Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Decorum of Democracy

Democracy is as tumultuous as human nature. It's not like it's ever been otherwise, contrary to those who imagine some placid golden age in the past. Always this: part circus, part zoo, part sport, part woo. Grab on to the latest technology and blow some hot air. However, in the grand scheme of things, when people are not shooting or stabbing each other in droves, it's a pretty good day. Above: BALLOON ASCENSION TO THE PRESIDENTIAL CHAIR (Library of Congress, 1844).  

#2. Questioning a Candidate. (Library of Congress, 1848). General Zachary Taylor: "Ax my ____!  Do you think I sit here to answer your dithering questions?"  To the right, an Office Seeker quips, "A still tongue makes a wise head."  The crusty general won the 1848 election and became the twelfth US President, but died after sixteen months in office. Hence the expression, Be careful what you wish for . . . 

The Telegraphic Candidates (Library of Congress, 1848).  Zachary Taylor, astride an early locomotive: "Why Fill, my boy, we must be on the wrong track . . ."  Above, Lewis Cass vaults along a telegraph line into the White House, proclaiming: "I seek the people's eternal happiness!"

Today's Rune: Strength.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

It is good to be reminded that it's always been contentious and obnoxious. People, man.