Coincidence often fosters inspiration. A few days before I attended my umpteenth rally of this political season, I was given a gift. A near fifty-pound tome (a slight exaggeration) titled the Concise Dictionary of American History. Opening the book to a random page, I landed on an entry that brought several stark realities home. First, few political speeches rise above the rest. They are formulaic. Candidates acknowledge their supporters, identify the opposition, provide an anecdote designed to create a connection to the audience, and conclude with a call to civic duty. Second, the English language is changing fast. The particular entry on which I lit dealt with a word I rarely hear. Finally, I am getting older. With that comes a reluctance to abandon old things. After all, embracing today does not require erasing yesterday. If utilizing an old word contributes to the richness of a phrase, I am all for using it. This post is my attempt to dust off one such word (an effort that requires a little history).
Brews and Peruse: Examination of a historical document while drinking a craft beer. Consisting of three essential components:
1) The Document: Speeches of the 1940 Democratic Convention including Eleanor Roosevelt’s Address- Many people believe Franklin Roosevelt’s actions in acquiring the nomination were later justified when the U.S. entered World War II. However, political deception is still political deception…
2) The Beer: Grains of Truth from Ommegang Brewery- Why? Two reasons. First, both FDR and the beer are from New York. Second, well… there is the name. [My reactions to the beer are bold and bracketed]
3) My commentary: A tongue in cheek look at an American political event. My thoughts, no citations. (Italicized)
In 1940 Franklin Delano Roosevelt needed to make a decision. No previous U.S. president had achieved a third term. Only two, Theodore Roosevelt and US Grant had attempted to gain third terms, and both efforts were rejected. Believing that only he was qualified to lead the country at such a crucial time, FDR decided to run. However, gaining the Democrat Party nomination would present a challenge. Historical precedence indicated that Americans would once again reject someone desiring a third term, a reality necessitating Roosevelt’s apparent “recruitment” for the nomination. Chicago hosted the 1940 Democrat Party Convention and real political theater began on the convention’s first night…
With his election as Mayor of New York City in 1903, George B. McClellan, Jr. engaged the inevitable hordes of office-seekers, district leaders, and political donors that customarily assailed newly elected officials. Upon gaining an audience with the mayor, each petitioner retold all they had done to ensure McClellan’s election. Often prideful, and always with great expectation, these wheels of Democrat political machinery demanded their grease.