Then and now.
This past Tuesday, December 7th was the 80th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the beginning of the war against Japan on December 8th. It is amazing how few people now alive, have no idea of what happened on those two days. So much for teaching history! Granted; there are fewer Americans still living who were alive at that time. I had just turned five years of age, seventeen days before, living in war-torn France and knew nothing of the events that changed the direction of the world until several years later when my mother and I heard a replaying of President Roosevelt’s speech on the “day that will live in infamy” while living then in California. September 2nd, 1945 Japan surrendered un-conditionally on board the ship Missouri in Tokyo Bay. President Harry S. Truman declared VJ, Victory in Japan day that few celebrate.
This past Sunday afternoon I received a telephone call from a high-school buddy to compare the results of our left knee replacements. He had his two weeks ago, I had mine eleven years ago. That covered personal stuff. We spoke for forty minutes reliving our after-school jobs in a basket factory, bending picnic basket handles. We worked there my Junior and Senior years at the princely sum $1.25 per hour. That is until I convinced management that the system, they had used for years was slow and cumbersome. I was challenged to come up with a better system and said that I would do it for a change in pay system going to piece work. I did, they did and my pay increased to the equivalent of $2.56 per hour. This got all the other factory workers mad since Mary in the office let out the result of my pay increase. Management’s solution was to cut the per-piece price to bring me back down to the average. So much for innovation!
Then, you had two old guys reminiscing on a four amigos trip to New York to visit the 1953 General Motors Motorama in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel; ice skating in Rockefeller Plaza, watching the Rockettes in Radio City Music Hall and getting kicked out of the Waldorf wedding party that the four of us had crashed. All in one day! Wasn’t youth wonderful. And nobody got shot!
Next, the same two old guys began on politics. We went on to talk about the ineffective Vice President and comparisons to Vice Presidents of the past. John Adams was Vice President to George Washington, he complained to his wife Abigail about the vice-president’s job “My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” Reading, further we find that this country’s first President relied heavily on a younger Alexander Hamilton, more so than on his Vice President who did go on to be the second President of this country. If you want to read an interesting resume, Alexander Hamilton is worth the read.
I remembered that Spiro Agnew resigned in 1973 as Richard Nixon’s Vice-President. He had been investigated by the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland on suspicion of bribery, extortion and tax fraud when he was Governor of Maryland. After months of investigation apparently, he took kickbacks from contractors. Agnew pled guilty to one count of tax evasion and resigned from the office of Vice President. His claim to infamy was that he was the second Vice President to resign from office behind John C. Calhoun who served as Vice President of John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Calhoun and Jackson didn’t have the best relationship and he disagreed on many of his president’s beliefs. He resigned in 1832 with only a few months left in his second term. His political career did not end there.
Next topic was today’s predicament! Vice President Kamala Harris has the distinct privilege of being assigned tasks by the President Biden which she has ignored. She has the special privilege of being the highest-ranking female official in the history of the United States. Aside from that, she is the first African American/Asian American vice president. She could have gone on to forge new frontiers for women in politics and women in general. Instead, she is portrayed on a huge less than complimentary, billboard in Wisconsin. There has been some chatter about removing her and eliminating her from a potential run for president in 2024. So, what will happen? What, a privilege it is to live in our Democracy!