Saturday, October 30, 2010

Politics - Intensely Intellectual and Personal

Politics. My sister and brother and I have been been engaged politically since we were young teenagers.
On the phone last night, my sister remembered that Mr. Duff was governonr of Pennsylvania when Eisenhower was elected in 1952. She was four years old. I remember sitting on the floor near the large console radio in my grandparents' house in November 1948, when we all thought Mr. Dewey had been elected, only to awake the next morning to find that Mr. Truman had won. I was six years old.
So, it was no surprise that we volunteered as very young Republicans to do our part for the GOP and for America. We were elected to party offices at county and state levels in several states as we grew up and moved because of marriage or work. I served President Reagan as a political appointee. We have folded mailings, called to get out the vote, caucased to try to find the right path forward, fought to be heard and to make a difference. It's in our blood and in our very tissue - politics is important, necessary, honorable, consuming.
And, politics is both intellectually and personally challenging. It often takes guts to hold onto a position that's not expedient, and it's even more challenging to arrive at that position through discussion, reading and thinking. It's personally challenging to be told you are wrong, stupid, standing in the way of progress, out of step with the majority, simply not in tune with the times.  Sometimes those criticisms prove to be correct and one must reconsider one's intellectual position and adapt. Sometimes, knowing defeat will be the endgame, one must steel oneself to carry on when being out-of-step is right, hoping that eventually the world of politics will come around to its senses.
Today, America is at one of those crossroads when everything is being challenged.  Who is right? Those who want to spend us to recovery? Those who want to move government out of the way so the private sector can make the recovery possible? Most Americans, I think, feel that a little of both is needed and on November 2nd, we'll find out which position is uppermost in our national consciousness.
But, one thing is sure - finding the intellectually honest personal position, reading history and studying politics to understand why we are who we are and where we are - those efforts will help us succeed. When the election bluster has died down, it will be those qualities in our political leaders and in our citizenry that will help our country to overcome its malaise.
We cannot and should not all agree all the time. But, right now, America needs all of us to find the intellectual and personal courage to do what is right to try to steer the Good Ship USA into a safe harbor.

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