Thursday, September 18, 2008

McKinley: America's Most Spineless Veteran President

William McKinley looks suspiciously molester-y for someone without a mustache. Also, he's sitting in every single picture. Lazy-ass motherfucker.
William McKinley was one of America's many Ohioan Presidents. Born there in 1843, he had many, many siblings. Like, eight. Remember, they didn't have TV back then, kids. He went to school at some "Poland Academy," which apparently had nothing to do with [insert ethnic stereotype joke here]. He went to college for one semester, but then it was totally time for the Civil War! So he joined up and became a commissary in the Union Army. This meant that essentially he served the food. He was promoted several times due to his bravery while serving food near the battlefront. I think it would be a miracle to even look at food without vomiting in the middle of all those primitive amputations and shit. Ew. But so anyway, after his heroic turn as a military waiter, McKinley went to law school and then started doing legal shit in Ohio. Apparently McKinley had served as a waiter under the awesomely-bearded command of future President Rutherford B. Hayes. Ruthie, as no one but me probably ever called him, got McK the hookup and helped him win a seat in the prestigious House of Representatives. He distinguished himself by establishing a ridiculously high and eponymous tariff that totally fucked over his party in the 1890 midterm elections. Then he became the Governor of Ohio and made an effort to "help people" during that decade's serious economic crisis. At some point, Mark Hanna AKA 19th-century Karl Rove, talked him into running for President, and they trounced William Jennings "Cross of Gold" Bryan in the 1896 election. Early in his first term, McKinley presided over the annexation of Hawaii, did some boring civil service reform stuff, blahblahblah SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR! Or as, I learned in my history class this week is more inclusive of the various belligerent parties, the War of 1898. Let me summarize how this shit went down: Spain: "I am totally still an awesome colonial power. I'm going to put the Cubans in concentration camps and shit and nobody can do nada." Cuba: "Hey! Knock it off, assholes!" American politicians: "Let's prove we're manly men like our dads who fought in the Civil War and totes get in on some military action in Cuba."* McKinley: "Maybe we shouldn't rush into a war, guys." American politicians, the media, etc.: "What are you, a girl? Let's go fight 'em!" Meanwhile the Maine mysteriously explodes in Havana harbor. Obviously we blamed the Spanish. McKinley: "Let's find out what really happened." Everybody else: "Where's your backbone? Let's shoot 'em up!" McKinley: "Fine." So we totally got into Cuba's fight for freedom and then screwed them over, took over the Philippines and proceeded to kill them for, like, ten years or so, and just generally joined the Colonial Club. (Let's not forget Guam!) Everybody was pumped after the war and stopped questioning McKinley's manly values/military experience. He beat "Goldie" Jennings Bryan again in 1900 and didn't really do much in his presidency as far as I can tell before he was shot in September of 1901. Despite being at a fancy exposition with modern technologies displayed all over the place, the doctors were afraid of the x-ray machine and didn't have electric lights. So they were pretty much poking at his insides with forks in the dark looking to get out the bullets. Things were touch-and-go for about a week when they thought McKinley was getting better. But then he died suddenly of GANGRENE. Apparently McKinley was a very private person and we know little about his personal character. And now he's dead, so there's not really much we can do about that at this point. But we named a bunch of shit after him, like Mount McKinley, and at least one mezzanine. For a long time everybody was like, "Hey, remember the Spanish-American War? Wasn't that sweet? Like withTeddy and the Rough Riders and whatnot?" Now it's more like, "Hey, maybe we shouldn't have done that." But whatevs. God bless Cuba. *I just read Kristin L. Hoganson's Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-Americanand Philippine-American Wars. AWESOME. I am now officially smarter.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy about the return of Historical Thursdays. That is all.