I was born the year that Eisenhower was elected to his second term. I have no personal memories of him.
Yet we live in a time where there are those that want to take our country back … back to what I’m not exactly sure. Neither are they so sure, although they sound loud and furious about taking us back to America before the 1960s. That would be Eisenhower’s era.
Eisenhower today would undoubtedly be pilloried as a soft, mushy RINO today … probably declared to be both a socialist and a leftist. He may even be blamed for ruining Richard Nixon’s mind — it was Nixon, Eisenhower’s vice president, that proposed universal national health coverage for all.
Almost everyone has read or heard Eisenhower’s warning about the emerging military-industrial complex but here are some Eisenhower thoughts that you may not have heard:
“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.”
“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. … Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
“Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionaries and rebels—men and women who dared to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion. ”
“Un-American activity cannot be prevented or routed out by employing un-American methods; to preserve freedom we must use the tools that freedom provides.”
The quote in the photo is a shortened version of what he really said in a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953:
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. … Is there no other way the world may live?”
Why I miss Eisenhower, and why we should all miss Eisenhower, is his plain-spoken common sense. His lack of hate and anger and desire to demonize his fellow Americans is much needed today.
Thank you Mr. President for warning us. I guess that there was just no profit in heeding your warnings.
BTW — thank you also for running for president back in 1952. Most folks don’t know it but you didn’t want to be president. You had to be cajoled into it. The reason you gave for finally running is that the argument over communism was tearing our country apart. The McCarthyites were roaming the land in search of scapegoats. Thank you for stepping forward and bringing some sanity with you.