Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Passing of The Iron Lady

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.

Jack Scott


  1. Hey Jack...

    I agree with you that today we have again a dearth of statesmen and flood of hacks filling the seats of power in DC and the state capitals. However I disagree that this is something new.

    This nation was founded by an incredible group of men, who made it up as they went along, and created the Declaration and Constitution and the Government and Freedoms we still enjoy today.

    They were succeeded by a raft of hacks, know-nothings and do-nothings, who held the reins of power until a new generation of leaders arose to guide the nation through the challenges of what I call the Emancipation Era, that ended with the Civil War and the first civil amendments of the late 1860s. They in turn were succeeded by the Robber Barons and their band of hacks.

    They were supplanted by the long list of statesmen starting with TR and ending with RWR. I sometimes included Bush one in this list because he had the right instincts but not the political stones to do what was right.

    Unfortunately I don't see anyone today with the Instincts or the Stones. But I am pleased that the people are leading again while the politicians are wandering in the dark.


    1. Gerry, thanks so much for your comment. The reason I blog is to elicit thoughtful and challenging comments like the one you have shared. Unfortunately, I don't receive anywhere near the number of them I'd like. That makes your comment even more valuable.

      As a student of history, I have to admit you have a valid argument for your view. It has been said that democracy is a horrible type of government, but it is better than any other we've known." That is very true in my opinion.

      You are also right when you say the nation was birthed by a group of incredible men who made it up as they went along. They did just that. Their wisdom was the product of sound educations which left them well versed in human social and political philosophies. They took the best of all those philosophies and combined them with their own desires for a free people into an idealistic Declaration of Independence which still serves as a beacon for those who love freedom more than 200 years later.

      They added to that declaration, a Constitution to enshrine the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Human Rights into a workable and durable guide to limited government in which real power is invested not in the government but in the consent of the governed.

      During the ensuing years hacks, self-serving hucksters and a few extraordinary statesmen have come and gone; and through it all the country has endured and prospered.

      What has always fascinated me is, in times of extraordinary danger, men and women of extraordinary ability have always seemed to come to the fore. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Patton, Halsey, Kennedy are just a few of such men whose leadership in times of trial helped to keep the country safe and to guide it in overcoming every foe and every threat.

      Democracy is horribly inefficient and often ineffective as well. More often than not, it seems on the verge of collapse. Yet, over and over again, when a democratic people are existentially challenged, they unite and claw their way to victory over their common enemies as no other people have ever been able to do.

      Taken as a whole, this confluence of great men and extraordinary times is so marvelous a thing that it leads me to see no less than the hand of God at work.

      As you suggest, our current group of leaders are wondering around in darkness. No leader promising great stature is even on the horizon. But we have been in this place before and seen a great leader arise from the ashes of a ruined personal life to dutifully execute extraordinary national leadership. Hopefully, such a thing can and will happen again.

      Thanks again for you comment.

      Jack Scott

  2. this is truly a work of art. Your words are wonderful. You really have done a great job on this.

    I remember her well. I thought very highly of her myself.

    Rest in Peace

    1. Ray, thanks for an extraordinary compliment.

      I honestly miss the great leaders of the past. I remember as a young man, listening to Everett Dirksen lay out his plans in that great voice of his. To me, it sounded as I thought the voice of God must sound. But it wasn't that Dirksen was a God. He wasn't. He was just a man. He even made mistakes, but his mistakes were never born of an attempt at self serving. He always put the good of the country before his own good.

      Thatcher was the same. She never chose the easy road. She always insisted on the right road, the road of purpose and integrity. She always stood on principle. It was that quality that made her the Iron Lady. It was also that principle that made her great.

      As a young man, I wanted to one day be like Dirksen and Thatcher. It was never to be, but though I never achieved their statue, they molded my values. Today, there is not a single American politician I would want to be like. That is sad, so sad.

      Jack Scott

  3. Though I agree with you political sentiments for the most part I can't help but dislike thatcher for her anti-gay policy's and views, regardless of her achievements she presided over and benefited from one of the most homophobic periods of modern Britain, and you could argue all day about whether her economic policies paved the way for brittains then and current economic troubles


I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

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.

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.

Jack Scott