“Minimalism – A Lesson Learned” by Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir

My wife and I celebrated New Year Eve 2020 alone for the first time since we got married. There were no parties, no overabundance of haute cuisine nor any presence of euphoric cheers to welcome 2021. It was just a sigh of relief to realize that 2020 was leaving us like a long-suffering elderly relative.

In the year 2020, we learned to live with the inconveniences brought upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most importantly, we learned to appreciate minimalism for the first time and many of us started liking it.

Suddenly we started living our lives consciously, purchase wisely, and live responsibly. We started feeling the impact of minimalism on the environment with pleasant surprises. For many of us, intellectual possessions became more important than material possessions. “Minimalism means living with things we really need. It means removing anything that distracts us from living with intentionality and freedom,” I read somewhere.

The unemployment in the U.S. picked at 14.7% in 2020. People were forced to live with less and realize that living with less wasn’t a bad thing, after all. Before the pandemic hit us, we were victims of “keeping up with the Joneses.” While my goal here is in no way to blame anyone for their one-upmanship mentality, we lived among people who indulged in excesses. We were a part of the rat race wanting to have it all. We were intoxicated and were overconsuming to add to America’s debt. It’s undeniable that our achieving of the “American Dream” was an expensive one.

Then came COVID confinement. We started experimenting with clothes we already had instead of buying new ones. Knowing that the financial future was unsecured suggested us to consider minimalism as a lifestyle. Consuming in the previous amounts merely made no more sense to us. Lockdown weeks and months showed to us that comfortable living required only a few essentials, only a few things that satisfied vision and taste, and nothing extra and unnecessary. Such indulgence as continuous shopping became unavailable, and the focus of minds had to turn to other sources of contentment.

Minimalism made us distinguish between things that distracted us from what’s important to us. In the midst of the COVID 19 crisis, we were somewhat forced to revisit our true priorities which were health and family. This aspect of minimalism reconnected us with our family like never before contributing to our happiness and to those around us.

Minimalism should not be mistaken for asceticism which is the practice of extreme denial and unnecessary rigor. It is the mindset of eliminating clutter that starts following the genuine voice of the heart, rather than many voices that insist on the necessity to possess more.

A Promised LandAuthor: Barack ObamaKindle Edition (752 pages, Published in 2020)

A Promised Land is a chronicle of events in Barack Obama’s life’s journey, so far, in a historic perspective. A promised Land is full of reflections, anecdotes and honest opinions about almost everyone Obama encountered in his political life.Obama admits that he was perplexed on the first day of his presidency as he had to learn what to do in his new job. He was faced with the gargantuan task of saving the U.S. economy. Eventually, he succeeded in stabilizing the global financial system, saving the U.S. auto industry and stopping the meltdown of housing crisis through “Home Affordable Modification Program or HAMP. I personally benefited from everything mentioned above and am thankful to Mr. Obama for his initiatives. It was all accomplished through his perseverance, organizational skills and choosing right advisors.Obama takes the readers along with him everywhere he goes including the far corners of the world- his own home where he interacts with his wife, Michelle Obama and two children, to the White House, to his cabinet meetings and beyond.Obama talks candidly about his relationship with Jeremiah Wright, a controversial African-American religious leader and how the media misrepresented their relationship.He also talks at length about Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. He mentions the frustration that Hillary Clinton experienced losing to Obama, a junior senator from Illinois. At the same time, he also realizes that Hillary is a smart and ambitious woman “who had chafed under the constraints of their times.”Surprisingly, he doesn’t talk about Trump until towards the end of the book where he writes, “For most of my first two years in office, Trump was apparently complimentary of my presidency, telling Bloomberg that ‘overall I believe he’s done a very good job’; but maybe because I didn’t watch much television, I found it hard to take him too seriously.”Obama also mentions his perception of Indian politics and its leaders. He mentions this about Manmohan Singh, “he had been India’s finance minister in the 1990s, managing to lift millions of people from poverty. For the duration of his tenure as prime minister, I would find Singh to be wise, thoughtful, and scrupulously honest.He mentions an interesting anecdote about the king of Saudi Arabia, “He (the king) explained that he had twelve wives.” Obama then asked, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, Your Majesty, but how do you keep up with twelve wives?”Obama honestly reflects his frustration with partisan politics and how that greatly impeded passage of the Affordable Care Act also known as Obama Care. Another topic dealt in detail is Osama bin Laden’s killing.All in all, A Promised Land is a good read about our contemporary history and lessons learned from the events.-Reviewed by Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’

Humor: “Dr. Ouchy Will See You Now” by Musafir

Just about a year ago, no one was even aware of Coronavirus and Dr. Ouchy’s existence. Now both are in our face all the time. I knew Ouchy ever since he was a cranky teenage-weakling always looking for attention that he never could get.

Now he is everywhere all the time frightening us with his stern warnings. Suddenly, he became a fixture on all the national channels guiding our karmas and determining their consequences. He gets upset when people don’t pay attention to what he says. Dr. Ouchy hates people checking their cell phones while he talks. He wants everyone to drop what they are doing and listen to him attentively.

Mothers now discipline their kids by saying, “Behave otherwise Dr. Ouchy will take you away.” Even my dog is afraid of him. He stops barking when Dr. Ouchy appears on TV. He has been driving everyone a little bit nutso.

Dr. Ouchy knew that his day will come. There is always the pandemic of the century and this time it came in the form of Coronavirus. Now he tells us daily how many people will die and keeps revising the forecast upwards.

My wife is a great fan of Dr. Ouchy. She forces me to eat unappetizing stuffs and watches my behavior like a hawk. Just the other night while I was mixing vermouth in sweet martini, she stopped me and asked, “Have you asked Dr. Ouchy how much vermouth you should be adding to your drink?”

“No! But how can I ask him that? “

“Well, he is on TV all the time and loves taking calls from viewers like you. You can just dial the station and ask or you may send him an email. I am pretty sure, he’d answer,” she replied.

Finally, I got Dr. Ouchy’s attention and asked him, “Why are you doing this to us?”

“It’s been a little lonely for me all my life,” Dr. Ouchy said, “Finally, now it’s my time kiddo!.”

All the dictators of the world love Dr. Ouchy. There is a rumor that Iranian government wants to make him the Ayatollah of all diseases. Putin wants to make him the Czar of all pandemics. India wants to make him the Maharaja of all plagues. Hearing these rumors,  the United States just declared him a national treasure, thus he cannot be acquired by any other country.

Online school syllabi are being revised all over America to add the following passages

“Who invented the cure for Coronavirus?”

“Dr. Ouchy”

“Who do you trust next to Jesus Christ?”

“Dr. Ouchy”

“Why do you trust Dr. Ouchy so much?”

“Because God can’t help us since He is in quarantine.”

Dr. Ouchy became an overnight sex symbol. A grimace and a face-palm were all it took Dr Ouchy to get this honor. He is now in the collective conscience of every woman in America. Brad Pitt is rumored to play Dr. Ouchy in the upcoming bio-pic.

A tweet from @OuchyFan says, “Dr. Ouchy is the total package, intelligent. kind, handsome, sexy, so good looking oh my god.”

“It’s bizarre, frankly, all of a sudden I’ll be saying things and have people listening to what I just said. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Thanks to the virus, I am making up for the lost time,” Dr. Ouchy remarked on his newly-found fame.

Current Affairs: “Justin Trudeau’s Folly” by Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’

Current Affairs: “Justin Trudeau’s Folly” by Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’

The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau made an international buffoon of himself last week by stating that he was concerned about the farmers, most of them from the Sikh-dominated Indian state of Punjab, camped out on the outskirts of Delhi in a protest against farm reforms.

Trudeau made that statement to appease the Sikh MPs in the House of Commons (Lower House of the Canadian Parliament) whose support is crucial for the survival of his coalition government. As a matter of fact, Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh, was instrumental in giving a second term to Trudeau after Trudeau’s Liberal Party failed to secure a majority in the election in 2015.Although the Sikhs make up only 1.3% of the Canadian population (500,000 Sikhs out of 37.6 million Canadians), they have established enclaves where they are in majority. For example, in Woodstock (near Toronto, Ontario) 80% of the inhabitants are Sikhs. Imagine this, there are 18 Sikh MPs in the Lower House of Canada compared to only 13 Sikh MPs in the Indian Lok Sabha (India’s Lower House). Punjabi is the third most spoken language in Canada after English and French.

Unfortunately, unlike the majority of Indian Sikhs, the Canadian Sikhs support Khalistan, a separatist movement that promotes cessation of the Punjab state from India. According to a 2018 Canadian intelligence report Khalistanis were listed as one of the top five terrorist groups in Canada. The same group downed an Air-India plane on June 23, 1985, that claimed the lives of all 329 innocent passengers on board. There were five families from Michigan who were my friends and acquaintances. One little boy played baseball in my son’s team. Trudeau’s government subsequently watered down the claims regarding Khalistani terrorism after assuming his second term as the PM of Canada. That makes him an international criminal not worthy of holding any office of consequence.

The Indian parliament passed Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce Act, 2020 on September 27, 2020 with all good intentions. The aforesaid act would allow the Indian farmers to trade their agricultural produce to outside agencies bypassing the state laws. This would be financially beneficial to the farmers since they would be able to grow certain cash crops in partnership with big businesses and agricultural trading firms bypassing many local and state fees.

There is a big resistance to this act from some groups. Some are real and some political. Many farmer organizations oppose this, saying it will leave small growers with little bargaining power. Many farmer organizations oppose this, saying it will totally destroy small growers because nearly 85% of India’s poor farmers own less than 5 acres of land and they will find it difficult to directly negotiate with large buyers of farm goods. Without offering an alternative arrangement to small growers, such as private markets or direct-purchase, the new rule does not make much sense to them.

Politically, it is true that the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce Act, 2020 was rushed by the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) on a voice vote without allowing much discussion on this topic. However, the opposition parties and especially the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and the Congress Parties in the state of Punjab are pandering to the farmers’ fears. The Canadian Khalistanis (militant Sikhs) are taking this opportunity to reignite the separatist movement by the Punjabi Sikhs in India.

Good or bad, this is absolutely an internal matter of India. Mr. Modi’s government is negotiating with the farmers’ organizations to come to an amicable solution. Justin Trudeau has no business in poking his nose in this matter.

“Happy Thanksgiving” -Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’

“Happy Thanksgiving” -Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’

Thanksgiving message with pumpkins on a blue background

Thanksgiving is the best of all holidays. It is the only holiday like a holiday should be. It’s simple, relaxing and doesn’t require much hustle and bustle, hurry-scurry, toeing and froing other than traveling. It has basically two purposes, spending time with family and friends to the delicious feasts and counting our blessings. What can be simpler than that?

Thanksgiving dinner is amazing, of course. Every family has its own unique tradition when it comes to food. In our household we add some ethnic dishes to the traditional Thanksgiving menu. My wife is a vegetarian, I am a selectarian (leaning towards vegetarianism), some don’t eat meat except for fish and some don’t care. So, we prepare an array of dishes to satisfy everyone’s palate. Other than having a typical Thanksgiving meal, we also serve samosa, chat and pizza. Leftovers are even better. The combination of roast turkey, bread, stuffing, and cranberry sauce makes for an unbeatable day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich.

Since Thanksgiving is not affiliated with any religion, it’s one of the most inclusive holidays around. Anyone can enjoy Thanksgiving and the traditions that go along with it. Decorating is easy. It only requires placing some pumpkins at the doorstep. There is no stress of buying or exchanging gifts either. Thanksgiving doesn’t require the worry of finding the perfect holiday gift or spending a ton of money on it.

Thanksgiving really is all about, as its name suggests, giving thanks. Whether you go around the dinner table or even just make a mental note, it’s always nice to remind yourself, and others, what you’re thankful for. So, what can we be thankful for in 2020 when 1.5 million people have already died of Coronavirus and 40 have million have contracted the virus worldwide? In the USA alone, more than 2,000 people are dying of the virus every day. This is a grim statistics.

At the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that thousands of scientists worked insatiably to discover a cure for Covid-19; the nurses and doctors risked their own lives to save others’; grocery stores employees and truckers brought food to us; people donated and delivered food to sick and needy; technology companies keep the families together through video calls; soldiers and police kept us in one piece . Yes, there is a lot to be thankful about this Thanksgiving. Enjoy the day!

“The USA Under Joe Biden, Most Probably” by Anil Shrivastava

“The USA Under Joe Biden, Most Probably” by Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. (Joe Biden) will be sworn in as the forty-sixth president of the United States of America on January 20, 2021. He’ll be the second Roman Catholic ever elected to the highest office. John F Kennedy was the first.Joe Biden became a junior Senator from Delaware in 1972 at the age of 30. Soon after winning the Senate seat, his first wife and one-year old daughter were killed in an automobile accident. Biden held his Senate seat for 36 years and commuted every day by train to Washington DC from his home in Delaware. He married Dr. Jill Biden, an educator in 1977. Joe Biden’s first son, Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015. He has two living children, Ashley Blazer and Hunter Biden.

Biden went through a brain surgery in 1988 due to aneurysm. Soon after that he suffered from a pulmonary embolism but still functioned as a Senator and Vice President under Barrack Obama. He served on the Senate Judiciary Committee (1987 to 1995) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee (2001 to 2003 and 2007 to 2009).Biden sought the office of President of the United States three times. He was unsuccessful in winning the primaries in 1988 and 2008. He tried again in 2020 and won the election. Once sworn in, he will be the oldest person to assume office as president at the age of 78. President Trump is the oldest person to hold the office, so far. Although he (Biden) proved to be vigorous enough to run a tough campaign against Trump, the prognosis of his health is uncertain considering his medical history and occasional forgetfulness.

So, what kind of president will Joe Biden be? Let’s count the positive first. In my view, we need a president who is experienced in both domestic and foreign policies. As the leader of the free world, one cannot afford someone to learn on-the-job. Take the case of our rivals. The President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping has been active in politics since an early age. While a teenager, he followed his father in exile where they lived in a cave. He joined the Chinese Communist Party (CPP) and became its secretary soon after graduating as a chemical engineer. Xi rose through the ranks and became the governor of the Fujian province in 1999. He developed the skill to consolidate power and became head of CPP in 2012. I am not aware of any US president since George Herbert Walker Bush (the 41st) who could boast to possess enough political experience to match the backgrounds of the leaders of China, Britain and Japan. Joe Biden has 47 years of political experience. That should be a plus in his favor.

In addition to the above, he is a fine gentleman. Recently he postponed negative campaigning against Mr. Trump while the latter suffered from Covid-19. After his son Beau died, then vice president reluctantly decided not to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2015. He confronted Putin once and said to him, “I’m looking into your eyes. I don’t think you have a soul.” I am pretty sure that he will bring civility back to the highest office in the land.

I expect Biden to maintain status quo with the pacific rim countries. As for India is concerned, his policy will be ambiguous as he will try to appease the Muslim countries aided by his pro-Pakistani VP, Kamala Harris.

At the end of the day, there are harsh realities that matter more than personal traits alone. I can foresee some caveats on the horizon that may malign his presidency. The first being Biden may have to live under Obama’s shadow. The Obamas are still very popular among the Democrats. Biden is no match to them in that respect. Mr. Obama is bitter about Trump interrupting his legacy and he may subsequently act like a pedant to Biden who may succumb to him as a sycophant. Mr. Obama has already asked him to give a cabinet position to his UN Ambassador and Security Advisor, Susan Rice who is infamous for handling 2012 Benghazi tragedy.

Unlike Trump, Biden believes more in symbolism than pragmatism. He has already indicated that he’d open the southern floodgate to illegal immigrants and remove the travel ban on thirteen African nations that was imposed by Trump administration for the sake of national security. No wonder, the terror attacks on the US soil from outside the U.S. were almost non-existent during the present administration.

Biden is likely to return international leadership to Europe. The liberals have always been obsequious to the Europeans fascinated by latter’s illusory vision of the world and socialism. Biden will return to Paris Climate Agreement which is more political than practical. With no enforcement mechanisms in place and no repercussions for failing to meet emissions reduction targets, countries are essentially free to do whatever they want, meaning they will continue on their business-as-usual without making much progress. “The initial commitments made by 184 countries that agreed to the Paris climate accord in 2015, it’s found that only 36 countries have made pledges that could conceivably reach the 2030 goal.” (Source: Universal Ecological Fund). “Meanwhile, contrary to popular belief, the U.S. is making progress on climate change. Overall, the country’s carbon emissions fell 1.7 percent last year. Looking at energy-related carbon emissions in the last five years, the U.S. has experienced a roughly 6 percent drop” (Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration). We need to know the facts instead of just being overwhelmed by emotion and media spin. Biden will also join Iran Nuclear Agreement. As a result, of all the above, the Europeans will award him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021.The economy will keep prospering under Biden as the economic machinery will revert to its full steam due to the availability of Corona vaccine. That may make it difficult for Mr. Trump to come back in 2024, but no one knows the future which is always unpredictable. Who knew about Corona Virus that became the reason for Trump’s defeat anyway?

“The hand of fate is on me now
It pick me up and knock me down
The wheel of fortune keeps turning round
Turning round, turning round.” -The Rolling Stones

“Let’s Learn from 2020 and End the Agony for Ever” by Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’

American presidential election is a mess and it must be simplified. The biggest problem with the presidential election process is an absence of a uniform directive to govern the election across all states. Every state in the Union has its own convention regarding this matter. This provides room for the Secretary of State of each state to manipulate the process to his/her own party’s advantage. For example, Democratic-run Nevada decided to extend the deadline for receiving the ballots to November 10 – a week past the election day.

Pennsylvania ruled to accept mail-in ballots up to three days after the election day. At least seven states explicitly allow voters to change their ballot if they have voted before election day. Wisconsin even allows voters to change their minds up to three times before the vote becomes official. Although there is no evidence of ever applying this law, Kentucky’s constitution prohibits idiots from casting a ballot, however, a person must be ruled an idiot by a judge.In Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan absentee ballots can’t be counted until 7 a.m. on Election Day by state law. Thus, ballots take far longer to process than many other states. Many states have different rules about allowing observers to monitor vote counting. In some Democratic-run cities such as Detroit and Philadelphia, the ballot-counters were alleged to hide the counting from the Republican observers. Some ballot bags in Philadelphia, surprisingly, contained ballots for Mr. Biden only. I have no evidence to support those allegations.

The United States is the most advanced country in the world in many respects, but when it comes to voting they need to learn from India, the largest democracy in the world. “Many of the Indian politicians may be corrupt and criminals but when it comes to voting and tallying the votes, they run a squeaky-clean machine. Voting in India is conducted by electronic voting machines (EVM). More than 2.3 million EVMs were used in 2019 general elections all across India. GPS devices were fitted in the EVMs to monitor their movement. The EVMs allowed vote counting to be completed in up to three hours compared with manual counting, which could take 30 to 40 hours. The electoral body also used digital cameras, videotaping of speeches and the use of wireless networks during the election process to avoid any foul play. One more thing, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines were used along with EVMs at all polling stations to allow voters to cross-check the votes.” (Source al-Jazeera)

In India all the voters are allowed to vote on a given date by region and all the results are announced on a pre-determined date. In 2019 General Election, 553 million eligible voters turned out to vote. They all voted and the results were counted on time to give Mr. Modi’s party an undisputed majority. Keep in mind that unlike the USA where we have a two-party system, India fielded 8,251 candidates representing 464 different parties in 2019. The sole inhabitant of the remote Gir National Forest in Gujarat, home to Asiatic lions, had his own polling station complete with his own electronic voting machine.

Thanks to the complications, president Trump has refused to accept Mr. Biden as a genuine winner due to the alleged irregularities in voting and vote counting process. He is suing a number of states demanding either a recount or nullify the ballots received long after the election day. The winner, eventually, may be decided either by the U.S. Congress or the Supreme Court.

To add to the confusion, the next president will not be officially elected until December 14, when electoral college votes will be cast and collected. The United States Constitution doesn’t require that the members of the electoral college vote for the winner. They can vote for any candidate they choose to. Over the years, 165 electors have not cast their votes for candidates who had won in their states.

It doesn’t end there. The electoral votes must be certified by both the Senate and the House on the sixth day of January.

“Congress shall be in session on the sixth day of January succeeding every meeting of the electors. The Senate and House of Representatives shall meet in the Hall of the House of Representatives at the hour of 1 o’clock in the afternoon on that day, and the President of the Senate (the current vice president) shall be their presiding officer.” (U.S. Code 15).

Let’s hope that the present nightmare ends soon and a uniform election law in all the states of the United States of America is implemented before 2024.

“Youth is such a wonderful thing” by Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’

The passing of Sean Connery, the original James Bond 007 today (October 31, 2020) took me back to the decade of sixties. I entered my teenage years as the decade of the sixties began and reached the prime of my youth as it ended. I was just getting aware of the intriguing world of national and international affairs. That was a decade of anticipation – anticipation of completing school, entering a career, romance and marriage and a call to start believing, dreaming and start creating. There was a Peter Pan inside me reminding me that I had the ability to fly and rise up to my truest potential.

I didn’t know that I’d be a part of a generation called the baby-boomers. I don’t particularly like that term, but that’s a label that is stuck with me. I loved the hippies and flower children coming to India from Europe and the USA in search of peace, love and drugs. I met many of them during my visits to Kolkata and Delhi. I grew long hair, extended side-burns and donned bell-bottom pants to conform to the trend.

Sean Connery was an enigma. He was not like today’s movie stars who are in your face all the time. He was so beloved that he was shared like folklore. Who can forget his grand entrances as Agent 007 in James Bond movies? Talking of grand entrances, Ursula Andress, the first Bond girl’s ingress on the beach in Dr. No was the most mesmerizing of all.

In that period, I also gained awareness about the United States of America. I remember following the Kennedy-Nixon election, reading about Cassius Clay defeating Sony Liston and the US falling behind then Soviet Union in space race. I also remember the thrill of America ultimately winning the space race on July 20, 1969 by landing two men on the moon – “That’s one small step for (a) man. One giant leap for mankind.”

Assassinations of John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy left a deep scar in my heart. I didn’t like Americans being that violent. Vietnam war was at its peak. There were lives lost including the My Lai massacre where 500 innocent Vietnamese were killed. There were widespread protests in the US against the war which grew into a broad social movement over the ensuing several years in parallel with the Civil Rights Movement. I was being exposed to the slogans like “Black Is Beautiful” and “Black Power” for the first time.

I saw and watched television (black and white) for the first time and was amazed at the advancement in technology. The decade ended with Richard Nixon in the White House, Indira Gandhi at the helm in India and I being introduced to the daily grind of a working life.

Those memories are still deep down somewhere within my psyche. With the end of the sixties, my bout of fantasy with the world had ended. I was astonished to feel the complexities of the real world. That was quite a rude awakening for me. My innocence was stolen by a thief called age. When I expressed my frustration to a wise man I met on a bus during one of my desultory trips to Shimla (a hill station in India), he said to me, “Youth has no age. There are no limits and anything is possible.” I remember his words and live on with that kick.

“Who Wants to be VP?” by Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’

As we are on the cusp between electing a new president and keeping the present one, partisan voices are relentlessly attacking us from all directions. Those unwanted demagogues are violating our privacy through social media, robocalls, television ads, talk shows, door-to-door campaigning, and unsolicited leaflets.

The fact remains that regardless of who we elect will be as flawed as we are. After all, he will represent us and our conscience. The good news is that the next president will have the freedom to do the right things without worrying about pleasing his base. Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Biden will seek the office again, one limited by the term-limit another because of the age constraint.

Although I wish every candidate a long life, it is important to ponder about the possibility of the elected president dying in office, thus giving way to his VP to the highest office in the land. This is important considering the age factor of the two presidential candidates. After all, nine vice presidents in the U.S. became president after the death of their predecessors.

John Tyler was the first VP to assume presidency when William Harrison (the 9th president) died of pneumonia 31 days after taking the oath of office. Four VPs assumed the highest office due to the assassination of the president. Andrew Johnson, the first president to later become a US Congressman replaced Abraham Lincoln after his assassination in 1865. Chester Arthur became president after James Garfield died in office in 1881, six and a half months after being shot by an assassin. Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt became the youngest president to assume office after William McKinley was assassinated in 1901. He was, probably, the most famous VP to become the president of the Und States. He assumed office when he was 42 years and 322 days old. The next president to be assassinated was John F Kennedy who was the youngest president ever elected to the office of the president. He was 43 years and 236 days old on the day of assuming the office of the president. Kennedy’s VP, Lyndon Johnson got the dubious honor of taking the oath of office in mid-air aboard Air Force One while returning from Dallas after Kennedy’s assassination. This was resented by Mrs. Kennedy and many of Kennedy’s faithful. Other VPs who became president due to the death of their predecessor were Millard Fillmore, Calvin Coolidge, and Harry Truman.

Of all the VPs who later became president, Gerald Ford’s case was unique. He was an accidental president. Spiro Agnew was Richard Nixon’s VP who pleaded no contest to the charges of bribery and money laundering brought against him and later resigned in disgrace. Ford, who never ran for VP’s office was chosen to become VP to succeed Mr. Agnew. He later became an accidental president after Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace on August 9, 1974.Only John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin van Buren (the first president to be born in the U.S.), Richard Nixon and George Herbert Walker Bush were elected president as direct successors to the president they served under.

The two vice presidential candidates in 2020 are the current VP Mike Pence (Republican) and Senator Kamala Harris (Democrat). Let’s look at their records to help us decide who will be more suitable to succeed their bosses, if elected.”

In 2003, Kamala Harris became the District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco. Among her achievements as District Attorney, Harris started a program that gives first-time drug offenders the chance to earn a high school diploma and find employment.” (source govtrack.us)Over the course of her nearly two terms in office, Mrs. Harris won a $25-billion settlement for California homeowners hit by the foreclosure crisis, defended California’s landmark climate change law, protected the Affordable Care Act, helped win marriage equality for all Californians, and prosecuted transnational gangs that trafficked in guns, drugs, and human beings.”

“She became a US Senator in 2017. She was one of eight Democrats to vote against the passage of a trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada that would replace the North American Free-Trade Agreement.

“She supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ single-payer bill and Medicare for all. She also proposed a prescription drug plan that would allow setting a fair price no higher than 100 percent of the average price for that drug.

“Harris supports banning hydraulic fracking, but that’s far from her only energy or environment proposal. She co-sponsored a bill to prohibit offshore drilling in federal waters and in the Atlantic Ocean.

“Her first bill introduced as a senator was designed to make sure that people detained by Customs and Border Protection at ports of entry into the United States have access to legal representation.”(source govtrack.us)”Mike Pence was the governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that he served as a U.S. Congressman from 2001 to 2013. As a governor, he initiated the largest tax cut in Indiana’s history. He also signed a bill to restrict abortion”

Pence is pro-life and believes in Christian values. During his tenure as governor, Pence supported significant increases in education funding to pre-schools, voucher programs, and charter schools.”

As a governor, Pence inherited a 2 billion dollars budget deficit. Later he pressed for a balanced budget amendment to the state’s constitution. He is a defender of the Second Amendment and supports NRA.” (Source: In.gov)As a VP, Pence gained foreign policy experience. On February 5, 2017, Pence warned Iran not to test the resolve of the new Trump administration following their ballistic missile tests. Pence made several trips to Asia-Pacific region meeting with North Korean and Japanese leaders in an effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

On February 26, 2020, President Trump named Pence as the leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force to combat the spread of the corona virus. Though he has worked relentlessly to combat the virus, the jury is still out on his effectiveness.

As I said earlier, who becomes VP is very important this time. Please give your consideration to this matter and use your judgment.””