I try not to talk about politics too often in this blog, and when I do talk about it I always make an effort to be even handed. Even handedness is not difficult in talking politics really, for there are so many sins on both sides of the political spectrum that no party should feel superior to the other.
Believe it or not, there was a time, not all that long ago, when politicians of the stature of The Iron Lady were not an uncommon thing. They had names like Roosevelt, Teddy a conservative and his cousin, Franklin, a liberal in every sense of the word. There was also Sam Rayburn, a Texas Democrat, who became Speaker of the Texas House at age 29 and Speaker of the House in the U.S. Congress at the age of 58. Any listing of political leaders of great stature would be incomplete if it did not include Everett Dirksen, a Republican member of first, the House of Representatives; and then, the United States Senate for a total of 36 years representing the State of Illinois. Rest assured no one of Dirksen's stature has come out of the State of Illinois since Dirksen. He played a pivotal role in the passage of the Civil Right Act of 1964 and the Open Housing Act of 1968, both landmarks of civil rights legislation.
Today most minorities think civil rights legislation came to them solely as a gift from Democrats. Nothing could be further from the truth. True, another political leader of great stature, Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat from Texas was instrumental in the civil rights movement, but many other Democrats resisted civil rights initiatives to the bitter end. In the south, it was Democrat Governors and other Democrat elected officials who barred school house doors to keep out black students and administered rigged tests to prevent blacks from receiving voter registration cards.
Reagan and Thatcher were the last of their kind. With them ended the era of great political statesmen and the era of political hacks began to take their
place. The political hacks are so numerous in the halls of power these days it is difficult to remember there was a time when men and women of good will disagreed with each other but worked together for the good of the country rather than to have their own way and secure their own ever increasing wealth.
Today we have politicians who consider it a badge of honor to pledge to turn down the smallest of tax increases even if spending cuts that accompany such increases are far greater. Such a pledge was taken publicly by every Republican candidate for President in the televised debates during the 2012 election. Such demagoguery is hardly the mark of a man or woman of political and personal stature. But we have no politicians of great political and personal stature today. For the most part, all we have are self-serving demagogs. The few politicians who are personally honest and dedicated to making a difference for the citizens they serve are denigrated by their colleagues and marginalized by the lack of discourse that is the hallmark of political negotiations in today's politics.
Have you noticed, the few things that are getting done these days are not getting done because of anything our political leaders are doing, but rather getting done in spite of all they are not doing? One case in point is the growing support of gay marriage and equal rights for gay couples. No politician has had the political courage to lead this movement. Most of them, even now when the will of the people is evident, stand against it. Those that have come to support the movement are Johnny Come Lately's who have carefully measured the prevailing winds before offering their support to an issue that is revolutionizing cultural mores in this country.
In its weekly issue this week, Time Magazine reported it made no difference what the Supreme Court Justices think about the two gay rights cases before them. "The American People," Time said, "have already made up their minds." They support gay marriage and equal rights for gays because they have come to realize gays are their own sons and daughters, their brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, grandsons and granddaughters.
Time is right. This has been one of the fastest reversals in American thought ever to take place and the change took place with virtually no leadership from the political class; or for that matter, from the country's religious leaders. No wonder the political class is now the most mistrusted and most despised groups in the world. They are correctly seen as not giving a damn about anything other than their own perpetuation and enrichment.
Rest in peace Mrs. Thatcher! With your death, the door has closed on the era of great political leaders who had the courage to stand, not for what they thought was right, but to stand for what they thought was right for the country they served.
Rest in peace Mrs. Thatcher! You helped to bring down the Berlin Wall, defeat Communism and reunite Germany. What would your beloved Europe be right now without a relatively sound German economy to bail out the rest of Europe?
Rest in peace Mrs. Thatcher! Those who would rather live on the state dole than get off their collective asses and support themselves despise you and anyone like you, but rest assured there are still those of us who remember and are thankful for your leadership and your willingness to stand nose to nose against tyranny and against the nanny state.
Rest in peace Mrs. Thatcher! You are already sorely missed! May the world be blessed again soon with an era in which your style of leadership is common and widely appreciated.
Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.
But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.
I look forward to hearing from each of you.
The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.
I look forward to hearing from each of you.