The last time I visited with Mrs. Rumbleheart, my fifth-grade teacher, she had already surpassed “senior citizen” age—but, she never would fess up to her birth date.
That was not uncommon half a century ago when many subjects were “never” discussed in public. Like many personal matters, to ask a woman’s age was simply off limits.
Today, a woman’s age is still often “mis-quoted,” a man’s waste line frequently understated, and the answer to “And, how are the children doing?” typically embellished—sort of a “hope and change” approach to issues.
Had Ms. Rumbleheart been alive today (she’d probably be in her 120s) she might have had a good laugh at the current state of the country in light of the popular rally-cry of “hope and change” … especially as it pertains to the difference in political rhetoric and political reality and real cost.
Few alive today recall much about the false hope of the country’s “Roaring 20s” period followed by the abrupt change to that time of high and fast living with the stock market crash of 1929—which lasted throughout the 1930s—but, Mrs. Rumbleheart remembered it well.
Mrs. Rumbleheart, together with our remaining World War II-era senior citizens experienced first hand the country’s hope to never have to enter into a world war that was “the Europeans’ problem” only to find everything about that war changed on December 7, 1941 resulting in our country’s full involvement in the horrors of war shortly thereafter.
As World War II came to a close there was a resurgence of the possibility of a League of Nations (now the United Nations) giving new hope to the country of the possibility of a lasting world peace only to be quickly changed by the aggression of the power-hungry Soviet Union replacing peace with fear.
Mrs. Rumbleheart correctly taught us that during the 1950s our country’s economic future hope and stability was largely built around the auto industry and the housing industry. There is no doubt that Mrs. Rumbleheart would be in total disbelief if she were here with us today to observe the total change for the worse in both industries.
And, certainly Mrs.Rumbleheart’s life-long experience with our country’s domestic and foreign political realities would give her a more realistic understanding of the current promises of “hope and change” being ballyhooed today.
There was the hope for peace with one president’s decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan only to discover the changes of a “cold” war. There was also the hope of a holy war ending in peace by Islamic revolution-bent terrorists with the effective bombing of the World Trade Center in 2001 which quickly changed into a game of hide-and-seek throughout the Middle East and elsewhere.
There was the promise of “no new taxes” by one presidential candidate of the recent past spawning new hope throughout the nation only to be changed by the reversal of that promise.
Yesterday’s promise and hope for our economic future was literally changed over-night a few months ago into today’s economic nightmare for many in our country with Congress authorizing billions of taxpayer dollars being spent on so-called “bail-outs” primarily for the wealthiest of Wall Street’s modern-day financial barons and unindicted conspirators.
Had Mrs. Rumbleheart been around to have witnessed the disgusting greed by many of the “moneyed” people in our once-great country, she would have verbally scolded them all, smacked them with an 18-inch ruler and sent them to the cloak room for a long time-out.
Perhaps the next Congress will have Mrs. Rumbleheart’s grit and tenacity (hope) … probably not (change)!
The current presidential political promises of hope are mostly tied to increased government spending resulting in increased taxes—directly or indirectly—for everyone and their families. Universal health care, more benefits for illegal aliens, tax decreases for 95-percent of tax-payers, a “no drilling, not now, not ever” energy attitude, increased federal bail-outs, and a “let them out early” attitude regarding our criminal justice system is going to cost—and cost the country more than it has to spend.
Mrs. Rumbleheart would probably tell the new president to “Just knock it off!” She’d be concerned that the “hope” will quickly fade into the reality that the “change” is not what was being advertised.
Most likely my fifth-grade teacher would have done the math correctly and would have said that “hope and change” is much more like “bait and switch!”
She also would have reminded us that it takes moral courage to be a “great” country …, and, that comes at a cost greater than money can buy.
© Submitted by Bob Grafe for publication on November 20, 2008.