President #36

Eight months before the world economy had its worst crash in human history, and a year or so before most of the dirt in America decided to take some time off from growing food, Herbert Hoover was elected president. Up until that point he had done a pretty proficient job at the kicking-of-ass and taking-of-names part of life. After both his parents decided to die when he was nine, Herb took his GED, which at that time involved holding a full time job and then going to school at night. He became the first student at Stanford, which must have been nice, not having older upperclassman hazing him and selling him elevator passes. He got a degree in geology and promptly started digging holes in Australia and China. I believe they were called mines.

While in China the Boxer Rebellion broke out, and even though I know its not accurate, I still like to think of Sugar Ray and James "Clubber" Lang running around punching everyone. In reality it was people with guns. Herb took it upon himself to just about quell the whole thing and solve several humanitarian crises as he saved the lives of innocent babies. No big deal for a geology major.

After those hi-jinx, he decided he would slow it down and just become a successful inventor, entrepreneur, and universally admired public servant. Then came the big crash, caused by (based on my knowledge of the 20's) the stock market, flapper girls, Al Capone, speakeasies, prohibition and Tommy guns.

Even though Hoover fought hard to battle the growing depression swallowing up the world, he refused to let government carry the responsibility, instead insisting that the people themselves lead the way, through their own generosity in their communities and volunteerism. He believed the people could rise above their circumstances and altruistically help others, just as he had time and time again, like his days in China.

And there lies the greatest failure of Herbert Hoover, believing that everyone was just like him. Sober and responsible and good.

They are not. They are more like me. Lazy and distracted, waiting for some organization to come solve all the problems of the world, and desperately wanting a drink to help forget it all.