Hail the Conquering Heroes!


I’ve been absent for a while, but some of you may remember me. I’m the grouchy old retired guy who dabbles in history and long convoluted sentences.

I ‘d just like to echo Juvenal in sending out Congrats and Condolences to all concerned. Our election process has gotten so brutal that anyone who is willing to enter the public arena, whatever their motivation, deserves a little respect. Politicians being what they are, however, I’m sure that some of those on the short side will see their defeat as the final straw that ushers in a new “Dark Ages” of chaos and tyranny, while some of the winners will see their victory as the well deserved vindication of their morally and rationally superior character and philosophy. As usual, both will be mistaken.

More than anything, however, I’d like to congratulate us, the American electorate, for having peacefully completed the 109th election cycle under our present Constitution. The first assembly of Senators and Representatives convened in New York City on March 4, 1789, and it’s been pretty much business as usual ever since – except for two cycles during the Civil War (or, as some of my un-reconstructed friends call it “The War of Northern Aggression”). During that time, there were actually two congresses sitting – one in Washington and one in Richmond – resulting, I’m sure, in twice the bickering, back stabbing, name calling, and general all around “politicking” we’ve all come to know and love. Some of those election cycles were calm and uneventful, and some would make even our modern mud slinging contests look like church socials. Through it all, our country has survived and prospered beyond the wildest dreams of those men who first took office back in 1789. Hurray for the average American!

So much for the good news. For those of us who are sick to death of political hog wash from either side, the bad news is that the 110th election cycle has already started.

In 2008, it will have been 56 years since we’ve had a presidential election without either an incumbent president or vice-president on the ticket for either party. The last time this happened, we were in the middle of a confusing and not very popular war with American boys dying every day in some far off place; there were accusations of scandal; and the party in power’s approval ratings had sunk like a stone. The opposition nominated a very popular figure who ran on the platform of cleaning up the government, ending the war, and bringing the troops home. Does any of this sound familiar?

Fifty-six years ago, the opposition party candidate won 55.2% of the popular vote and 83% of the electoral vote. Running as an incumbent four years later, he received 57.5% of the popular vote and 86% of the electoral vote. History doesn’t always repeat itself, but, in this case, it has to make the current party holding the White House very nervous. Two years from now, it may be a different lady ordering new drapes for the Oval Office – again. For those of us who enjoyed watching the “Bill and Hil” show in the ‘90s, we might wake up some morning now long from now and hear some TV pundit saying

They’re Baaaaaaaaaack!

Fasten your seat belts.

7 Responses to “Hail the Conquering Heroes!”

  1. Al Sturgeon Says:


    You have been missed around these parts. I actually had to post a few times to fill in the void, but all will be glad to see you back in the saddle again!

  2. Capt MidKnight Says:

    Thanks Al.
    Can’t say how regular I’ll be – no pun intended.
    You know us old guys. Short attention span plus, with the holidays coming, a little travel, a few grandkids, and I’ll probably pass out for a week or two at a time.

  3. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Ditto what Al said, Cap.

    Your Korean War comparison reminds me of something. I heard someone from the GOP make a similar comparison on election night, arguing for how important the Iraq War is and why we have to stay and win, etc. I thought at the time that if I were trying to buck up public support for the adventure in Iraq or for the GOP, I don’t think I’d mention Korea. After all, it’s 56 yrs. later, as you pointed out, and we still have troops there.

  4. Capt MidKnight Says:

    Juvenal said
    I don’t think I’d mention Korea. After all, it’s 56 yrs. later, as you pointed out, and we still have troops there.

    Yeah. The Korea image wouldn’t be one I’d want to conjure up if I were speaking for the Republicans. Only slightly less toxic than Vietnam. With Vietnam, however, there was enough blame to go around for both parties. The Democrats blundered us into it and then left the GOP to blunder us out.

    It’s amusing to watch politics – if you can’t laugh, you’d have to cry – and reflect on the old saw that ”The more things change, the more they stay the same. Some of the fundamentals haven’t changed in at least 2,100 years.

    During the Roman Republic, successful patrician politicians who went on to govern provinces, command armies, and win great victories could be granted the pinnacle of fame – a “Triumph”during which they paraded through the streets of Rome and were hailed by one and all. Knowing the weakness of men in general and politicians in particular, tradition required that the procedure below (from Wikipedia on line) be followed:

    “The triumphator, his face and arms painted red, rode on an already ancient four wheeled car pulled by two white horses. A slave behind the triumphator held a laurel crown over his head (not touching it). Notably, this slave had to repeat continuously “Memento mori.” (“Remember thou art mortal.”) Some sources state that the slave would say; “Respica te, hominem te memento” (“Look behind you, you are only a man.”)”

    Obviously, in today’s politically correct world, the admonition would have to be changed to be more gender inclusive, but the odds that the warning would be heeded by today’s heroes (and villains) are probably about the same as they were in 100BC – slim to none. Judging from events during the current election cycle, the advice of that great 20th century philosopher – and pretty darn good pitcher – Satchel Page might be more appropriate:

    ”Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you!”

  5. Al Sturgeon Says:

    Sorry to comment on an old thread in a new one, but since no one would look at a comment from a month ago…

    I noticed that the “Jail 4 Judges” folks in South Dakota lost 90% to 10%. Just had to share that with an “I told you so.”

  6. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Color me happy to have been told.

    That and the loss on their total abortion ban in SD should send a healthy message to the political nutcases who backed them.

  7. Al Sturgeon Says:

    Yeah, I was just funnin’ with ya!

    For some reason I didn’t think something that extreme would fly, but it was just a gut feeling. And my gut feelings are normally a mite unreliable.

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