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November 23, 2018

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Interesting story! Politics was so different...

My favorite Truman story involves the Manhattan Project. He took office in April 1945. A few weeks later, the Joint Chiefs briefed him about a big bomb under development in NM. The president knew only sketchy info on it. He was told it could save thousands of lives, but at a terrible cost for certain. He ordered the bombs dropped in August 1945. WWII ended. President Truman would say many times over the course of the rest of his life that he didn't regret dropping the bombs. The man had tremendous grit and courage.


1948 was politically riven by factions but the main show was still in the center ring. Both Thomas Dewey and Harry Truman were center-left candidates. Another, Henry Wallace, was hard left while yet another, Strom Thurmond, was hard right and a spirit guide to the current Republican Party based on racial and cultural grievances.

I had to go to Wikipedia to refresh my failing memory about this campaign. It includes the standard electoral map and one with a breakdown of the vote by county. Arizona, for example, went completely to Truman, while a state like California was Republican on its coast and Democratic in its interior. San Francisco was red and Bakersfield was blue! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1948

There were no deep-seated differences between the parties then and the campaign itself was little more than a stylistic difference between the earthy Truman and the indistinct if high-toned Dewey. Truman fought hard while Dewey coasted and the rest is history.

It's tantalizing to look back and see a nation that was politically functional and basically sane. That was probably a result of having survived two epic crises, the Great Depression and World War II, where government delivered the goods without offending the basic sense of cultural identity. Republicans carried on for another 20 years or so as a party based in economic reality and internationalism. Eventually, the marriage of Republican paleo-conservatives and southern segregationists reshaped both the GOP and America. Today, we're haunted by hungry ghosts we cannot begin to feed or placate.

Dewey's running mate, California governor Earl Warren, was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1953 by Dwight Eisenhower, In 1967, his court unanimously overthrew anti-miscegenation laws in Loving vs Virginia. Those states were all in the South and border states like Missouri. A reporter tracked down an aged Truman and asked him for his reaction. He angrily stated that the Bible forbids such sinfulness and that America will pay a steep price for flouting its edicts. Today, 16% of all marriages in America are interracial. Things change! Missouri is now a deep-red state and California is deep blue.

I was one of the people at that "whistle stop" It was, at the age of 11 the beginning of my interest in politics.
Arizona was reliably democratic in those days. A republican had trouble being elected to any office.
It was also the last time Arizona voted for a democrat for President until Bill Clinton's first run.
Truman had been underestimated his entire life. He displayed incredible courage by ordering the atomic devastation of Japan.
He kept MacArthur from starting WW III in Korea and becoming the first American Emperor.

I shudder to think what the current part-time occupant of the WH would do under similar circumstances.

Arizona was reliably Democratic along with Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and the rest of the South in those days. No indication at all that Arizona was anything other than politically right of center throughout its history as a state. Truman’s statement on racially mixed marriages isn’t a surprise to those who have roots in the states of real America: states which actually participated in the American Civil War.

Not much has changed since the muderous rampage and pillaging of the Americas by filthy europeans beginning around 1450.

Murder, rampage and pillage (and slavery) were hardly contained to the white tribe. I recommend reading "The Comanche Empire" by Pekka Hämäläinen for starters.

I have and more.
So!! Thats no excuse.

How about Aztec human sacrifice?
My point is "not much has changed."
To quote ee cummings, "manunkind".

And then the Comanches would likely not have been the power they became as a result of their success in using stolen Spaniard horses.

I apologize for getting off subject.

Harry: Truman was a good guy.
I always thought he was probably one of the most “Honest” presidents the USA had.
He reminded me of my frugal Scottish farmer grandfather. A solid basic down to earth person. That toiled every day of his life in the black Iowa soil and never regretted it nor complained. I never heard him say a more vulgar word than Gosh Darn.
Harry made some tough decisions and probably struggled with them mentally his entire life
However I do not believe he regretted most of his time as president.
Maybe Anon is right politics has changed but at 78 I am not so sure.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Honest Abe

OOPs that was Jon7190 not Anon that said politics was so different.

Murder, rampage, and slavery are what human beings do. Northern Europeans have proven to be historically adept at these things, along with Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Timur, Attila, et al., et al. (And Kyrsten Sinema, if Martha McSally's ads are to be believed.)

I am hard pressed to think of a group that hasn't embraced murder, rampage, and slavery at some point in its "development." Unitarians??

Now, how in the heck did we get here from Harry Truman?

Thanks Cal for the shout out to my shortest post ever! Your grandfather sounds like a great character.

I was also thinking that I appreciated Rogue's acknowledgement of the often overlooked postscript to the Hiss/Chambers affair that it's been proven post-Cold War that Hiss actually was a Soviet agent. It has also been shown, with historical insight, that the contemporary hysteria about Communists in the government was not completely unfounded.

Politics would be much easier if we could have the insight we get from decades of experience, discovery and hindsight, but have it right now for today's issues!

Back in 76 while backpacking to D.C. i spent some time on top of a mountain with some Unitarians. Seemed to be nice folks.

How did we get here from gentle
Harry?
Hiroshima!

Jon 7190, i don't think politics has changed much since humans learned about forming society by watching wolf packs.

PS, i approve of ALL the above and no animals were hurt during my postings.

Then there are those that believe
"killing provides what is
needed in after life. "
Jayang Fan

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