Monday, February 18, 2008

Presidents Day and Politics.

I have never been a member of a political party. But as far back as I can remember I have continued to be an observer of political issues.

As a Georgian, I loved and voted for Jimmy Carter both times for President. I did not vote for Bill Clinton but respected him as a brilliant speaker and a gifted politician and a patriot. However, I do believe a person's personal life is important, and his affair in the oval office with a girl only a few years older than his daughter is more than a personal affair.

The fact that the Republican politicians were looking for any and all "evidence" against the Democratic President William J. Clinton was a sad episode in our history. Equally as tragic is the relentless and hate filled Democratic public attacks on Republican President George W. Bush.

The tragedy of "gotcha" politics compounds the problems in a world where the radical Muslims in many Middle Eastern nations have openly declared their intentions to destroy this nation as well as all of Western civilization. The academic "Western Civ must Go" slogan of the 60's has been taken up seriously by our suicidal enemies as well as the thoughtless "blame America" people.

My father died when I was nine. Papa was a devout Christian thinker, whose faith and life had a profound influence on me. So politics has always taken a back seat to my Christian commitment. But I was raised by a mother who was an avid reader and took a keen interest in politics and was quite vocal about her views. She could be (and was) quite opinionated!

For President's day 2008, I will write about politics in the 1930's. Mama was not as big an admirer of President Franklin D. Roosevelt as were many of the people in our town who voted for him for a second term saying "he took the wrinkles out of my belly." They then voted for him for a third and fourth term so as to "not change horses in the middle of the stream" during World War II.

While others were praising Roosevelt for the eight-hour day, Mama was not reluctant to point out that some people could not "see an inch from their noses" and see the long view with the government taking over the lives of the individual citizens. Mama felt she was seeing the long view for the common good rather than individual issues for personal gain.

Mama was also suspicious of the Workers Unions. She thought they would create as many problems as they solved. And last, but not least, she disagreed with Roosevelt's Alcoholic beverage lobby support and work of repealing the eighteenth amendment and again legalizing (and therefore popularizing) alcoholic drinks. Today the powerful muti-million dollar Alcohol Insustry has bought the approval of a large percentage of our people and the silence of all but a few.

Certainly legalizing Alcoholic Beverages has not solved the alcohol problem. Alcoholism is a major problem in our society, We now have children who are alcoholics as well as a holocost of "Driving Under the Influence" deaths. Yes, Alcoholisn is a disease. But unlike the some otehr diseases, thanksfully there is a known cure. Persons suffering from cancer or AIDS who only hope to find such a sure cure?

Mama believed (and stated ) that these positions negated whatever other good President Roosevelt had done. I was a child, but I remember some of the arguments in favor of legalizing alcohol -- that the revenues would buy school books to educate the children (the same arguments used more recently to legalize gambling) -- and that the government could then "control" alcoholic beverages. Thus legalization would do away with speak-easies and the evils of the bootlegging of "deadly liquor brewed in old rusted auto parts by the Snuffy Smith types in the hills and backwoods of nowhere." The liquor dealers and pro-liquor politicians knew how to phrase their arguments then as now to influence the thoughtless. I was a small child at the time but read the daily newspaper and heard the discussions on the neighborhood front porches.

It is interesting to have lived long enough to see that politics has been alive and working for a long time.


Carol said...

Wonderful post!

Jane said...

Thanks for this wonderful information. I love the fact that Mama Baird had a political opinion, which was not common for women in her day, I imagine.


Carol said...

(2-19-06)I would like to add to my previous comments...I love reading the stories from your childhood. I remember Mama Baird talking about current events whenever we visited her. I hope you are having a great birthday.

Beth said...

Great post :)

Now we know where we got our opinionated-ness from. :)

Happy Birthday!!!

Norma said...

My mother always voted Democratic and my father Republican. He liked to say that FDR got her a ten cent raise during the Depression and she never forgot it.