I Still Like Ike

by

About half way through the State of the Union Address, I flipped the TV over to Animal Cops: Houston. That was for the dog’s benefit. She prefers the show depicting the depths of animal cruelty and pet negligence to the mewlings of politicians accompanied by strains of phony applause. Come to think of it, so do I.

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On the bedside table was a copy of Stephen Ambrose’s condensed biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower. I got it last week for my birthday. In the first twenty five pages there was more wisdom and keen insight than the president was able to muster last night in an hour’s worth of speaking. I know. That isn’t saying much. Last night’s SOTUS was charitably judged as “modest” and “workman-like”.

Eisenhower, however, reminded me of why he’s on my list of top five presidents ever.

Ike believed that the qualities of a great man were “vision, integrity, courage, understanding, the power of articulation, and profundity of character.” I didn’t hear any of those qualities come through in the President’s speech last night. What I heard was Nixon laughing at someone who has an even lower approval rating.

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Come to think of it, an Eisenhower robot from Disney’s Hall of Presidents would do a better job than the current commander-in-chief, as well as the mewling throng of wannabes that have already thrown their hats into the ring for 2008. The animatronic-Ike would says something like:

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.

All of us have heard this term ‘preventative war’ since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time… I don’t believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn’t even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing.

There is no victory at bargain basement prices.

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. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid....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.

May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion. Un-American activity cannot be prevented or routed out by employing un-American methods; to preserve freedom we must use the tools that freedom provides. A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom.

Humility must always be the portion of any man who recieves acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends.

God help any man who sits behind this desk who doesn’t know the military like I do.

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2 Responses to “I Still Like Ike”

  1. Captain Bringdown Says:

    Now that "fits" better than OJ’s glove.Very profound.Very real.

  2. Sarcastro Says:

    Dude, if you came here looking for something more than glib and facile observations, you are bound to be disappointed.

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