The Odd Things

That cross your mind sometimes. Looking at the current political divide makes me nostalgic for the days when even if you disagreed with someone on matters politic, you could still talk with them — cheerfully even — on a range of other subjects.

Brought to mind my interactions with Senator Herman Talmadge of Georgia. Parts of my family were quite active politically, with one uncle being a force within the Republican party not just on the state and local level, but national. You don’t get to be National Commander of the American Legion without some clout.

I never had the heart to tell Herman that I was the one who helped scuttle his efforts to stay in office, rather than my Dad. Dad avoided politics, and was not interested in having or exercising any of the power the family had. One afternoon, when I was home alone as a teenager, the phone rang. It was a senior member of Herman’s team, asking for the family’s support.

I knew from the moment he called that he did not know my Dad, as he asked for Clifford. Also being Clifford, I said that yes I was Clifford. I let him make his pitch, and then let him know that I/the family would not back Herman in his bid, and may have even hinted we would oppose, forcefully. Herman was in trouble over corruption charges at the time, and I was not impressed. I still say that if he had done as his father had, and said he took the money for the people of the state of Georgia that I might would have backed him, as the voters backed his father.

The funny thing was, I met Herman later when I had graduated college and was working my first job after graduation. He was a bit stiff when he heard my name, and established my family. However, we did share some common interests and found we could agree on those. Never did have the heart (courage?) to tell him that I was the one who helped scupper him rather than my Dad. We avoided that subject.

There have been others through the years, that while we disagreed — strongly — on matters of policy and action, that we could agree to disagree. That seems to be mostly gone now, and that is truly a sad, sad thing.