It’s Politics As Usual!
January 20, 2012 in Bill Shiver Articles
I first became interested in politics when John F. Kennedy was elected President. I was a junior in high school and we had been through the Eisenhower era. To me, President Eisenhower was a bona-fide war hero, but my Mom said he spent too much time over in Augusta playing golf. My Dad said it was a good thing that he spent so much time at Augusta playing golf because it was hard for him to mess things up while on the golf course. Dad said that “Ike didn’t bother the country and the country didn’t bother Ike.”
When Kennedy was elected, we had this youthful, handsome man with a beautiful wife and two small kids. We were headed for Camelot and we youngsters were thrilled. His time was all too short and came to a tragic end one November day in Dallas, Texas.
But, I started following politics and watching politicians. As a kid my Dad had taken me to political rallies held locally for such men as Gov. Herman Talmadge. My Dad just called him “Humman.” He’d say “Humman’s coming to town Saturday and we’ll go to the big fish fry.” At the fish fry throngs of people would show up to eat free mullet and men wearing white flat-brimmed straw hats would circulate through the crowd passing out $10 bills. With a wind and a nod they’d give someone the money and say “Don’t forget to vote for ol’ Humman,, now.” This was the way of Georgia politics back then and it was probably that way in most of the country.
Lately it seems that divisions between the Democrats and Republicans has reached and all-time negative peak. I can’t remember such venomous attacks by politicians on each other.
I hate to say it, but sometimes today’s politicians remind me of some of the notorious radio evangelists. They’re on the radio to beg for money to stay on the radio. They spend more time asking for dollars than they do trying to save Souls. Likewise, somebody runs for political office and when they’re elected, they start focusing on getting re-elected. I still firmly believe our government would better serve us if our Senators and Congressmen operated under the same term limits as our Presidents. Two terms and you go. No more career politicians. I don’t think the Founding Fathers had in mind our leaders serving for decades, getting paid enormous salaries, provided with lots of staff, paid expenses, fully paid health care and very generous retirements.
Back when I was a kid, politics in the south was more entertainment than serious business. Sometimes I think it would be good to go back to the days of the free fish fries and the white straw hats. They still try to pay us to vote for them by promising a lot more than they can or will ever deliver. If you don’t think that’s true, check the status of Social Security these days.
I think it was former Georgia Gov. Eugene Talmadge, Humman’s father, who said the poor Georgia farmers only had three friends on this earth. God Almighty, Sears & Roebuck and Eugene Talmadge. The farmers believed him and kept voting for him.
While we had some crazy politics in our time, I can’t remember anything back then that rivaled what happened in Florida in 2000. Those poor folks in south Florida could keep track of 50 bingo cards but they couldn’t figure out the ballot. I saw a bumper sticker right after that which was a classic. It said “Honk if you love Jesus. And if you’re from Florida, it’s that big round button in the middle of the steering wheel.”