Americans are survivors

Ever since America became a nation there have been ups and downs in the economy. That’s the way it works for any government.
Here lately America has been going through a downturn in the economy, and as is usually the case, the people have to have someone to place the blame on. That someone is the president, and our president at this time is Barack Obama.
Obama is taking blows from the right and left, and I expect he will be for as long as he is in office.
When the economy is bad, it is the people who suffer, but it seems like the American people have a built in toughness that makes us able to adjust to whatever the conditions happen to be. That’s the way it has always been.
The second world war caught us in the middle of a period of relative tranquility, and overnight, following the sneak attack and the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, we became a nation of warriors and a great world arsenal.
In a few short months we built a war machine that was retaliating, and were beginning to take back what had been taken from us on that fateful day of Dec. 7, 1941.
Coming back was nothing new to the United States of America.
In the year 1929, we were hit by a failure of the economy, and that became known as the “Great Depression.” Some people are trying to make us believe the present time compares to the days of that depression. We know this is not true. Americans were starving during that time, but I haven’t heard of anyone going hungry in this day.
We came through the Great Depression because we were able to adjust, and because we have a sense of humor. I’m sure there are people who think we would be better off to forget about the Great Depression. For many, in spite of the hardship, it was a time when the stuff we are made of came to the surface.
Will Rogers, the great American humorist, kept people smiling, while a not very funny character in Louisiana, Huey Long, gave many people in his state hope, with his political slogan, “Every man a king, but no man wears a crown.”
Long was almost an instant success as a politician. In just eighteen years his silver tongue raised him from an obscure book salesman to the position of governor of Louisiana. Long had a knack for ridiculing his opponents, and would not hesitate to call them such names as “Whistle Britches” or worse.
In 1928, Long came up with his “Share the Wealth Program,” stating that 10 percent of the people owned 70 percent of America’s wealth, a sad situation that he intended to correct by making a re-distribution.
For the common people living in the swamps of Louisiana, it appeared that the Messiah had come, and they made him king of that state, bestowing on him the name “The Kingfish.” He knew their needs, and he spoke their language.
Next week, I will have more to say about Huey Long.

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.



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