Friday, October 30, 2009

Folk Music and Campaigning

Sort of a misleading title in fact. More about what is Politics and whatever does it have to do with Folk--meaning People. People, after all, are the heart of folk music. That probably means we have to consider everything popular "folk"music; and that is probably correct to a great extent. Some people expect the twanging guitar or banjo for Folk and Piano and crooning for Pop and who knows what for Rap---and so on. I don't want to mislead you---this is not about music. It is about people--Folk if you will. It probably should be on The Almost Daily Rooster but, honestly, more people visit here than there so I say---why not here.

The band Chicago had a song a while back about Harry Truman and Christ Smither had So Long Harry Truman . By now you must realize that I have been thinking about him at this election time of year and how he relates to "folk" not music--just "folk"--"people".

Unfortunately I cannot post either song here due to copyrights but why not view the real thing:

You know what---he was the real thing. Even though at the time no one did imagine how strong and effective he would be. I include myself in that group.

I am surely not equipped to give you a full bio but just a few thoughts at this time of year and at a time when we so desperately yearn for leadership, honesty, and the common or human touch. It is possible for me to give you some brief insights into him, his humanity, and mostly his honesty. They will be brief and, hopefully, you can read more about him in a wonderful book by Merle Miller--"Plain Speaking".

In recent yesterdays and, even, today's we have seen "dithering", "lying", "potential votes counted", and so much more that would have never been done by HST---Harry S. Truman.

Think about these few interesting items---after seeing the picture of an honest man relishing an unexpected victory---well, unexpected by the polls:

Those of a certain age will recall the Chicago newspaper headline of DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN that printed before the results were in and that was what was fully expected. A NY D.A. was going to beat HST. Wow!. Think of it---a digression---can you think of Giuliani as Pres.?

Back to HST now. We spoke earlier of his honesty, determination, humanity, and lack of dithering.

As to the lack of dithering you must think only of Hiroshima and, while he surely had sleepless nights, he made a decision. No dithering there to explain his hope for the saving of many U S Military lives. You must also think of his determination in recognizing the state of Israel against the advice of his consultants because he felt it the "right" thing to do. Determination also in de-segregating the Armed Services. Hell, you cannot do everything at one time. The rest had to come later but groundwork was laid.

Another thing that has to be recalled is his involvement in the Korean Conflict (not war---technical thing) and his shutting down of a recalcitrant general. Recalcitrant is a mild term for the potential disaster he might have caused. Again--Merle Miller's writings will fill in the details much better I am doing.

When he left office he drove back to his home in Missouri with his wife, Bess (never a happy White House occupant), without any Secret Service escorts at that time and stopped at local eateries on the way.

True, it was a different time. The point, however, is he never wanted or received the pomp and panoply that later Presidents either expect or receive--or both. It is sad that now Presidents do have to travel in a "bubble" that seems like they are "pressing the flesh" but, in truth, cannot. JFK has changed all that. Sadly.

Digressing aside now. One other thing which one might find in his brilliant bio by Merle Miller; HST's belief that the Presidency should not be demeaned by commercialization. He refused speaking engagements for monetary reimbursement---OK ---paid speeches (you have to appreciate my trying to raise the level of writing)--with the explicit comment that the Presidency is not to be used for profitable gain for a President. Shades of ---pretty much all of our latter day Sainted Presidents---well, GWB does sell seats for only 5.00 or so---what a bargain. The point is---not 5.00 or 1,000,000,000 it is the sanctity of the Presidency. HST realized that.

We end with a humorous thought. The man was able to live with his wife who despised being a 1st lady, move back to his home in Independence (after that long drive with his wife) and live with his mother in law there who never did appreciate his presidency.

So--as Chris Smither wrote---Farewell Harry Truman. Where are you when we need you?

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