THEODORE ROOSEVELT AUTOBIOGRAPHY

DeCapo

This engaging book is an example why political autobiographies rarely succeed. e.g. Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography stops where he begins to discuss politics, policies and persons. There is always slippage, the author confusing his own ego, ideas and proposals with the will of the people. It is seen every day on TV – politician XY or XX bellows that this, that or the next thing is what Americans want.

TR (Theodore Roosevelt) succeeds mostly because he writes well, he states his reasons and logic and he hits issues face on. During his Presidency, opponents labelled him a Socialist. He goes after this issue whilst complaining about persons like Debs, Haywood and others, on one hand, and also disclaiming persons like Harriman – not a good citizen. Whether the reader agrees with TR, he advances his ideas and his deeds. He takes on the Columbia-Panama-Canal issue vigorously. He somewhat solved the Anthracite Coal Strike by changing titles of members of a Presidential Commission. 

The first half of this life is filled with intimate tidbits. Who knew TR admired Jane Austen, unlike his contemporary Mark Twain: “…it is too bad they let her die a natural death.” Which readers have seen eld used, hoary eld in the book; the right stuff apparently is a term of the nineteenth century. Before the big policy issues of the Presidency, TR writes intelligently and efficiently about a number of issues, including, New York City; ineffective men in politics; party patronage; newspaper editors; women’s rights; slum labor; pardoning the wealthy; reading by statemen (or people with power); unequal justice; sociological justice; etc.

There are reasons why Theodore Roosevelt is on Mt. Rushmore; some are found in this volume which I recommend. He looked to the future, not the past, as the salvation of the country, and he discussed issues clearly and intelligently. Any person committed to be a progressive or an activist would do well to read and use thoughts and ideas in this Autobiography:  Why? Because everyone knew that Theodore Roosevelt was a plain, simple, outright Commie!

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STATE OF EXISTENCE

At the beginning of September 2019 the Wall Street Journal interviewed Salmon Rushdie.  He’s getting on and has a novelistic fearsome perspective: “I have no idea what’s coming next, but on the basis of what we see, it doesn’t look great.” Later in the interview/review, he says,”Nothing goes according to the old rules anymore.”

That is a plausible perspective. But were the old rules any good, and can anyone ever figure the future?

Today, Americans and everyone in the world who want a change need talents in disciplines beyond literature, Molecular and Cell Biology, software programming and law.  Knowing all four is a good start, but having one discipline and being financially secure makes that individual unfit and likely to pursue any idiot ideology, or an abnormal cult, or follow a way of life offered by a guru from Gordo. Something in every human spirit and being must accept communication and compromise – so sprinklers are redirected to avoid spraying a neighbor’s drive.

If I got it right, Rushdie’s new novel, Quichotte, is a retelling of Don Quixote. Research for this book included watching The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and shows of that ilk. I doubt if I’ll ever read a rewrite of Quixote, but anyone looking for love from TV shows is at a loss. It’s like getting instructions from Trump University on love, all the while knowing Don’s PSA reading is .15. No one can get more real than that, although it sounds like a jolly lie.

Many citizens no longer read. They are attracted to sound. Music is jumping, but what to make of company and incomprehensivensss: Big money, little minds.  Thinking, thought, pondering, ruminating and other activities keeping human beings connected to the world best and attached to one another begin with one individual. Conversing, discussing, talking, saying need another person. Is that difficult? 

FREE SPEECH IN AMERICA

The excellent THEODORE ROOSEVELT AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, the Republican candidate for Vice-President of the Republican Party in 1900 tells, 

…the monotony usually attendant upon such a campaign of political speaking was diversified in vivid fashion by occasional hostile audiences. One or two of the meetings ended in riots. One meeting was finally broken up by a mob; everybody fought so speaking had to stop. Soon after this we reached a town where we were told there might be trouble. Here the local committee included an old and valued friend, a “two-gun” man of repute, who was not in the least quarrelsome, but who always kept his word. We marched around to the local opera-house, which was packed with a mass of men, many of them rather rough-looking. My friend the two-gun man sat immediately behind me, fixing his gaze with instant intentness on any section of the house from which there came so much as a whisper. The audience listened to me with rapt attention. At the end, with a pride in my rhetorical powers which proceeded from a misunderstanding of the situation, I remarked to the chairman: “I held that audience well; there wasn’t an interruption.”

To which the chairman replied: “Interruption? Well, I guess not. Seth had sent around word that if any son of a gun peeped he’d kill him!”

Chapter 4, p. 129-130; New York, DA CAPO, 1985.