The only thing we have to fear is ... stupidity | Ferry Home Companion

Being a columnist, I have the luxury of pontificating my thoughts in a free press in a free country. We try to avoid being too political, but this election is so interesting, I have to share my feelings.

First, I have to say that I happen to be a registered Republican. That is because I have to be registered for one party or the other in order to weigh in for particular candidates at caucuses, primary elections and the like. I first voted as a registered Democrat during World War II for Franklin Delano Roosevelt when I was in the Army.

I remained a Democrat until I was working as an editor in D.C. and ran into the Southern Democrat control of Congress and the Jim Crow treatment of blacks in the capital and Maryland. I switched to Republican.

After a couple of years, I went back to Northwestern to get my master’s in journalism. I organized a delegation at the mock political convention for Dwight Eisenhower. I sent him a letter urging him to take a stand as a Republican in the 1948 election. Ike sent me a telegram, saying “Thanks, but no thanks.” He was not a member of any party and not interested.

I switched back to Democrat when Harry Truman and Alben Barkley were running against Tom Dewey, but back to the G.O.P. when Ike came on the scene to succeed Truman. I was in Palo Alto then and attended the convention at the Cow Palace when Ike refused to endorse Nixon as his selection for vice president and told the convention leaders to leave it up to the delegates to choose. Speaker Joe Martin would have none of that, as he was chairing the convention.

Terry Carpenter of Nebraska insisted on nominating “Joe Smith’” and Martin gaveled him down. I was working with my brother-in-law, Blan Harcum, a delegate from Maryland, making signs for Gov. Millard Tydings for veep when the word came down: there would be no opposition to Nixon.

I switched back to the Democrats, although I voted for Ike’s reelection despite his veep. JFK was a no-brainer to me — a great leader, a war hero. In 1964, LBJ, despite his civil rights gains, could not convince me to vote for a man who once voted for the poll tax. I liked Goldwater’s honesty and went back to the G.O.P.

Nixon’s impeachment and subsequent pardon by Gerald Ford led me to vote for Jimmy Carter as a Democrat. Then twice for Reagan as a Republican. George Bush the First persuaded me to continue — until he pulled defeat from the jaws of victory by leaving Iraq before setting up a military government and disarming that country.

I lasted one term with Clinton as a Democrat, and then when Bob Dole ran I was proud to vote for a guy who graduated in my class at Fort Benning. When President Doubleyou ran, I was not too happy at first. Then came 9/11 and I thought maybe, just maybe, we would clean up that mess.

So here I am again, a registered Republican choosing between one of the most intelligent candidates I’ve seen in decades, Barack Obama, and John McCain, a maverick war hero who is worshipped by his constituents in Arizona.

Actually, I greatly admire both presidential candidates. I think either of them could do a fine job. They’ve both worked across the aisles. I urge everyone to see as many debates as possible. Read up on the issues and the candidates.

I’m confident that the winner, with the support of the electorate, will get us through this crisis. I believe they will regulate against the stupid excesses of unilateral wars and obscene earnings by CEOs.

It will take sacrifice on the home front, whether we signed up for the wars we’re in now or not. So check it out.

Go with the F.L.O.W. (Ferry Lovers Of Washington)

— Contact Howard Schonberger at 378-5696 or hschonberger@sanjuanjournal.com.

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