Thinking about my life in terms of who's inhabiting the White House
Lyndon B. Johnson
I was born in 1967, so LBJ was president at the time, but I remember nothing about him at all. The first president I have any memories of was...
My first memories of Richard Nixon was him greeting astronauts on their return from missions. I also remember in 1972 when I was in kindergarten we had a mock election and I was one of the only kids to vote for McGovern. I also remember being asked why I was voting for McGovern and I said that, "I think we need new blood in the White House." Where did I get that? I don't know. I wish people had listened to me, though. I also remember being irked that the Watergate hearings preempted my afterschool TV schedule.
I don't have many clear memories of Ford, though I do remember pictures of him skiing and knowing that his wife supported the ERA where he didn't, which I thought was odd. I had much clearer memories of...
Carter was the president of my late elementary and early Junior High years. Once again, I was one of the few people of my class that, in mock elections, supported Carter. I remember thinking it was cool that his daughter, Amy, was about my age. I also was getting a nascent understanding of issues and being very concerned about energy conservation. The sweater speech made a real impact on me and I started becoming more conscious about how my choices affected my world.
Reagan was the president of my high school and early college years. I went through a lot of changes during those 8 years and my image of Reagan changed greatly too. I remember thinking of him as a kindly, avuncular old man when he first came to office and by the end of his time I was completely disillusioned by US foreign policy and its arrogant use of economic, cultural, and military power.
George H. W. Bush
This was an extremely formative period of my life in which I graduated from college, got married, and was generally extremely idealistic. I was still trying to figure out how I was going to impact the world around me and Bush was certainly a foil. I remember being very involved with the anti-war movement around Gulf War I, as I suppose we must now call it, or maybe just Gulf War Part A. This was an extremely productive period of time for me artistically and, in this crucible, I found a voice and received a call to ministry, though I wasn't sure how that was going to play out.
The years of Bill Clinton were very much my figuring out how to live within institutions - the institution of marriage, the church, and so on. Both of my children were born during this time so I also learned how to be a father. I started and finished grad school and found myself moving, a lot. From January, 1993 to January, 2001 I was the pastor of seven different congregations in four different communities. I had six different addresses. I bought my first home. I lived in three different states.
George W. Bush
The Bush years have been my Duluth years. I moved here the night Gore conceded the race. And these years have been marked with disillusionment. My marriage ended. My relationship with the United Methodist Church ended and I became a Presbyterian. I have had to rethink much of what I thought I was building my life on. At the same time these have been great years of relearning who I am and taking responsibility.
What will the Obama years bring for me? What will my personal narrative be of these years ahead? These will be the years that my children enter high school and, depending on his length of office, go to college. I just bought a house and am putting down roots here. I've been at the same church now for 5 1/2 years, but with the economy as it is, who knows what my job security is?
Just thinking aloud.