As yet another disgusting election season nears its end, I find that Dwight D. Eisenhower has been on my mind lately.
Eisenhower was the first President I knew. I was born in 1951 and he became President in 1953.
I remember like it was yesterday standing at the corner of Pierrepont and Lincoln Avenues in front of my grade school (Pierrepont Elementary) as I debated with a long-forgotten classmate about Kennedy vs. Nixon. I was in 6th grade and Eisenhower would be out of office by January 1961.
He passed away in 1969.
Since I was so young when Eisenhower was President, I don’t remember much of what went on…but I do remember the Interstate Highway system being built. Reading about his time in office is fascinating as I try to recall how my childhood fit into the times.
I can’t recall exactly when the name “Eisenhower” was purged from the GOP’s history. I recall David Eisenhower and wife Julie showing up at some conventions, and perhaps they still do, but the Eisenhower name hasn’t been uttered in years as far as I can tell.
The plain truth is that Eisenhower was not nuts. The current GOP IS nuts. And Eisenhower is just not crazy enough for them to give him much thought.
There are plenty of sites which have some of Eisenhower’s best quotations.
I’ve selected a few that make me feel nostalgic for Ike. Maybe I’m just wandering back to my childhood, but I don’t think that’s the main reason I’ve been thinking about Eisenhower.
I think I’m just trying to remember what a more sane GOP might sound like…
So, here are some of my favorite quotations from Ike:
“Unless we progress, we regress.”– State of the Union Address January 9, 1959
“Only Americans can hurt America.”
“There are a number of things wrong with Washington. One of them is that everyone is too far from home.”
“May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.”
“If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.”
“Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.“
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
And, I offer this excerpt from Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, January 17, 1961: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Dwight_D._Eisenhower#Farewell_address_.281961.29
- Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Eisenhower knew that American needs “an alert and knowledgeable citizenry” and that “The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.”
So, as we come to this Election Day, with the process marred by Citizens United and Koch brother money, voter suppression, extreme hostility to President Barack Obama, most likely fueled by racism, attacks on women’s rights, and the general ignorance of the public, what would Eisenhower be thinking today??
How would he be viewing the “future of this republic”?
Filed under: Current Politics | Tagged: "I Like Ike", 2014 mid-term elections, David Eisenhower, Dwight D. Eisenhower, GOP, Julie Eisenhower, Kennedy vs. Nixon, military-industrial complex, Republican Party, Richard Nixon | Leave a comment »