The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Politicians In Action #28

Harry S. Truman enjoys a Christmas meal with reporters during a 1950 holiday visit to his hometown of Independence, MO.


Fred said...

Hasn't history been kind to old Harry? He left office as the most unpopular president in history (that is until Tricky and W). He was a racist who integrated the armed forces, and an anti-Semite who demanded that the US be the first to recognize Israel. Yet he also took responsibility for all of his actions, including the decision to drop the A-Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and today his presidency is viewed very favorably. Well, I guess after Tricky, Carter, Bubba and W, almost anyone would look good.

swac said...

Really? More unpopular than Harding or Hoover? I'm not saying that he wasn't, but that seems surprising.

Vanwall said...

I think the racism and anti-Semitism were more products of his time and upbringing - actions spoke louder than words for Truman, and he was extremely progressive in his administration compared to his successor. The casual corruption and cronyism was also a product of his time and political upbringing in the Pendergast Machine, and certainly not limited to Truman. He was certainly one of the best presidents we ever had.

Fred said...

I also consider Truman to have been a very good president. He took responsibility for his decisions and actions, and governed by what he thought was right and not what was popular. In today's world, where every issue is "focus grouped" and every decision is set up so the President can have "deniability", it is refreshing to look back on someone who didn't play the "blame game."

I can see where my comments taken as sarcastic and denigrating to Truman. Rather, it was a tip of the cap to him that he went against his darker prejudices and did the right thing for this country. Supporting the civil rights of African Americans and helping the Holocaust survivors have a homeland were two actions which were morally correct, even if politically unpopular.

R.H. said...

I know this photo, the caption is wrong: it's 1935 and he's hosting bums in a soup kitchen. You can't say bad about a man who'd do that!

swac said...

The bums were better dressed back in the day.