22 August 2012

An Old American Political Tradition?

I think the Arabs are on to something here, as they celebrate the end of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr, dipping into the waters near Haifa:









Why we also had American Politicians dipping into Israeli waters:

"Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder had gone skinnydipping in the religiously significant Sea of Galilee while on a congressional fact-finding mission to Israel."



“A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit,” well his wife was there so how bad could it have been.

Don't you actually think he behaved more like an Israeli, or was he just revisiting an American convention? Some former American statesmen held the same ritual:



"Not only was American renaissance man Benjamin Franklin ... he also loved to swim both clothed and nude at a time when, according to Smithsonian Magazine, 'swimming was something most people did only to escape drowning'. Franklin went for daily swims in London's river Thames in the 1750s, but ultimately ditched skinny-dipping for 'air baths,' which he described in a 1750 letter to a friend":

You know the cold bath has long been in vogue here (London) as a tonic, but the shock of the cold water has always appeared to me as too violent, and I have found it much more agreeable to my constitution to bathe in another element, I mean cold air. With this in view I rise almost every morning and sit in my chamber without any clothes whatever, half an hour or an hour, according to the season, either reading or writing.




Theodore Roosevelt was known for his sportsmanlike adventures, and described [dipping] thusly in his autobiography: "If we swam the Potomac, we usually took off our clothes."


"John Quincy Adams, in office from 1825 to 1829, stripped down to his birthday suit for laps in the Potomac at 5:00am every morning."

Read more about these American Pioneers at the UPI blog from where I found all this: "American politicians who loved skinnydipping."


This must be a tradition held onto from the former Great Britain. One current British Prince is carrying it on:

Britain's Royal Prince Harry also believes in dipping. He challenged "11-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte to a swimming race in a pool in Las Vegas."

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