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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Truman's Conscience

As of this inaugural post, it has been fifty-three years, three weeks, two days and four hours since Harry S. Truman’s official term of office expired. As each decade passes since that moment it only serves to underline the flourishing legacy he left behind that is still with us today. With the exception of Abraham Lincoln, it is doubtful a better representative of the common man with an evolving progressive mind could be found. At first, our 33rd President came out of Missouri with a parochial outlook couched in the southern prejudices of the time. With a progressive mind and a conscience that always strived for fairness one can only marvel at the evolving ideals and a sense of justice he would harness as the arc of his ascension in public life spiraled upward growing beyond his humble origins.

His biographer, David McCullough, called him, “….a man of uncommon vitality and strength of character.” As the embodiment of one being faced with a world that had evolved beyond his capacity to view it with the sensibilities of a time long past he became much more than that. Our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln once profoundly observed, “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present….we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.” Only a progressive mind such as that of Harry Truman could understand the meaning of Lincoln’s profound sense of what is needed to face a world that seemed at the time to be so fraught with unmeetable challenges and peril. His strength of character and profound sense of self-awareness eventually enabled him to reach beyond himself and those around him in order to harness the ideas and energy that would allow him to, “….think anew, and act anew,” as Lincoln prescribed.

Now we find ourselves being led by the conservative mind in a post cold-war world conflicted with ambiguity and contradictions about our place and where we fit in to it. As we lurch and reach backward for tired old prescriptions that did not serve us well in the past our burden is added to as they serve to only soothe the closed mind of raw emotions driven by those that are easily angered and quick to judge. Progressive ideas are marginalized and ridiculed by a conservative mindset that prefers the simple solutions of yesterday and quick fix answers serving a consumer driven public massaged by the commercial blandness of mass consumption and the low expectations of a status quo society.

Now more than ever we need new voices that call for us to, “…..think anew, and act anew.” We need new voices that ring with the clarion call for change to wash away the “dogmas of the quiet past that are inadequate to the stormy present.” This blog is an attempt, in a very small way, to join that chorus and harmonize with those that feel that sense of urgency before it is too late to save the progressive ideals we fought so hard for and achieved. We need new voices that are driven by the conscience of Harry Truman and the sense of justice and fairness it embodied. As his legacy has driven me toward this small effort to continue that fight this blog will focus on two main objectives: first, to make all of our elected officials accountable to their constituencies, their country and to the American people, and second, to promote the causes and principles of the liberal/progressive view. From 1941 to 1944, then Senator Harry S. Truman, before he was chosen to be F.D.R.'s running mate, was legendary for his chairmenship of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program. It even came to be called "The Truman Committee" for short as it became legendary for its tenacity and crusade against war profiteering. That legacy included going after those that violated the rules and spirit of defense and government contract spending. If Demcratic party members were found to be included in those violations he made sure even they were equally held accountable and suffered the same consequences.

Alas, it is in that same spirit that my first objective will be to hold all elected officals accountable on both sides of the aisle no matter the party or ideological standing. It is especially critical that our Democratic party elected officials are held to an even higher standard making them even more accountable to ensure the principles and causes of liberal and progressive values are unheld.

So welcome to Truman’s conscience. My name is Michael and I’m the custodian of this small effort to harmonize with the voices of change and the call for justice in a political climate driven by fear and moral certainty. Come and join in on occasion and let us sing together.

Truman's conscience will be here.

4 Comments:

rhubarb said...

Best wishes on your effort. A few years ago, while pregnant and on bedrest, while the GOP was sliming the Dems in the 2002 elections, I read McCullough's tome and pined for someone with such integrity. What a solid politician. Would that we had something like the Truman Commision today, instead of dollars shoveled into Halliburton duffel bags from the backs of trucks.

Despite the media's numbing siren song, and despite pundits' saying that it will be a generation before the Democrats can hope to take back governance, it is my conviction that things are going to crystalize soon around people who "think anew." We'll see an amazing realignment soon. Just keep talking and keep fighting those who would only take.

Robert C. said...

Best wishes on this effort, and thanks for the mention on the HRC fundraiser.

Thought you would enjoy this little piece. I've always been a fan of the 70s rock band Chicago, and this was featured on one of their albums. It was written by the group's Robert Lamm and released in 1975.

HARRY TRUMAN
by Robert Lamm

AMERICA NEEDS YOU, HARRY TRUMAN
HARRY, COULD YOU PLEASE COME HOME?
THINGS ARE LOOKIN’ BAD
I KNOW YOU WOULD BE MAD
TO SEE YOUR FAVORITE MAN
PREVAIL UPON THE LAND YOU LOVE

AMERICA’S WONDERING HOW WE GOT HERE
HARRY, ALL WE GET IS LIES
WE’RE GETTIN’ SAFER CARS
AND ROCKET SHIPS TO MARS
FROM MEN WHO’D SELL US OUT
TO GET THEMSELVES A PIECE OF POWER

WE’D LOVE TO HEAR YOU SPEAK YOUR MIND
IN PLAIN AND SIMPLE WAYS
CALL A SPADE A SPADE JUST LIKE YOU DID BACK IN THE DAYS
WHEN YOU WOULD PLAY PIANO
EACH MORNING WALK A MILE
SPEAK OF WHAT WAS GOIN’ DOWN
WITH HONESTY AND STYLE

AMERICA’S CALLING, HARRY TRUMAN
HARRY, YOU’D KNOW WHAT TO DO
THE WORLD IS TURNING ROUND
AND LOSIN’ LOTS OF GROUND
OH, HARRY IS THERE SOMETHING WE CAN DO
TO SAVE THE LAND WE LOVE?

Anonymous said...

Looks good Michael. Will check it regularly.

Eli said...

This will not actually have effect, I think so.
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