Shame on Us

Plymouth Notch, VT – One hundred years ago on Aug. 2, President Warren Harding died and Calvin Coolidge became America’s 30th president.

The contrast between the two men is stark. While Harding was extremely popular with voters, later revelations doomed his presidency to the bottom rungs. Scandals included paying hush money to cover up extramarital affairs (sound familiar?), an out-of-wedlock child, and criminal activity by cronies.

In the tiny hamlet of Plymouth Notch, Vermont, where the “hold button” seems to have been pushed in 1923, people have gathered to commemorate Coolidge’s ascendancy to the presidency. Because of a family relationship to first lady Grace Coolidge, I was invited to narrate a re-enactment of events leading up to the oath of office administered in the middle of the night by Coolidge’s father.

Coolidge was untouched by scandal because he first developed qualities as a boy that are increasingly lost in contemporary politics. As David Schribman wrote in The Wall Street Journal: “What most endures about Coolidge is his character. His modesty would be unimaginable in the modern era, when so much of politics has turned into noisy theater, constant self-promotion and the demonization of opponents.”

But enough about Donald Trump.

Schribman quotes former Vermont Republican

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