de Vos: Crazy is as crazy does
The Friday Report
It’s a crazy race. According to each of the candidates, the other is insane. Donald says Hillary’s crazy and Hillary says that Donald is nuts. This may not reassure you, but regardless of who wins, America faces some stiff competition among current and past world leaders who lost their marbles behind the palatial moat.
Where to start? There are so many examples. Francois Duvalier, President for Life of Haiti until 1971, had a heart attack in 1959. His successor, Clement Barbot ran the country for the few days that Duvalier was in a coma. When he came to, Duvalier used voodoo to turn Barbot into a black dog and then had every black dog in Haiti killed. He sent emissaries to collect the air around John F. Kennedy’s grave to use in a spell to make zombie Kennedy do his bidding.
Enver Hoxha became the prime minister of Albania in 1944. First thing he did was to fire everyone in his administration and took over their jobs, calling himself “Comrade-Chairman-Prime Minister-Foreign-Minister-Minister of War-Commander-in-Chief of the People’s Army, Enver Hoxha.” Fearing assassination, he abducted a dentist with a slight resemblance. Forcing plastic surgery on the hapless guy turned him into an uncanny doppelganger. His sole purpose was to be thrown to the angry crowds when Hoxha’s regime collapsed.
Saparmurat Niyazov declared himself President for Life of Turkmenistan in 1985 after the breakup of the Soviet Union. His national health plan consisted of chewing on bones to strengthen people’s teeth. Despite being illiterate, Niyazov wrote a bestseller in a pact with Allah that had to be memorized in order to get a driver’s license. Anybody who read his book three times would automatically go to heaven. In 2005 he launched a copy into space for extraterrestrials’ benefit and possibly unrelated, a year later, somebody poisoned him.
Kim Jong Il, Supreme Leader of North Korea until 2011, bought 200 Mercedes Benz luxury sedans, just because he liked them and had sushi flown in from Japan daily. Not once during his life, according to his biographers, did he urinate or defecate. His morning rituals controlled the weather.
Idi Amin Dada, the Ugandan dictator from 1971-1979, murdered half a million of his nation’s intelligentsia. If he got mad at someone, he simply baked and ate them. He was the self-declared conqueror of the British Empire, not to mention the King of Scotland.
Rafael Trujillo was declared ruler of the Dominican Republic in a 1930 election without a single dissenting vote and far more votes than there were voters. He then appointed his 3-year-old son as commander of the military and spent a third of the national budget on a year-long party for his daughter.
This is not to say that there haven’t been some American doozies. Warren Harding sired an illegitimate daughter while in the White House and the speculation when he died, was that he had been murdered by his wife. There were those who said she poisoned him to avoid the disgrace and impeachment that were licking at his heels due to his corrupt stewardship. Harding himself said “I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.”
Harry Truman said, “Richard Nixon is one of the few in the history of this country to run for high office while lying out of both sides of his mouth.”
Herbert Hoover let his pet alligators roam the halls of the White House.
Some have been crazy like a fox. George Washington, for instance, accepted no salary as President. But not everybody knows that he requested an expense account instead. For his four years in office his salary would have amounted to $48,000. His expense account for the same period amounted to $450,000.
LBJ said, “Gerald Ford played too much football without a helmet.” Ford himself said, “I’m a Ford, not a Lincoln. My addresses will never be as eloquent.” His wife Betty summed it up, “I wish I’d married a plumber. At least he’d be home by 5 o’clock.”
This election could be just the thing to bring tinfoil hats back into vogue.
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