The quote I used for the title of this book review sums up what I learned while reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s nonfiction book, “The Bully Pulpit”, about Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden age of journalism. The quote comes from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808 – 1890), a French critic, journalist and novelist.
Anyone who reads my Bog—Crazy Normal—knows that I support the resistance fighting for the survival of the public schools against the fake Ed reformer billionaires who want to destroy the transparent, democratically run, non-profit, US public schools and replace them with CEO controlled, corporate owned opaque Charter schools.
You might ask what today’s war on public education has to do with “The Bully Pulpit”, and I’d reply “Everything!”
Because the corruption that Roosevelt fought starting as a member of the New York State Assembly 1882 -1884 that continued with his work on the US Civil Service Commission fighting spoils politics; then his two years—starting in 1895—as the president of the board of New York City Police Commissioners where he reformed and cleaned up the corrupt police department, and then as the Republican Governor of New York where he was exposed to the corruption of the trusts, monopolies, labor relations and conservatism and where he also built an alliance with the main stream media. This has all been reversed and the situation may be worse today than it was before Roosevelt went to work to make the United States a better place for everyone instead of just the few.
Roosevelt was the champion of the common man, the working man, the average family, but the corrupt Republican political machine was controlled by the richest Americans who wanted to keep control of the United States, and the GOP in 1901, manipulated Roosevelt to become Vice President where he wouldn’t be in a position to go after corruption.
But something the GOP corrupt political machine didn’t count on was President McKinley being assassinated on September 6, 1901, causing Roosevelt to become president where he then went after the giant corporations that had a strangle hold on business through trusts and monopolies, and Roosevelt won this battle.
Roosevelt, a progressive president (1901 – 1909), curbed the power of large corporations and supported organized labor. However, more than a century later, organized labor has been demonized and is losing members after decades of brutal attacks using smear tactics, cheery picked facts, misinformation and lies paid for by billionaires and large corporations that have taken back the political power lost to the richest Americans when Roosevelt was president. For instance, by 2010, union membership in the U.S. fell to a 70-year low.
Today, thanks to large corporations and the billionaires who also own/control most of the traditional media, many Americans have been fooled into supporting agendas that will eventually hurt them.
In fact, with the power back in the hands of the few wealthiest Americans and large corporations, America’s public schools face the threat of closure and being turned over to corporations to teach our children while millions of teachers face the threat of losing their jobs and joining the ranks of those living in poverty; a possible end to cleaning up our air and water with the threat of global warming growing worse, and a roll back of women’s rights at the same time as the misuse of this power swells the ranks of those living in poverty while working for poverty wages in the fast food industry and for companies like Wal-Mart.
I bought an unabridged copy of the audio book of the “The Bully Pulpit” at Costco, and I highly recommend reading this book to discover what’s wrong with the United States today. Without public pressure, the wealthy will rule this country through the corrupting influence of their money and power just as they did before Theodore Roosevelt put a stop to that abuse.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.
His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.
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