A TRUMAN BIOGRAPHY PROMPTS
REFLECTIONS ON THE DONALD
In my brief stint as a newspaper reporter, the one story of mine that got picked up by the wires was a short piece about the “‘Give ’em Hell, Harry’ Spring Dance” held in one of the townships I covered.
What made the event newsworthy was the fact that this affair honoring former-President Harry S. Truman on his birthday (May 8) was being staged by the local Republican club. Truman, of course, was a Democrat. But as the club chairman explained, Harry was much admired for his firm convictions and forthright manner.
That incident comes to mind because I’ve just finished reading David McCullough’s Truman, a sprawling, 1,000-page biography of our 33rd President.
Harry Truman declined the invitation to attend that spring dance (he was 86 at the time and in poor health). But judging from the portrait sketched by McCullough’s book, I’m sure he appreciated the Republican gesture.
In our current hyper-partisan atmosphere, it’s hard to imagine such cross-party respectfulness. Indeed, we’ve become so divided ideologically that even within parties, different factions pretty much loath each other.