I need to borrow from Whitman in order to talk about Lyndon Johnson. He contained multitudes.
This is a part of the draw, a part of the attraction to him.
There are so many stories of Johnson’s crudeness, the id taken over. There are stories that I would find disgusting if they were about anyone else. But from Lyndon, there is something endearing about it. Who hasn’t once been swept up by ambition? Who doesn’t have those horrible, base thoughts that beg and tempt? Lyndon knows. He understands.
Lyndon can make you feel more human.
If you let him.
Few presidents would ever know more triumph, few suffer such a swift and tragic fall. -LBJ. American Experience
I wasn’t always obsessed with Lyndon Baines Johnson.
This particular itch began several years ago. I was at home, nursing a cold, when I decided to watch a documentary about Lyndon Johnson. On the couch, sniffly, and uncomfortable I fell into and out of sleep, the movie playing in the background. When I woke up, I had been impregnated with a new desire to know Lyndon. He had entered my heart. He has been at home there ever since.
LBJ, Lyndon Baines Johnson — Texan, Democrat, political virtuoso. He rises up out of the 1960s like a Colossus, like something from Shakespeare, filling the stage — 10, 12 characters in one. He is admired and he is detested. Everybody who knew him had stories. -LBJ. American Experience
This, ahem, interest has developed into something that other people don’t understand. Many have told me as much. Wonder is what’s plastered across acquaintances’ faces when they ask themselves what I see in him.
I can’t explain it either.
It just is.
And my life is better, richer for it.
But that isn’t enough for me. I want you to see him how I see him.
“Because the people have decided to call you LBJ, if I ever decide to get a Lyndon Johnson tattoo, it will have to be of his face.”
“I know you’re out there. I know that you can imagine the moment when you see that you’ve caught his eye. I know you’d watch as he decided whether or not to approach. He’d stand too close. You would tell yourself that you’re sweating because it’s hot. You’d know better. I know you’re out there, [...]