Posted by: patwogan | November 4, 2008

Politics

Today is election day.  It is touted to be a historic election because we have a woman running for Vice-President and a black candidate for President.  I have a little problem with Barack Obama being called “black” since his mother and ancestors on her side of the family are caucasian.  I guess the old prejudicial saying that if you have one drop of black blood in your heritage, you are black. 

What a bittersweet day it must be for Mr. Obama since his beloved Grandmother died just short of the end of his run for the Presidency.  However, as a Christian, Barack must believe as I do that those who have gone on before watch over us left here. 

I was born in December, l932, the month after Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected President.  He served as President through three plus terms until his death in 1945.  I was thirteen when he died and frankly thought he would be President forever. 

I don’t remember too much about the political campaigns of his second and third terms, but the campaign leading to his fourth term had as its catch phrase, ” Don’t change horses in the middle of the stream!”  This referred to the fact that the country was in the middle of World War II and the continuity of the Presidency seemed to be very important as he was negotiating with our Allies to bring an end to the war. 

I wonder if FDR would have been elected the first time if the campaign was as open as it is today.  I am sure the voters did not realize that he had been propped up in front of the podiums when he spoke.  Today’s candidates are subjected to such scrutiny and rightly so that every flaw is exposed. 

FDR had his critics and they were many.  His “socialistic” programs seemed to be just what was needed to bring the country out of the depression.  His alphabet soup of job creation saved many people’s lives as they were actually starving to death.  One of my favorite books is The Grapes of Wrath which chronicles the story of a family who left the dust bowl area of Oklahoma to travel to California.  The story of their journey is a picture of the Great Depression.

My Uncle Savoy, my mother’s oldest brother, made this journey successfully and prospered in California.  He was a hard worker with ambition, a combination born of Midwest values and humble beginnings.  He worked his whole life at the Roseville Pottery.  He only returned to Kansas for rare visits.

My father survived the layoffs of the depression at Prairie Pipe Line.  He worked in the office in Independence.  My mother told of one social get-together she and Dad had at their home.  They called it a Depression Party.  The menu was hobo beans and cornbread.  The invited guests were friends who worked with Dad.  The party was on a Thursday night and the next day, all the invited guests were laid off.  Only my father escaped the blanket firings.  Keep in mind, at this time, there was no unemployment insurance. 

Perhaps it took World War II to bring the country out of the depression, but I am sure that the programs of FDR and his skill as a leader were instrumental.  Much of our country’s infrastructure was constructed during this time.  For one example, the rock wall around the cemetery in Independence was built by WPA workers.  Perhaps that wouldn’t be considered a necessary thing today, but it did put people to work and gave them money to feed their families.  The father of one of my friends worked for the WPA.  Sometimes those workers were said to be “on relief”.  Many of the permanent structures at Riverside Park were also constructed by WPA workers.  These are still an asset to the community.   I imagine such structures are still standing all over The United States.

I have always been politically active and until this year was a registered Republican.  I changed my party affiliation this year because I felt this country needed change.  I have never missed voting in an election.  I hope I have passed on to my children the importance of being politically active and voting.  I really feel if you don’t exercise your right to vote in elections, you forfeit your right to complain about anyone holding office.  I for one want to be able to complain, so I vote!  Along with being politically active, I have always tried to be informed.

So, if you are reading this rambling post and you haven’t voted, shut down your computer and GO VOTE!

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Responses

  1. Yes we voted, number 8 and 9 in our precint yesterday morning and even heard them have to go outside and yell that the polls were now open. Remember “Big” Grandpa Williams and your political discussions with him sometime in these blogs. I put down my memory of prejudice when I first felt it with Walter Watkins and “GRIT”. Heard a driver say last night when Obama made his acceptance speech that all he could think of was the Jeffersons TV theme song as he listened to the speech. Yes he was white and hateful when he said it. It will never be possible for some to see past skin color I guess. Love ya.


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