Saturday, July 23, 2011

So much more than just a doctrine

Last Saturday, I went down to Fredericksburg with my Dad for some father-son bonding amid one of our favorite pastimes: visiting Presidential museums and libraries.  We have three Americana pastimes: visiting baseball stadiums, state capitals and presidential libraries.  I had noticed a sign for the Monroe Memorial when on my way down to Richmond a few weeks prior.

We headed south, top down, into the bright, beautiful saturday morning.  The plans came very close to being filed in the papillion category, which is Rockower lore writ shorthand for failure.  As we were heading south on 95, we hit a wave of traffic.  We decided to pull of to Rt 1 (good ol' Jefferson Davis Hwy), but that proved just as slow and sloggy.  A trip that was an hour and change turned into a two-hour affair.  I passed the time extolling the virtues of James "The Pearl" Monroe.

James Monroe rang bells on his night ride to declare to the British that they couldn't take our guns.  James Monroe appointed Chuck Norris as his Secretary of War in the War of 1812 and had him burn York- the capital of British Canada; the presence of these two titans in the same room caused the White House to combust. James Monroe dropped the atomic bomb on Japan...with chopsticks. James Monroe ended the Cold War when his laser vision made Chernobyl explode.


After braving the traffic, we eventually made it to the James Monroe Memorial Museum and Library.  I proudly declared to the woman behind the register that we had come down to Fredericksburg to visit her museum; she looked shocked.

But it was actually quite interesting.  So much more than a Doctrine! I mean, the man was a revolutionary war soldier (that famous pic of Washington crossing the Delaware includes Mr. Doctrine himself) , ambassador, governor (Not part of the highlights, he suppressed Gabriel's Uprising), senator, Louisiana purchaser, secretary of state and war, president, Missouri compromiser and general presider over the Era of Good Feelings.  But wait, you say, get on to the Doctrine.

Ah yes, the eponymous doctrine.  The James "The Pearl" Monroe Doctrine basically told the rest of the world that America would brook no further colonization or nose-poking in the affairs of the hemisphere.  It has been bedrock to American policy in the region even till this day.  Teddy added his own corollary, then promptly finished last in the presidential race at Nats park.  With regard to the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK cited said doctrine before he called in the X-Men to stop the advancing Soviet ships:
The Monroe Doctrine means what it has meant since President Monroe and John Quincy Adams enunciated it, and that is that we would oppose a foreign power extending its power to the Western Hemisphere [sic], and that is why we oppose what is happening in Cuba today. That is why we have cut off our trade. That is why we worked in the OAS and in other ways to isolate the Communist menace in Cuba. That is why we will continue to give a good deal of our effort and attention to it
Even the Apostle Reagan cited the Monroe Doctrine as his excuse to f-ck sh-t up in CentAm.   So, as you can see: so much more than just a doctrine, and well worth a long and unenviable stretch of sitting in traffic.

After departing the hallowed ground, my Dad and I made our way down mainstreet F-berg to the local drugstore cafe, where we dined at the soda jerk.  After sucking down Americana, we made our way over to an interesting museum called the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop.  The good Dr. Mercer was a physician and general, and the shop had a recreation of an old apothecary shop.  There was a fun discussion on medical practices of the day, including leeching and bleeding, and other butcher doctor business.  My dad loved it; I started turning green.  But there were a lot of folks in the shop, discussing their concern about the ongoing events with Britain and taxes on tea. It was a fun little place.

Thankfully, the ride back was far smoother, and the era of good feelings persisted.

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