Saturday, January 17, 2009

Will 2010 and 2012 compare to 1934 and 1936?

Today is my little brother's 47th birthday. He called last night. He wasn't sure which one of us was 48. I told him I wished it was him but that wasn't the case. I said, "for the moment you're 46. I'm 48. Tomorrow you'll be 47 and I'll still be 48." He isn't a stickler for dates and minutiae. It's amazing we're only sixteen months apart. There are a number of things that set us apart that sixteen months seems to be too small a difference to account for.

Among other things in our twenty-five minute chat (mostly him talking; me listening), we (he) discussed my impending trip to the Republic's seat of government which commences early tomorrow. He, an Obama supporter like me, is specificially concerned that our new president cannot accomplish everything on his agenda anytime soon, an agenda he (my brother) strongly feels needs to find success. On that matter, our sixteen months' difference is much closer. I agree on both counts. There are so many things to correct and undo, things done by the current junta in power that a mere four years will certainly not be enough; but can we afford for these corrections to take that long? An interceding problem is there are mid-term elections in 2010, midterms which historically go for the Party opposite that of the one occupying the White House. The Republicans have already begun the character-assassination -like commentary on most everything Mr. Obama says he plans to do or wishes he will be able to do. At the other end of the spectrum, the screaming-liberal zealotry base [I could at times be called a liberal zealot, but I rarely if ever scream] which played a large part in nominating and electing Mr. Obama now want more than a 100% return on their invested time, donated money, and importantly, their vote.

These folks need to plan on a return on these investments at much the same rate as their checking-with-savings accounts are now paying. Mine is at 0.05% - not five per cent, but 1/20 of a single per cent. Of course, I don't keep enough money in my account for 1/20 of 1% to ever add up to anything more than a penny; the folks of whom I write, including me, justifiably feel they have a lot invested. While the returns will come, they will in all likelihood come ever-so-slowly, perhaps at the rate of 0.05% per annum. Zealotdom will have to stand by and wait. (Many of this group are regularly found around the community doing just that - standing by, usually with a protest sign in tow, in front of the Federal Court House on Broadway, or inspriring horn-blowers at the Bardstown Road intersections of Grinstead Drive or Eastern Parkway). Standing and waiting and getting results will be an arduous process, but it will also be one our country can live with for generations to come. Wiping out the excessive abuses creted under the current administration will take more than a one-time sweep across the windshield with a squigee. The depths of our problems will require not only one sweep but several, and then, probably, several more.

The problem is we are a nation accustomed to instant gratification. We want what we want now and bitch to anyone in sight or earshot when that doesn't happen. We have become a nation of whiners and moaners as opposed to doers-then-sayers. Admittedly, I'm not the most energetic person - I don't do the above-mentioned protests on street corners, and there is a lot of other activity I don't do that is readily apparent by my body shape and size. I am one who often pulls out of the drive-through lanes at McDonald's when either it moves too slowly, or the voice coming out of the speaker is so garbled that understanding is an impossibility. For all of us, such impatience, at least as it regards the successes of the next presidential administration, will - must - be set aside.

There is an old joke comparing the operation of the government and the making of laws to that of the making of sausage. Making sausage may not be pretty, but it is easy. You throw everything in and see what comes out, hoping it is an edible product. But sausage-makers will often add to the adage that they don't always eat the sausage. Back in the 1930s, that was what President Franklin Roosevelt did as a response to the excesses of the Republican-led 1920s which created by 1929 a worldwide depression. FDR made a lot of sausage, some of which was edible and some of which wasn't. He took the time to try several different recipes and the American public gave him much leeway in the process. The Republican Party of his day, while supportive in the beginning, grew to a critical distrust of the centralised power Roosevelt used for correcting the problems of the federal government. But, as stated in a previous entry, they didn't all work in his firm term. Nonetheless, exhibiting support during the midterm elections of 1934, voters went against history and added to the Democratic numbers in both the House and the Senate. A few Republican seats fell not to the Democrats, but to the Progressive Party, which found its base in the upper midwest in states such as Wisconsin. Then in 1936 FDR was reelected to the presidency with an increase of over 21% from his 1932 numbers. On the other hand, the Republican nominee's increase was just under 6%, resulting in an even bigger win for the incumbent president, who economically speaking, hadn't moved the country much at all; the different sausage recipes had not all produced an edible entree.

Will the electorates of 2010 and 2012 be as trusting and supportive of President Barack Obama as were those of 1934 and 1936? I think they will. In reality, they must.


This will be my last post until the return from my Potomac visitation. I'm not advanced enough to do any live-blogging from along Pennsylvania Avenue, or even to download pictures taken at the places I hope to visit, either on The Mall or in a cemetery. My travel partners have agendae of their own; maybe they can be of help. When I next write, America will be in a new era, the Barack Hussein Obama era. I voted for Mr. Obama; it is one of the most important things I've ever done in those forty-eight years my brother and I talked about last night on the phone. Let it begin.

Thanks Be To God.

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The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.