Halloween? No, Groundhog Day.

Exactly twelve years ago today, I posted a blog on this site about Halloween and the coming election, called “The Demons in our Midst: Political Fear Mongering and the Coming Election.” Take a moment to read it. Even I was surprised to be reminded of how long some rumors have been with us. We have been dealing with elements of toxic politics since the founding of our republic, but for the last twelve years there has been a growing acceptance that it is ok to exploit America’s fears and vulnerabilities as a way to make money and hoodwink the population. Ugly, unfounded rumor promotion has now gone mainstream—and may even deliver an election.

Fear has always lived within the hearts of the world’s most powerful of nations. There is a nagging worry that all we have could be taken from us by those who envy or seek to supplant us.  That’s why it is the role of this nation’s leaders to reassure us that we, as a people, have within ourselves the capacities to deal with our problems in a way befitting our global importance as a functioning democracy. Vote next week—if you haven’t already—and let’s expect and demand more from our leaders, including empathy for our fellow citizens and optimism tethered to the challenges that confront us. Together we can do this, not by denying the existence of critical issues, but by addressing them.

Sadly, political shenanigans also threaten our systemic balance. The denial of hearings for Merrick Garland is a blatant act of hypocrisy with Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. This will hasten the corrosion of the Supreme Court’s credibility. My most recent piece with Ed Grosvenor, which appeared in American Heritage, tells the story of Eisenhower’s commitment to politically balance the Federal bench, including the Supreme Court. He appointed five Supreme Court justices in his eight years.

Sending you my best wishes and please vote. 


10 thoughts on “Halloween? No, Groundhog Day.

  1. I am honored to share my grandfather’s stories with you about his time with President Eisenhower! I would love to send you a copy of the book on his memoirs when it is published.

  2. Susan, I love what you say about empathy being something we should expect and demand from our leaders. How necessary that quality is to understanding the challenges of every citizen, and then taking action to help bring real solutions to move forward. I mentioned in your last blog post that my grandfather, Irineo Esperancilla, a Filipino immigrant who served in the U.S. Navy, personally served four Presidents, including President Eisenhower. I have a firsthand account of his empathy to fellow citizens.

    In my grandfather’s memoirs, he writes how he had a conversation with President Eisenhower. My grandfather loved his service in the Navy, but knew he had to retire after thirty years in service, not because he wanted to, but because he wanted to be able to fully provide for his family after retirement, which required him to get another job. When President Eisenhower heard that my grandfather was retiring, the President asked my grandfather about his reasons for retiring and they had a meaningful conversation about military retirement pay at the time. This took place at Camp David, and my grandfather has wonderful memories of President Eisenhower (as well as the First Lady) and other Presidents showing genuine empathy and concern for all citizens. I have a letter written by President Eisenhower in 1961 to the Secretary of Defense at the time, asking him to convey his heartfelt thanks to the people that served him and to have this special “commendation recorded in their official files.” This commendation was no doubt a highlight on my grandfather’s resume and his time in service.

    Thank you for having the courage to say what needs to be said during this critical time in history; I am inspired by your (and your grandfather’s) words.

  3. I am a graduate of Eisenhower College, the one-time national memorial to the 34th President, who later served aboard USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, as a Navy judge advocate, which is all to say that I’ve been an admirer of Ike for some time. I share the present concern voiced by many that the Supreme Court and perhaps the entire federal judiciary are being overtly politicized in ways dangerous to a government of laws and equal justice. This is not a new phenomenon, a fact that played an important role in Ike’s judicial appointments, I believe. While the Chief Justice, the President, and Congressional leaders in the Senate all have critical roles to play in maintaining the stature, independence, and authority of the Supreme Court, indeed of all Art. III federal courts, it is the President’s wise choices when it comes to judicial nominees that leads the way to a judiciary worthy of its place in out constitutional system of government.

  4. Congratulations to President Trump, Senate leader McConnell, the Repub senators and Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Amy C. Barrett, for a job well done. Hear, hear.

    Dem senators Schumer, Blumenthal and Hirono among others have just railed ad nauseum about what ‘consequences!!’ and ‘retaliation!!’ they are going to inflict on Repubs for doing absolutely … nothing whatsoever … differently (in the seating of Justice Barrett) than said Dem senators would positively, certainly, unquestionably and expeditiously have done … themselves … had the party roles been reversed.

  5. Two thoughts: IF by Rudyard Kipling One Long River of Song by Brian Doyle How does one find the words.  There are words to express! Susan Tanner

  6. Thank you for sharing your opinion on the hypocrisy of the recent confirmation to the Supreme Court. I agree with you 100% and would say the same thing if the Democrats had led the campaign to place one of their own on the court so close to a presidential election.

  7. Wise, as always. The country needsyour voice and also to recall Ike’s bi-partisan leadership as an example. Sadly, we’ve deviated far from his wise leadership.

  8. I study Ike and this period of history. The biggest mistake Eisenhower made during his presidency was taking the Arabs as honest brokers in the middle east. Evil is evil and balancing that is a futile effort. Today the Democrats are not honest brokers sadly. To try to balance evil is a futile effort. God gave us a boy from Abilene KS to change history and that is done. Now we have a Trump card to deal with this choice between freedom and the chains of socialism. If you look back in history it is easy to see with 2020 vision the hand of God. Today, in hindsight will be easily understood too. The article makes the same error Ike made and that is to think evil can be balanced- it can not.

  9. Wonderful! I am now finally engaged in writing my book for Lyons Press on Eisenhower and Churchill, and it makes me feel very nostalgic for the wonderful days in which the USA had real leadership. We live in sad times…. Christopher Catherwood

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