s Day to the Fourth of July holding what could be the most controversial Avocado Tournament so far…
Who has been the best President of the United States up to this point anyway?
The President of the United States has a unique place in world history. Even before the office took on the Cold War burden of being the “leader of the free world,” it was seen as being something of a “citizen-king.” It is the idea that any person from any walk of life and humble origins could rise to be the head of their country’s government for a brief period of time, capable of steering the course of history and be seen on the same level as royalty. For better and for worse, America is an invented nation and its twin myths of political equality and rags-to-riches opportunities are embodied in the person of the President.
Now, is that a fair burden to put on a position that was conceived as being the chief administrator of law enforcement and our diplomat to foreign courts? No. Has its promise been reflected in the largely wealthy WASP men who have inhabited the office? Not at all. Much like the United States, the idea of the President has often not lived up to its promise and its pitfalls must be reckoned with when discussing its inhabitants.
After all, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say every single holder of the office has ordered things done that the average person would find unthinkable and immoral to do themselves. Some have definitely done it more than others.
On that note, some might wonder if this tournament is even a good idea during a time where Americans are very publicly reckoning with their history. Heck, even John F. Kennedy said it would be impossible to judge a president unless you had been in their same position because the job was too hard. Which totally would have been the page quote if I could have found it online, DAMN IT!
But in a election year where we’ve seen an abject lack of leadership from the Executive branch, there is perhaps no more vital time to debate what Americans should be able to expect from their Presidents and who best exemplified those qualities in the past. No one here may love James K. Polk or George W. Bush, but comparing them might offer insight into what is valued in an chief executive and a leader. At the very least, it’ll be an interesting discussion.
And if you’re a non-American Avocado, please jump in! The Presidency is such a recent creation that the decision-making process of all of them is pretty well-documented and all kinds of viewpoints can be taken. While I admit to having a sacred cow or two, all opinions are valid as long as they are in good faith and we can talk with each other in a reasonable, fact-based, and emphatic approach that can balance representing both victims of bad policies and the impossibility of the office’s duties.
But if y’all just want to shit post about William Howard Taft in the time honored PT meme tradition so it isn’t as depressing as 1933 in here, feel free to!
Alright, on to the matches! The seeding was based off the 2018 Siena College Research Institute Poll of Presidential Experts and, yes, I have a non-consecutive approach to the third round’s odd number. There’s 22 matches this round and I’ll be sure to have a discussion topic for each one.
Remember be Civil, don’t War, and for God’s sake, leave 1812 alone. Now, let this laboratory of Avocado democracy commence!
You have 48 hours to cast your vote for the next round of Presidents!