Thursday, November 21, 2013

Republican Party

I was looking through my Grandma's photo albums before the 2013 Elections and came across an interesting letter written by George E. Bradt of Everett, Washingon in 1977. George was the father of a gentleman my Grandma dated on and off. The following post is more a thought experiment for me to think that it could've been my great great, great, Grandpa who wrote the Republican Party Platform by candlelight in a Wisconsin barn, the same political party that helped to emancipate the slaves during the Civil War.

I date the letter to 1977 based on information about George's birthday and Watergate....Read

"I am past 90 years old. I was raised in a Republican home in Wisconsin. My Grandfather, William Bradt, was one of the men who wrote the platform for the Republican Party when it was born. It, the Party, was born in a barn at night by lantern light in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854 and in 1861 Lincoln was elected President and he is the man who buildt the Party.

Sheldon Bradt, my Father, was a soldier in the Civil War during the latter part of President Lincoln's term in office. My father was taken prisoner and was in Andersonville prison. President Lincoln got him exchanged for Southern prisoners.

You can see why I have a soft spot in my heart for the Republican Party. I was raised in a very strong Republican home but I changed to the Democrat Part when I was 24 years old.

I would like to see the Republican Party clean up this racketeering mess that President Nixon has gotten us into and I know we Democrats will help. I would like to see our old clean Two Party system in power once more.

We will have have to get Nixon out first and it should be done before the next election. I just can't trust Nixon on foreign affairs, which badly need expert attention now before it is to late.
I have lived under both Party's since President Chester. Arthur and I have enjoyed a lot of good political life until now. I am not enjoying this mess and I wonder if I will get to live again, under our good old Two Party System.

I would like to pass on the words of President John Adams, "I Pray Heaven to Bestow the Brest of Blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but Honest and Wise men ever rule under this Roof
George E. Bradt."

Such a close connection to the foundation of a political party that did so much for the United States.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Our Legacy: The Weakest Generation**


Our Legacy: The Weakest Generation? By Dana Milbank
"WASHINGTON -- In my mother's telling, I exist because of the March on Washington.
Her account went something like this: In 1963, she was a student at Goddard College, an experimental school in Vermont that attracted the forerunners of the hippies. My father had come to Goddard the previous year, and though my mom first noticed him throwing peas in the dining hall (this seems to be an inherited trait) she didn't meet him, she said, until that day on the Mall 50 years ago this week, when Goddard students who had arrived separately executed a daft plan to meet near the Washington Monument.

Alas, my father, when I asked him about it last week, had no such recollection. My mother died five years ago, so I'll never know whether her account -- my founding narrative -- is apocryphal, or whether memory of it has been clouded by things people did to their minds in the '60s. Perhaps it doesn't matter. Whether they first met that day or not, my future parents, 20 years old at the time, were both there for the signal event of their generation.

"I can still see the scene," my father told me, recalling his spot along the south side of the reflecting pool from which he could see the speakers at the Lincoln Memorial and hear the speeches clearly. "When people talk about Martin Luther King, that's my connection. It's a small connection -- no handshake or anything -- but I'm proud to have been there."
I envy him that connection, to a cause that stirred so many Americans and defined a generation. My generation has no equivalent.

I was born five years after the March on Washington and three weeks after King's assassination. My mother told me that in those grim days of April 1968, she wondered whether she had done the right thing bringing a child into the world. I grew up on Joan Baez and The Kingston Trio. A poster hung in my bedroom informed me: "War is not healthy for children and other living things." My first political memories were of the George McGovern campaign and of a boycott of Nestle for pushing infant formula on kids in poor countries.

But this culture was my parents', not mine. There have been many noble causes in my time -- the fight against apartheid, for gay rights and for environmentalism -- but none captured my generation or required the sort of sacrifice the civil-rights movement did.
John McCain, in his campaigns for the presidency, spoke of the importance of "a cause greater than self-interest." The one-time prisoner of war, who refused his Vietnamese captors' offer of release to avoid giving them propaganda value, knows something about that.
But what about those born after 1955, who turned 18 after the Vietnam War draft had been suspended? For the first time in decades -- perhaps for the first time in history -- Americans came of age without an existential threat to the nation and without massive social upheaval at home. For us, the waning Cold War was just a theoretical threat, and the vestigial air-raid drills at school a curiosity. When we were prepared to sacrifice for the country after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush told us to go shopping. We grew up soft: unthreatened, unchallenged and uninspired. We lacked a cause greater than self.

The effects on our politics has been profound. Without any concept of actual combat or crisis, a new crop of leaders -- Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin -- treats governing as a fight to the death, with no possibility of a negotiated peace. Without a transcendent social struggle calling us to seek justice as Americans, they substitute factional causes -- Repeal Obamacare! Taxed Enough Already! -- or manufactured crises over debt limits and government shutdowns. Though the problem is more pronounced on the right today, the generational drift is nonpartisan. President Obama has extraordinary talents but shows no ability to unify the nation in common purpose or to devote sustained energy to a cause greater than his own.

Certainly, there are young leaders serving in the capital who are as enlightened as those of any previous generation, just as there are volunteer warriors fighting for America as bravely as any conscript ever did. But as a whole, my generation, untested by actual trial, is squandering American greatness by turning routine give-and-take into warfare.

Tom Brokaw justifiably called the cohort that survived the Great Depression and fought the Second World War the greatest generation. I'm afraid that my generation will someday be called the weakest.
Dana Milbank is a Washington Post columnist."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Swallow your words.

I couldn't take it anymore. My eyes were glazing over with sheer boredom from the United States history, Cold War, blah, blah, blah, and besides I was tired of counting the ceiling tiles.  I quickly raised my hand and just as fast I cut her off, "I think the United States has the most boring history of all the world." She shot right back, "I disagree with you. I find it fascinating." I felt a certain sense of commadrie with the few individuals who agreed, but the moment was fleeting. What was I going to change by merely stating my opinion? Would the Washington Board of Education change the entire curriculum because of some tall lanky uninterested teenager. Awww hell no.

And yet, years later, I wonder why that moment in my high school career stuck out to me the most. There wasn't anything particularly unique about the situation. She didn't even skip a beat or pause to reflect or respond with something insightful or witty.

And years later, I find myself trying to swallow those words in the most dignified manner as I am seriously considering becoming a history teacher.

And granted, I could've vocalized an insult about someone or simply walked out. Either way, be careful what you say as your words may become your next meal.