Worcestershire Journal – Every act is a political act and has political consequences
by Karl - October 28, 2008 9:15am
When I would stay home sick from school, my mother would let me watch just one television show: Big Brother Bob Emery’s Small Fry Club. (There weren’t many TV shows for kids anyway; soap operas and game shows ruled the day). The high point of the show came when we saluted the president. They’d play “Hail to the Chief” and we’d raise a glass of milk to a picture of President Eisenhower.
From my perspective, Bob Emery and Dwight Eisenhower were pretty much the same guy. Both were soft-spoken older men who made sure that things were all right for us kids. Years later, I took a history course with Dean Albertson, a professor who’d collected a set of essays about Eisenhower’s presidency. Albertson, while praising Eisenhower for sending federal troops to enforce the desegregation of the Little Rock, Arkansas schools, believed that the president should have shown greater courage by going to Little Rock and personally escorting the children into the school. Eisenhower redeemed himself somewhat, Albertson believed, with a prescient warning about the military-industrial complex.
Albertson’s favorite aphorism was “Every act is a political act and has political consequences.” We don’t practice politics only in the times leading up to elections or in the voting booth. The way we live shows our politics – what we drive, where we shop, how we spend our work and leisure times. That concept has been my conscience. I feel its sting when I choose the easier, softer way, staying quiet when there’s peace to be waged, staying at home when there are the troubled and lonely on the streets, enjoying my comfort when the hungry and cold people are waiting to hear from us.
Personally, I’ll be voting for Obama. No surprise there. That’s the easy part, like raising a glass of milk as a toast to the president. The real political work is hard, risky, and uncomfortable. That’s why we call it work. That’s why it’s so important.