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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


April 19, 2016

From Poll Tax to Norman Thomas to Sanders

Harry M. Covert

I voted early in the Maryland primary – last week. Right here in Frederick County it was a delight to see all of the smiling faces of election judges and workers, who were tickled with the turnout and the fun of seeing people learning how to use a ballpoint to make selections.

 

Every time I hit the polling places I remember the time of years past when we had to pay a $1.50 poll tax just to register. When I signed on at age 21, I scrambled to find the coins to pay the fee. This time I happily presented my voter registration card and enjoyed the moments.

 

I applaud officials at the Taney Avenue Senior Citizens Center. They were dignified on the job and pleasant. They enjoyed seeing the participants. The only thing missing, at least for me, were refreshments like pies and cakes and other tasty morsels that abounded years ago before they became illegal.

 

Local voters have other days to pick favorites for the national, state and area representatives. I do wonder, though, how many have other stories or remember candidates from the past.

 

In these days of mass media, I do wonder what six-time presidential candidate Norman Thomas would think of his modern day compatriot Bernie Sanders. Yes, different day and time, but similarities between the two are incredibly alike.

 

Think I forgot to note Mr. Thomas was a respected socialist, anti-war and conscientious objector! He was kept at a distance in the 20s-30s and 40s. He was a native Ohioan, a Princeton man and Presbyterian minister. I wish there could be a conversation between Mr. Thomas and Sen. Sanders.

 

I admit that like lots of others of opinions, I laughed, too, on the day Mr. Sanders, then an independent senator who sat with the Democrats, announced he was seeking that party’s presidential nomination. I figured the grandfatherly Sanders, a non-religious Jew, would be lost in the wind.

 

Mr. Thomas would be greatly pleased with the “revolution” under way. A plaque in his honor in New York says: "I am not the champion of lost causes, but the champion of causes not yet won."

 

It’s a good thing to read history, most especially today. America as we know it today is shifting – and rapidly. Who figured millions would contribute $27 each to Mr. Sanders, while the big money people would let it roll into the coffers of the would be anointed? Who would have figured a businessman leads the Grand Old Party’s race and is paying his own way?

 

There is no denial that all politics is in rebellion. Activists are certainly giving different looks at their organizations, not waiting for the future, but for the present. This can’t be all bad. The time has come.

 

Think about the words of yesteryear from a fellow named Patrick Henry. He was somewhat of a change-maker and shaker-upper. He said: “Give me liberty or give me death.” Yes, he was a troublemaker for the “insiders.”

 

The citizenry keeps hearing about the richest nation on earth crumbling. There are lots of changes underway, and the battle for hearts and minds of Marylanders and other places, is raging.

 

The issues are so great these days that none of the hopefuls really have any idea how to prepare for the future except by raising h eee-double ell.

 

Unless a child, boy or girl, can pass a football for touchdowns, shoot three-point baskets, hit homeruns, run a 100-yard dash in six seconds or so, or have other athletic skills, college educations are out of sight. The non-profit organization that rules collegiate sports is valued at over one-billion dollars and growing.

 

Students who have other educational interests, in the majority of cases, need federal loans of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is not a conservative versus liberal issue, but practicality. The National Collegiate Athletic Association should be funding university expenses. Imagine if the NCAA’s largess were used for everybody’s costs? All right, this is anathema to modern day thinking. I can hear it, phooey on me!

 

How about the mess at Veterans Affairs? A shame of mishandling those military veterans, who come home suffering, hurting and hopeless. Everybody has a story.

 

I admire the way Senator Sanders and Donald J Trump have fired up the masses. Both caught the partisans napping and not paying attention to the feelings of millions of the young and old.

 

Payday apparently has come to the powerbrokers. We’ve come a long way from the poll tax days. The price for the $tatu$ quo has reached incredible amount$.

 

hmcovert@gmail.com

 



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