I think President Donald Trump has to feel like his favorite rapper sometimes. Kanye West said, "Sometimes I feel like I am too busy writing history to read it." With every tweet, President Trump is writing - and making - history.
History will remember these years and I don't believe there will be many heroes in this story.
As I read the biography of Alexander Hamilton, I am getting a chance to read about the historic and heroic decisions and actions of the founders of the country. George Washington stepping away from the presidency and establishing America's foundational principle of the peaceful transfer of power from one leader to the next is among the best examples of selfless leadership in history and the timing of his decision propelled the country forward with solid precedent.
Then there are other incidents in the story, like Hamilton's illicit affair and, of course, the duel that ended his life.
History will tell our stories.
We recently recognized the 86th Anniversary of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first fireside chat. FDR took the unprecedented step of directly addressing the American people. Radio technology allowed it and he decided to skip the spokespeople and journalists and speak directly to a radio audience.
Historians will look back on modern politics with less idealistic views. From Bill Clinton using the White House like a single's club and opening an avenue for the explosion of online news blogs, to George W. Bush and Barack Obama, history won't likely view this period in our nation's politics fondly.
When it comes to the Donald Trump administration and its toady enablers, future history readers will look back and wonder where the people of principle were hiding while America's conservative ideals were eroded. Even this week, we watched alleged constitutional conservatives vote with those in the Senate who would allow the president to fund a non-emergency border wall project with funds borrowed from military money.
One thing historians will recognize when they look back at the Trump administration is the similarity between his Twitter feed and FDR's fireside chats. Both use that day's technology to speak directly to people without any filter. Roosevelt was making his case for the New Deal and his World War II policies. Trump uses his to push back against multiple investigations into possible collusion with Russia in the election, misuse of funds to pay off affairs, and how his businesses and charities skirt the law.
He also uses tweets to attack opponents and announce policy decisions.
Trump and FDR both wanted to speak directly to voters. The messages and motivations were very different.
Journalist Robert Trout was the first to use the phrase “fireside chat” to describe FDR's radio spots. He was painting a mental picture of FDR sitting by a fire in a living room, talking to Americans about his decisions. Unfortunately for Trump, most people imagine that he is either lying in bed or indisposed in one of the 35 bathrooms in the White House with his twitter thumbs twirling.
We didn't stop writing history books when George Washington and Alexander Hamilton died. FDR and his fireside chats are also part of America's history. In a generation, Trump's Twitter feed will be studied and compared to a new President's communication methods.
I'm not sure how it will hold up to scrutiny after more time passes and more layers of the onion are peeled back by all of the current investigations.