Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I Still Like Ike

I was in junior high school when Dwight Eisenhower was elected to America's highest office. Eisenhower spent his life in the military from the time he graduated from West Point as a second lieutenant until he retired as a five star general. He ran the European Theater of Operations, during WWII, until the defeat of Germany. After the war he became President of Columbia University and later, NATO Supreme Commander. He was a brilliant, educated, and highly skilled man. 

Through his military training and career he learned the skills of leadership, responsibility, and persuasion. He had the military traditional sense of honor. To succeed under the responsibilities that were his burden he could not be a humble man. He was never seen to be arrogant or boastful.

In 1952 Eisenhower ran for President and won. The eight years that he spent in the White House were great years for the United States. We had a President that was used to power and knew how to use it effectively. He ran an administration that was open to the press. He gave 200 press conferences in his eight years. Imagine that, one Presidential press conference every two weeks. I don't remember if he even had a press secretary.

As an experienced war-fighter, he realized that our country would have severe logistic problems if we were ever attacked. The highway system was old, out of date, and in bad repair. If there were a need to move goods or troops at emergency speed, it would be impossible. It was his initiative that got the interstate highway system built. A system that, with some exceptions, is still effective today.

Eisenhower also new how to use power effectively behind the scenes. When he took office, the Korean war was at a stalemate. He made quiet promises to the Chinese about what would occur if the situation didn't get resolved soon. From others these might be taken as hollow threats. Not from Ike. Although the Korean war has never formally ended due to the intransigence of the Kims, military action was ceased and an armistice was signed.

The Eisenhower years were fairly peaceful and very successful. Vets coming home from WWII and Korea, married, bought new homes, started businesses and families. The suburbs blossomed. In those years, I went from junior high school to planning marriage. It was a great time  to grow up in. The country and it's people flourished. When I compare it with what is going on today, it makes me sad. That is why I still like Ike.

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