It is of my dad that I am referring to, and his political point-of-view is well worth examining. For it is still shared by a fairly great many, and I am quite sure that he would be a very enthusiastic follower of the [American Tea Party Movement] if he was still physically alive.
Despite being physically born in 1920, it is arguable that he really wasn’t a child of the [Great Depression]. For he could not remember the area around [Blue Mound, Kansas] being severely affected by either the [1929 Stock Market Crash] or the drought that ushered in the [Dust Bowl Era].
In fact, my dad was able to secure a full-time union job as an oiler, which was someone who performed light maintenance upon the heavy equipment, with a natural gas pipeline company out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma when he was just 15 years-old. Of course, he had to lie about his age, along with having the considerable weight of an uncle’s influence upon the company backing his application, but he was making really good money before graduating high school when millions around the country were looking to the government to literally save their bacon.
According to him, my dad was a very dutiful son, but he admitted that it was only on account of how much he loved playing varsity baseball and basketball that he did not ignore his parent’s letters that became more and more adamant in their insistence that he return home and get back in school as the time for the 1935 fall semester to begin approached. For after actually seeing some of what lay beyond the Linn County line, not even thoughts of making trips to the sprawling metropolis of [Mound City] held quite the same appeal for him.
Ironically, he later turned down offers to play minor league baseball for the [Chicago Cubs] and the [St. Louis Cardinals], along with a full scholarship to play basketball for [Phog Allen] with the Kansas Jayhawks. For the money he could then be making at the controls of a bulldozer far exceeded what was in those minor league baseball contracts, and he could not see how a college education could help him stay upright while gouging out a right-of-way across the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina—let alone keep from sinking in an east Texas swamp.
No, my dad never had to face the indignity of standing in a soup line. Neither did any of the members of his extended family to the extent that I was made aware of.
My dad attributed that to their willingness to work, and he was quite vocal about claiming that any able-bodied man can find a job if they are willing to work. In sharp contrast, he was also quite vocal about how much he resented having to pay taxes to feed the families of men who did not have enough gumption to get a job on their own, which was in reference to the [CCC].
No, my dad was no fan of the [New Deal], but it was being in the second wave to land on [Omaha Beach] under the withering fire of German gun emplacements that fueled his hatred of [President Franklin Delano Roosevelt] the most. For he did not see where it was any of our business being in a war against an enemy who posed no immediate threat to our country at the time.
[Pearl Harbor]? Well, aside from that being an attack by the Japanese, my dad believed that it was orchestrated by Roosevelt to get us involved in World War II before the best opportunities to profit from the manufacturing of military supplies passed.
Adding even more fuel to his fire was that he didn’t even have to go. For he could have taken advantage of the draft exemption granted to only sons, but Blue Mound was way too small of a place to remain safe at home with his aging parents, quite comely wife and newborn daughter while the sons (and even many daughters) of neighbors were lining up to do their patriotic duty.
So, he answered the call to arms—only to face having to sign a release of liability to avoid a significant delay in returning home after the fighting was over in the [European Theatre]. For he had been seriously wounded at the start of the [Battle of the Bulge], and he was told that all with possible medical complications would have stay overseas for at least six months longer unless they signed a form that released the United States government from having to pay for any future medical treatments of wounds sustained in battle, along with any medical conditions related to them. He signed the form.
Alas, is it not no wonder that he looked upon with horror as the reach of the federal government grew steadily longer over the years? For even after giving all that he had in a war that he considered to be quite unnecessary, there was his very own government trying to take advantage of desperate desires to return home as soon as possible!
He begrudgingly came to accept that the New Deal was really not such a bad deal before his time as a part of this world came to an end. I would think that it was on account of [Social Security] and [VA] disability checks keeping us from becoming completely destitute after he was told by several doctors that he had to quit working or face permanent paralysis and the [International Union of Operating Engineers] refusing to pay his pension because of not being old enough to draw one yet. In all fairness, his application for workers compensation was vigorously fought against (and defeated) by the company he had been very loyally with for over 30 years because of his primary medical condition not being the result of a single accident, but even with both of those things notwithstanding, he always insisted that he was just getting back from the government what he had paid in to the Social Security fund and earned on numerous battlefields in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Germany.
All of that had a great influence upon the formation of my own political point-of-view. Does any of it bring back memories from your childhood? How about sounding rather consistent with what can still be heard coming from on top of many a soapbox these days?
Be assured that I have plenty of my own “pleasant” experiences with all that our federal government has to offer. For in 2000, I had to come to grips with the fact that I could no longer hold any sort of job after being afflicted with [CFS] in 1993 (1992, actually) and trying to hang in there for the previous seven years. My wife finally convinced me to apply for Social Security Disability, and that is when the “fun” really started.
I really should have been more prepared. For if it was possible for the Social Security Administration to initially determine that my dad was not disabled with him having one full vertebrae in his lower back, and the discs on both sides, completely ground to dust after over 30 years of operating bulldozers and ditching machines, how could it have come as any great surprise to me that they would not accept feeling even exceedingly exhausted all of the time as being a debilitating condition without a fight?
Unlike what eventually happened with my dad, it took more than two tries to finally win a judgment in my favor. In fact, it took four tries!
Well, at least I think it did. Since we hired the only board-certified social security disability lawyer in southwest Missouri, I am not quite sure what really has happened. That is, other than initially receiving checks for $23.50 a month, of course.
Oh, but wait, there’s more! For if our household income exceeds $3,000.00 a month, no money from the Social Security Administration will be directly-deposited into our checking account, and we are required to send copies of my wife’s check stubs each month.
Speaking of such, we received a notification in the mail a couple of months ago that a new national income reporting phone line had been established. Since this could save us both time and money, I was rather excited to give it a try, and I was quite disappointed when it did not work. Not being able to find out what was going wrong, and receiving a letter informing us in no uncertain terms that actual copies of check stubs had to be sent in and that a fine could be accessed for failing to report monthly wages on time, was also quite disappointing to me.
Be assured that I really don’t have the words to describe what a joy it has been trying to deal with the good people of the Social Security Administration. However, I can tell you that thinking about how many times we have received letters announcing that great increases in my monthly compensation amounts would be starting the next month—only to receive another letter a week or so later that said that we would be receiving nothing until further notice because of my wife’s anticipated wages exceeding the limit when she has never made more than $3,000.00 in a month does bring a tear to my eye.
Yes, it would seem that I have plenty of my own reasons for not losing focus on my dad’s political point-of-view, but our Heavenly Father allowing me to look at things through His eyes has drastically changed my perspective. For I can now clearly see that He established governmental social welfare programs to make up for what we (as individuals and even as members of His church) far too often refuse to do on our own.
Now, this is not to say that these programs are doing the best that they can. In fact, the way they are run would be laughable if it was not for how many people are being badly hurt by incompetence and corruption, but instead of wanting to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater by getting rid of programs that really could be a great blessing to us all, we should be looking for leaders who will get serious about truly fixing what is broken about all of the various levels of government in this country.
No, that is not something that Obama and Biden are interested in accomplishing, and the reforms that Romney and Ryan preach about will undoubtedly do more harm than good if they win the election. Hopefully, the misery will end much sooner than later.
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