Saturday, April 25, 2015

LBJ Presidential Library Showcases Modern History

About a year ago I attended my first presidential library, in Atlanta, for Jimmy Carter, a one-term president who ruled over inflationary and hostage-filled times but took the biggest Executive Branch step towards bringing peace in the Middle East.  This past month, while attending the Independent Book Publishers Association’s Publishing University in Austin, Texas, I visited my second presidential library, this one for the man who was in the White House when I was born, Lyndon B. Johnson.

LBJ ruled over the most tumultuous but progressive time in America’s history, short of the Civil War and Revolutionary War.  He healed the country after President JFK was assassinated – as well as the assassinations of MLK, JFK, Malcolm X and Bobby Kennedy.  He helped advance the Civil Rights Movement, presided during the escalation of the divisive Vietnam War, and advanced the NASA space program so that months after he left office we landed the first human on the moon.  He also saw the Hippie and Drug Culture Movement rise, as well as the advancement of the Women’s Rights Movement.  So much change and upheaval and challenge to the status quo was happening!

I like presidential libraries because you feel surrounded by history, albeit, one-sided versions.  The showcases feature images, documents and sounds from historically significant times.  You start to realize how every era has its challenges and debates. 

The museum featured cultural artifacts from the 1960’s, which made me feel old.  I was born in 1967 and I can’t believe that things I did, watched, or listened to as a kid were put behind protective glass with an alarm system to protect it.  Here were games, like Operation, music like Elvis and the Beatles, TV Guide covers, and books that included those of Dr. Seuss.

There was an introductory film about LBJ and it highlighted how the tall Texan used to get in people’s faces and had a certain forceful way of being persuasive.  He intimidated but he also lead with a progressive liberal idealism that saw a number of reforms enacted under his rule.  He rose up through the ranks fast, from Congress to the Senate to Vice President and then President.  He died just a few years after leaving office, though only in his 60’s.  The strain of the job could shave years off of anyone’s life.

I would never want to be the President of America.  I’m not power-hungry nor politically driven, though I am idealistic.  But to be the person that everyone begs for a favor or attacks when I disagree with them, seems more of a burden than an opportunity.  I don’t know how I’d sleep each night, knowing the world needs help and I’m in a position to do something about it.  It takes a special individual – a blend of intellect, street smarts, conviction, aggression, discipline, faith, and a people skills – to run the nation and influence the world.  

I enjoyed visiting the LBJ Presidential Library – and I was glad to exit it.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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