A true man; and "fitting in" to a zeitgeist (was Re: In

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*lib.org)
Sat, 30 Aug 1997 01:29:16 -0700

Someone was kind enough to point out to me that AMG recently wrote:

>....Harry Truman.
>....was the last real human being in the White House.

There, you may be right; although I'd count Eisenhower too. Not on
humanitarian/mensch grounds, but on the grounds of being someone who was at
least slightly inclined to actually speak his mind. Harry was a relatively
plain-spoken man, Ike somewhat less so; "after them, the deluge"--image
became all, and shortly thereafter the old party system, warts and all, but
where roughly twenty thousand people who cared enough to wade through all
the cigar smoke could actually pick a candidate (and expected to be told by
him what he stood for), transmogrified into the toad-on-steroids
PAC-representation scheme we are currently saddled with. Since somewhere in
the Nixon years, there is zero reason to keep one's promises to anyone _but
the people who paid_ to see you elected--the very thing the law(s?) that
caused PACs was(/were?) supposed to keep from happening. Quel ironee.

The other thing I keep in mind is that Harry was president for the last (in
the sense of "most recent"--_vide_ "The Fourth Turning") time the US
culture had as subtext "we're all in this together". I had a dream the
other night which was set in that time. At one point during the dream, I
made a point of thanking someone for doing something, then realized they
were looking at me funny because _they weren't doing it for me, they were
doing it because it was the patriotic thing to do, and we should both
already know that..._, and I wondered if they'd spotted me as being from a
"foreign culture" and were going to report me as a possible spy.

I was actually seriously worried about the gaffe. Then I woke up.

If _The Fourth Turning_ has any merit, this might become a cultural
commonplace again. Has anyone here given any thought to the tradeoffs
involved in surviving/thriving in such a time?

Michael M. Butler

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