Oct 29, 2013

Republicans and Roosevelt's "Follow me!"

Republicans have long been known for leading the way and being first in many political areas.  Republicans pushed for the 13th Amendment, freeing slaves in the United States.  Republicans pushed for voting rights for former slaves.  Republicans pushed for women’s rights, and they were a major driving force behind the Civil Rights Movements.  Countless pages could be written about the Republican Party that since the 1850’s has influenced our nation.  However, few Republicans have been as diverse, spirited, and larger-than-life than Theodore Roosevelt.   

Most Republicans and Democrats alike groom themselves from local office and work their way up to higher offices in a long career that, if the votes are right, can carry them in political life long after most other people have retired.  Roosevelt could be said to have done the same thing, if it wasn’t for the difference that made the man lead in so many other areas. 

Unlike other politicians, Roosevelt was diverse.  He was a cattle rancher, a deputy sheriff, a historian, an explorer, a police commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, the Governor of New York, a lawyer and a soldier.  From his days as a soldier he would become known not for yelling “Charge” to his troops, but instead for yelling “Follow me.”   Ironically, being a soldier did not come before political offices.  In fact, Roosevelt left his position as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to join the fight in the Spanish-American War.  Rather than hide behind the desk and send others to war, he advocated for it, and then took up the reigns and fought in it. 

As President, Roosevelt continued to fight for those less privileged than himself.  He pushed for better business relations and in doing so launched over forty antitrust cases against various businesses in the county.  He pushed for some of the first regulations dealing with handling food safety and drugs.  Roosevelt also fought against false advertising and misleading promotions.  He pushed for the National Forest Service and helped develop five national parks, including areas like the Grand Canyon.  He was one of the few people to see the importance of the Panama Canal and when France left the project, he quickly pushed for the United States to intervene and maintain control of the canal. 

While those accomplishments alone are impressive for Roosevelt’s life, it also has to be noted that he broke down other barriers never attempted before.  Roosevelt led the way as the first President to host an African-American for a White House dinner, and he was the first to appoint a Jewish member of a presidential cabinet. 

In the end, the larger than life President who lived by his own rules could best be summed up as an American Hero.  While both parties today search for that next great presidential candidate, it will always be hard to overcome the presidential candidate named Roosevelt.  In one of his final campaigns he carried himself with such force and drive that he gave a ninety-minute speech during a campaign stop after being shot in the chest.   Perhaps it’s time for the Republican Party to look back at this hero and once again leave the slogan “Charge” and embrace the slogan “Follow us”. 

Oct 3, 2013

Washington, the Nazis had barricades too…

from: http://padresteve.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/beachobstacleshedges-vi.jpg
Ask someone to remember a Civil War Veteran and you’ll get a blank stare from most people.  They can recall the generals and the leaders, but most cannot pinpoint a name and say, “So-in-So served from Texarkana”.  Ask someone to remember a Spanish War Veteran and Roosevelt’s Roughriders come to mind, but no one recalls names or faces of the men.  Ask someone to recall a World War I Veteran, and some can tell you the name of a great grandfather who fought in the war to end all wars.  In Texarkana, someone might point to Otis Henry, a young man killed in the horrible trench warfare, but that’s because his name was promoted more by his mother than by anyone actually knowing him.  Sadly, it’s a fact, long after old soldiers die, they truly fade away as was once said.  Many of those soldiers are remembered today only through history books, pictures, online resources, and ultimately the statues and memorials that line our cities and towns.  When alive, these living heroes visited their memorials, left flowers, notes, mementos and even tears.  They recalled the names of those lost in war and the names of those surviving only to be gone by that day.  It’s a tradition that goes back hundred’s of years, perhaps thousands of years.  A war is fought and once over a memorial is built for those who died.  Hopefully it is built within the lifetime of the survivors so they can visit.  The World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. took too long to build.  Unfortunately, many of those who fought in the war died long before the memorial was built.  Those still alive, in the 80’s and 90’s, diligently plan to view the memorial.  For some, it will be the first and last time they visit. 

The Greatest Generation will not win the next Presidential Election.  Some of those visiting the memorial may not even see the next round of elections.  So, ultimately, in the big battle to keep the government open or shut down, their vote simply will not change the outcome.  There are too few of them left today. 

October the 1st marked the first day of the shut down.  Along with everything else not considered important, the memorial was shut down.  Someone forgot to tell the veterans.  Someone forgot to tell the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, fought on the islands near Japan, or flew over the shell, filled sky’s of Germany that the memorial was closed.  It wouldn’t have mattered anyway.  Who can tell a man who has seen hell first hand, that some guard in Washington is going to stop him from seeing the memorial.  A memorial paid for by the people and for the people’s greatest generation.  So while Washington argues and points fingers, the Obama Administration sends “Closed” signs to the World War II Memorial.  The response…the veterans simply remove the barricades from the open air memorial, after all, there were signs and barricades at Normandy along with Nazi machine gun fire….these veterans are used to moving past barricades. 

It was a triumph moment for the Greatest Generation, but not one unnoticed.  The President sent additional security.  The call went out, this is simply not right.  Radio announcers threatened to have a half a million people march on Washington, people read the papers and posted on Facebook and Twitter.  Once again, as that call went out, Republicans responded. 

The Republican National Committee immediately offered to pay for security to keep the memorial open.  Paul Rand (R) went on the floor to call those sending more security “ some idiot”.   Some Republican representatives, and some Democrat representatives even went and moved the barricades for the veterans.   While it is commendable that Democrats joined Republicans in moving the barricades, Democrats must remember that it is their leader in the President who sent the additional security to keep out the veterans. 

In the end, I’m proud to be a member of the Republican Party that has always, and continues, to stand up for what is right.  But, there comes a time when votes should not matter.  That time is now.  That time is now when the Greatest Generation, the entire reason we are not speaking German with a Nazi flag flying over our country, wants to visit their memorial.  It’s time to stand again America.  If we are not willing to stand with those left from the generation who saved us all, then it’s time to close shop because as a nation it will mean we have already gone under….
from: http://swordattheready.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/vetblocked.jpg