Republican Fears in 1936 Same As Today

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My wife bought me a book of selected front pages from the New York Times, from 1920 to 1976, at a garage sale and it is a treasure.  It imparts some amazing insights into the news and the history of our nation.  I was astonished as I read this article from 1936.

THE TEXT OF THE PLATFORM – Cleveland, June 11

Following is the text of the party platform as adopted by the
Republican National Convention tonight:

America is in peril.  The welfare of American men and women and the future of our youth are at stake.  We dedicate ourselves to the preservation of their political liberty, their individual opportunity and their character as free citizens, which today for the first time are threatened by government itself.

For three long years the administration has dishonored American traditions and flagrantly betrayed the pledge upon which the Democratic party sought and received public support.

The powers of Congress have been usurped by the President.

The integrity and authority of the Supreme Court have been flaunted.

The rights and liberties of American citizens have been violated.

Regulated monopoly has displaced free enterprise.

The administration constantly seeks to usurp the rights reserved to the States and to the people.

It has insisted on passage of laws contrary to the Constitution.

It has intimidated witnesses and interfered with the right of petition.

It has dishonored our country by repudiating its most sacred obligations.

It has been guilty of frightful waste and extravagance, using public funds for partisan political purposes.

It has promoted investigations to harass and intimidate American citizens, at the same time denying investigations into its own improper expenditures.

It has created a vast multitude of new offices, filled them with its favorites, set up a centralized bureaucracy and sent out swarms of inspectors to harass our people.

It has bred fear and hesitation in commerce and industry, thus discouraging new enterprises, preventing employment, and prolonging the depression.

It secretly has made tariff agreements with outr foreign competitors, flooding our markets with foreign commodities.

It has coerced and intimidated voters by withholding relief to those opposing its tyrannical policies.

It has destroyed the morale of many of our people and made them dependent upon government.

Appeals to passion and class prejudice have replaced reason and tolerance.

To a free people, these actions are insufferable.  This campaign cannot be waged on the traditional differences between the Republican and Democratic parties.

The responsibility of this election transcends all previous political divisions.  We invite all Americans, irrespective of party, to join us in defense of American Institutions.

Alf Landon was unanimously accepted by the GOP as its candidate for president. He asked that two more planks be added to the platform before his nomination was final:  first, that sweatshops and unrestricted child labor be abolished and that laws be passed to regulate maximum hours, minimum wages, and working conditions for women and children; and second, that the US currency should be backed by a gold standard.

I find these old newspapers fascinating in so many ways.  The articles are written in clear but advanced language and style on the assumption that its readers were intelligent, informed, and educated – unlike today’s news which is written to a fifth-grade reading and comprehension level.

It’s very hard, if not impossible, to find a bias in these pages.  Even during the war years, events were described impartially.  The standard for journalists was: facts only, double- and triple-verified.  Political coverage was painstakingly even-handed and dispassionate.

All of the news on the Times front pages was real news – coverage of real events, with no fluff or pop culture.  A box in the top left corner promises “All the News That’s Fit to Print”.

In the 79 years since this front page of the Times was published, much has changed in the relationship between the media and the public.  Is news reporting dumbed-down because of us, or we because of it?  Do we tolerate biased reporting because we have no choice, or because we are able to choose news that fits our personal bias?  Either way, the loss of accurate, salient, unbiased news harms Americans and our progress as a nation.

The stories themselves remind me that ours is not the only time in history with grave challenges, conflict and tragedy.  Our parents and grandparents lived through a period of historic human suffering and heroism.  What must they think of our squabbles today over gender identity and political correctness?

And the story above, contrasting Republicans and Democrats, reminds me that some things haven’t changed much.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

And you may ask yourself
Am I right?  Am I wrong?
And you may say to yourself
My God, what have I done?
Same as it ever was . . . same as it ever was . . .
Same as it ever was . . . same as it ever was . . .

Once In A Lifetime – Talking Heads

“Talking Heads” – Think Before You Talk

photo courtesy of yourblackworld.netI don’t know about you, but sometimes when I watch the news I wonder what planet these talking head “experts” are from.

Michael Eric Dyson is regarded as an expert on race relations.  He is an author and professor at Georgetown University, and a devout liberal Democrat.  He was the “go to” talking head on Face the Nation this morning.

The topic was the riots in Ferguson, Missouri that resulted when a white policeman shot and killed an unarmed young black man who had allegedly just robbed a local store.  The details of the shooting have not been released by the police department.  Last night one person was shot and seven arrested in the rioting.

Here are Dyson’s talking points about the community, the shooting, and the riots – all wrapped up in a neat, little political package.  Moderator Bob Schieffer dimly grinned and nodded throughout Dyson’s soliloquy as though his hearing-aid battery had just gone stone cold.  Following Dyson’s points are the questions Schieffer should have asked:

  • “You’ve got white flight – this formerly predominantly white suburb is now 65% black . . . ”  (Um, okay.  Are you saying that having more pigment in one’s skin causes one to smash store windows and steal stuff?)
  • “You’ve got 22% poverty . . .”  (Is that because liberal government officials made fatherhood obsolete by paying single women to stay home and make babies?  Or because liberal government officials won’t allow parents to remove their children from failing government schools?  Or maybe because the policies of our liberal government over the last six years have driven the economy into the dumpster?)
  • “You’ve got the over-policing of an entire community, who feel racially harassed by the police . . . [only 3 African-American officers on a staff of 60]”    (How many applicants for the police academy were black?  Have any African-American applicants have been rejected?  Most police departments will do almost anything to train and hire minority applicants.  Are there any?)
  • “Every 28 hours across America a black person is killed by a security guard, police officer or some other executive of the state or police force . . . ”   (Did you know every 58 hours a policeman is killed in the line of duty.  Aren’t there a lot more bad guys than there are policemen?)
  • “The militarization of the police force . . . ”  (Yes, they say all that armament given to police departments since Obama started disassembling our national military forces is “surplus” military equipment.  Do you suppose the administration is worried about a revolution here at home?)
  • This president knows better than most what happens in poor communities that have been antagonized by the hostile relationship between black people and the police department . . .  (How would he know that?  He was a pampered rich kid who got a free ride to Harvard.  His wife spends more on designer purses than you make in a year.)
  • There is no functional equivalence between police who are armed to the teeth with military-grade weaponry trained at vulnerable black communities who are inflamed now as a result of decades of negligence.   (Why do blacks keep voting for the same guys who neglected them for decades?)
  • This is one of the key points that we expected from (Obama) as an African-American male.  (You voted for him only because he’s black?  That explains it.  He certainly had no experience or knowledge.)  He could inform American society why people might be hurt and angry.   You can deploy political strategies and public policies at the same time.  (Obama makes his decisions based on politics instead of good policy?  Shocking!) He’s an oratorical genius!  (With or without his teleprompter and speech writers?)   Deploy that to . . . white people whose white privilege obscures from them what it means that their children can walk home every day and be safe.  They are not fearful that somebody will kill their child who goes to get some iced tea and candy from a store.  (Is that because they left the neighborhood when the gangstas took over?) 

Expert talking head Michael Eric Dyson may not know it, but he finds fault with all the policies of Obama and the liberal Democrats.  And still, I will bet you a dollar to a surplus militarized police department donut that Mr. Dyson will vote straight Democrat in the next election.   Go figure.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?…Am I wrong?
And you may say to yourself
My God!…What have I done?

THE TALKING HEADS – Once In A Lifetime


Can’t have an article about talking heads without a song by THE TALKING HEADS . . .