For of all sad words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are these, “It might have been.”
– John Greenleaf Whittier
Remember how proud Catholics were when JFK became the first Catholic president in 1960 — and how disgusted many were later when he turned out to be a left-leaning, womanizing, incompetent egotist?
Remember how proud black — and white — Americans felt when Obama became the first black president? He really could have been a postracial unifier, a symbol of all that’s great about this land of opportunity. But no, just like Kennedy, he was absorbed only with himself, and the country be damned.
What an opportunity squandered!
The First [Blank] President
The symbolic value of Barack Obama’s election is hard to overstate, and the jubilation of black Americans well warranted. But, being the first this or that can be a millstone as well as a milestone, and jubilation turn to disgust and disgrace.
Remember the “first Catholic president”? American papists were ecstatic at the election of John F. Kennedy, but Camelot came apart, and rather quickly. The first Catholic president turned out to be a whore-mongering, double-dealing, feckless idiot, a Catholic in name only, and an everlasting embarrassment to members of the faith he professed.
I’ve overcome the disgrace by disavowing JFK. To my mind, Ronald Reagan was the first Catholic president, in practice if not in name. Black Americans may want to recalculate their pioneer, too, if Obama disappoints in like fashion.