When Being Right Isn’t Popular, and The Truth is Hard

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I would have loved to have met President Reagan.  I would also have loved to have met General George S. Patton.

I have a love of historical non-fiction that I’ve not been able to indulge nearly as much as I would like to.  However, I just finished reading Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General, and have been intrigued by not only Patton the man, but also by the bureaucracy and dare I say it, ineptitude, that surrounded him.

Granted, Patton wasn’t a man known for diplomacy.  His famous address to the Third Army on the eve of D-Day  (according to today’s effete cultural standards) would have to be considered quite politically incorrect and would get at least an MA rating for the language he used.  All the more reason for me to really admire the man.

The truth can be hard.  The truth can be ugly.  The truth can be as graphic and cold as the image of greasing the treads of tanks with our enemies’ guts.  The truth is the truth even when people don’t like you when you point it out.  The truth is the truth even when it runs afoul to the personal wheelings and dealings and schemes of those in high places.

We need a man like General Patton today.  Someone (unlike me) who doesn’t have a 24-7 view of the lead dog’s hind end.  I can’t (for a moment) imply that I am the fearless voice of anything.  I’m doing good to not freak out just getting up and getting through my day.

I can only hope and pray that someone with conviction and guts and the audacity to stay on the truth track even if he’s the only one on the truth track will (somehow) land in a position of leadership.  The only problem with finding people of conviction is, that even in his day, Patton was seen as brash and over the top.  There are some who believe that his death in 1945 as a result of a car accident was actually an assassination, and that Patton was conveniently eliminated by the powers above him because he didn’t fit into the Allies’ post war plans.  It is well known that Patton didn’t trust the Soviets (a distrust that was well-founded) and he had a greater disdain for Communism than he did for the Nazis.   But history has proven him correct in many ways.  Perhaps if the right people had listened to what Patton had to say, much of the strife of the Cold War could have been avoided, and Stalin wouldn’t have gained so much power following World War II.

Another hard truth is that history is often told by the winners.

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 I have much admiration for Winston Churchill, but I always thought the Brits sort of got the short end of the stick.

What would have transpired in the post-war world had General Patton not met with such an unfortunate end?  Would he have been able to change the course of the latter half of the 20th century, even in some small way, and if so, would it have been better or worse?

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Would confronting Stalin  have led to a hot war with the Soviet Union that would have promised to have been as bloody and drawn out as the conquests of Germany and Japan?  Or would it have led to a very different post-war landscape in which Eastern Europe would not have suffered under Communist oppression for forty years?  Would the Brits have gotten a better deal when all was said and done?

What if (as some historians pose) FDR had passed before the fated Yalta Conference in which he conceded so much of post-war Europe to Stalin?  Would Truman have been a better negotiator in that place, given that he was in better health and was a sort of plain, no-nonsense kind of person?

I know that I can’t change the past, but I think it’s important to learn from it.   There’s way too much repeating the past and appeasing going on in this world (I need not mention the abomination that is the Obama administration, but I just did…) even though history has proven that feeding alligators only makes them bigger and hungrier.

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Sometimes, as Patton said, (referring to the Germans and Japanese,)”The quickest way to get it (war) over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo.” 

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There is no negotiating with despots.  The only way out of a bad situation is through it.

Too bad no one seemed to listen to Patton when he said, “I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood.” 

We know Obama won’t listen to the hard facts and the truth of history, and his pandering to the despots and terrorists and thugs of this world will cost how many gallons of blood?

A Friendly Little Dystopia, Somewhere in a Solitary Bower, and Dead Presidents

I’m more comfortable in my own little world.  Aren’t we all, I guess, unless you’re one of those people who thrives on being surrounded by the company of others.  I feel positively smothered in the midst of large gatherings. I can only take so much, no matter who it is or what kind of conversation is going on.   Most of my family are incorrigible extroverts (I understand the mentality, but acting as though I’m an extrovert positively wears me out) so they wonder why I don’t always answer the phone immediately or text back the minute I get a text.  Sometimes I simply have to turn all that stuff off or just ignore it if I have any hope of remaining sane functional.

It’s all good here in my own little dystopia.  I have old Journey songs on the MP3 player, iced tea (with lemon only, NO sweetener of any type) and a cougar pool, capacity: 1 old cougar, namely me.  The dogs don’t give a rat’s ass if I wish to engage them in conversation or not as long as they get their meals of processed, crunchy mutton and whatever else is in their dog food, and they get to go out from time to time to perform their bodily functions and run around in the grass.  Jerry will probably be going to the campground this weekend, so I get at least one quiet solitary overnight.  I may utilize some of said solitary time to enjoy some of my live Journey DVDs (cranked up, because I know Jerry is not a Journey fan) and/or finish reading a couple of books.  The one I just started – FDR’s Deadly Secret is proving most fascinating so far. The theory in this book is that FDR died from melanoma that spread to his brain, although he had a laundry list of medical conditions going on that could have killed him too.

I just finished another book – Florence Harding: The First Lady, the Jazz Age, and the Death of America’s Most Scandalous President which picked over quite a bit of formerly obscure Marion County history as well as some rather seedy dirty laundry involving Warren G. Harding.  Yes, Harding was a tomcat.  Yes, Harding had friends in low places, but as far as scandal goes, from today’s perspective, I would have to say Clinton far exceeded Harding in the area of tomcatting, and both Clinton and Obama have far exceeded Harding in having friends in low places, and in flat out scandalous and illegal behavior.  Since this book was written in 1998, before many of the Clinton scandals came to light, and Obama was probably still a “community organizer” somewhere in Kenya, I can forgive the author that.  This book was well-researched and documented, and (though long for most people) to me, a fascinating read.

I feel for Florence Harding.  I know all too well how difficult it is to be an intelligent woman stuck with carrying a man with a lot of issues.

I don’t personally think Harding was the worst president ever.  Obama takes the prize on that dubious distinction as the worst president ever hands down as far as I’m concerned, even when compared with Dick Nixon, (in his instance I will venture to speak ill of a fellow Republican,) Jimmy Carter and even Bill Clinton.  Many past presidents (JFK, FDR and LBJ to name a few- in the 20th century) were tomcats.  Almost every past president, including my personal favorite, Ronald Reagan, was involved in something that someone might construe to be scandalous.  It’s a necessity of the office.  Perhaps the most squeaky-clean of the 20th century presidents was Harry Truman- but his sort of Democrat is extinct today, believe that.

Even Reagan had his moments, but IMHO he would do better from the grave than the current squatter occupying the Oval Office.

Come on, answer my poll, and comment, even if you do think I’m a right wing nut job.  I’m not politically correct, and I’m not very easily offended.

History is an endlessly fascinating subject for me, especially 20th century history.  I don’t know where the fascination came from but for the past several years most of my reading has been historical non-fiction.  Truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and I tend to get more engrossed in a story if I know it’s at least somewhat derived from historical fact.

It’s not entirely that I dislike people. Dislike isn’t really the right word. Dealing with people in most circumstances wears me out and sucks up what little energy I have to begin with. I do have my misanthropic tendencies- and I think people get on my nerves more than I should allow- but there are people I do adore.  The main problem I have is I can only take most people in very small doses and I can only take so much of even those who are dearest to me.  I need a lot of time alone, and when for whatever reason I don’t get it, I get very crispy around the edges.

Perhaps it’s the old school Catholic upbringing, but I feel guilty when I actually do put myself first.

In the event an airplane loses cabin pressure in flight, the flight attendant always instructs the adults to put their own oxygen mask on before masking their rugrat.  It makes sense- you have to cover yourself before you can have the resources to cover anyone else- but sometimes I get so preoccupied with other people’s wants and needs that I forget to do the things that re-energize me.

One of those things is simply turning off all the electronics and locking the doors.