What with today’s political morass I thought back to my introduction to voting and political parties. Back in the early ’50s there was a “conflict” involving Korea. It was labeled such but it was no different than all the unprecipitated “conflicts” called wars, the last real conscionable one being World War II.
Back then young people were not as politi-savvy as they are today, at least not in my Lower East Side neighborhood (since gentrified to the East Village). I questioned Democratic President Truman’s wisdom concerning the atom bombings in Japan and it was upsetting. Although I admired FDR, I decided that I would always be an independent voter.
But then I heard this introspective proclamation, which embodied the very essence of America’s greatness. Corny no doubt, but it was as though the Statue Liberty could talk. It stated:
“Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man and they are stupid.”
That was Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Whatta guy. I thought to myself at the time, “His party is my party.” Ah, but that was then, a long, long time ago, and this is now and the party’s over. It seems as though that “splinter” he mentioned has festered and has sadly infected the once Grand Old Party. As for those “Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man,” stupid as suggested or not, their greed more than compensates for any intelligence they may or may not have. They have put our country up for sale to the highest bidder in the process of their goal: the for-profit privatization of America.
Hopefully Ike was prophetic about the demise of any party that would destroy the very tenets, the foundation, of what had made this country great and the envy of the world.
The writer also lives in Bayside.