Civil debates vs. today’s standards
Greetings from the Ridge.
This is an open letter to anyone under 25 years of age. In brief; don’t be discouraged. If this is the first time you’ve actually paid much attention to a political campaign, it would be easy and understandable to think that presidential elections are the hemorrhoid of our democracy. I wouldn’t blame you a bit if you got the idea that hate, venom, and childish behavior were the way of the world in American politics. Although our history has been rife with ugly political contests, absolutely nothing can match the embarrassingly crude contest now playing out before us.
Harry Truman didn’t have much popularity coming out of the Korean War, and decided not to run again. He contacted one of America’s World War II heroes, Dwight Eisenhower, to run as a Democrat. Ike demurred, and later accepted the Republican nomination as Illinois governor, Adlai Stephenson, took top spot on the Democratic ticket. Few films exist of their campaign speeches, and this was the first presidential campaign to make wide use of television, but the footage from the 1952 race is remarkable by today’s standards; two men of intelligence, calmly debating the issues of the day.