Saturday, February 3, 2007

Wilson agonistes

It's well known that President Woodrow Wilson suffered debilitating illness during and after his high-profile role in the negotiation of the Versailles Treaty in l9l9. In today's Washington Post, there are new disclosuresabout just how bad the President's health was, particularly after the stroke he suffered in the fall of l9l9. No one dared pronounce him incompetent to continue, but it's clear someone should have done so.

If you are ever in Washington DC, you should take the time to visit the Woodrow Wilson house, the President's residence after he left the White House. It is not hard to find, located just a few blocks from the Dupont Circle metro station. There, the extent of his disability becomes evident when you learn that the President could not negotiate stairs. You also get a sense of how proud the he was of the new Europe he helped create when you enter his study. There is a huge portrait of the President sitting at his desk, smiling serenely, with the postwar map of the continent clearly visible behind him.

You can only be happy for the President that he did not live to see what happened to his new Europe just 20 years after its creation.

No comments: