Current Affairs

The joyless president

Teri Carter's Library

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The day I tour Monticello, the beloved, mountaintop home of Thomas Jefferson, our current president is holed up with his iPhone, tweeting in his habitually artless manner. “The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is dead,” he blurts, and then, “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY.”

I sigh, turn my phone off. And I wonder, what would Jefferson—a man who found so much joy in books, art, history, science, architecture, and the philosophical debate of ideas—make of a man like Trump?

Regardless of party, we hold, in our collective American consciousness, joyful images of presidents. There is Ronald Reagan on his Santa Barbara ranch, riding his horse next to wife Nancy. There is George H.W. Bush, playing golf with this grown sons in Kennebunkport. There is Barack Obama hosting the cast of “Hamilton” at the White House.  There is Bill Clinton playing with his…

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