In 1964 I was living in the little town of Smyrna, Tennessee, about half way between Nashville and Murfreesboro, when the election for a new president was in full swing. The Republican Convention would select Goldwater (the Arizona senator) or Richard Nixon as its candidate. Goldwater was portrayed as the ultra conservative and Nixon more liberal.
I had returned to the United States in 1960 after living in Japan for four years, having been married to an air force military pilot. Upon return, we lived in Reno, Nevada two years before moving to Smyrna, Tennessee. Several years prior to this time, I had become very interested in learning more about the philosophy of freedom and about this country I loved so dearly. A series of events led up to my wanting to learn more about this democratic government “of the people, by the people and for the people,” I had studied about in high school civics.
The military officer I was married to at the time had returned a few months before from a tour in Vietnam where he was in an air sea rescue flying helicopters. He had previously served in World War II, then a year in the Korean War. In between the major wars, he did many tours away from home doing other things to serve this country, like seven months in Burma training the Burmese to fly helicopters, among other temporary duties away from home.
I was proud of his role in the military, doing his part for the freedom of this country, so I gladly stayed home doing my own thing to support him—raise the children, take care of his ill parents, among other things—because I felt it was my patriotic duty to do anything I could for the freedom I enjoyed in this country. I often reminding myself that thousands had died fighting for the freedom.
However, as life went on and more events unfolded, the more I studied about this country’s history and the philosophy of freedom, the more disturbed I became about what was happening in this country. In this connection, I wanted to do two things. I wanted to write and do something as an individual to help change the direction we seemed headed, i.e., down the road of socialism.
I was a housewife with children and my husband had been reassigned to Wright Patterson Air Field in Dayton, Ohio, upon his return from Vietnam. We had built a lovely home in Smyrna and I remained there and he would usually fly home on the weekends.
In this 1964 election year, I decided to join the local republican party to learn more about the workings of politics first hand, which held meetings in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I would attend the meetings and got to know the county chairman and other active members in the community. A number of members attending were students at the local Murfreesboro College who became quite active.
At one meeting I met a lady named June whom I liked and we became friends. She was several years older than I was and a professional political activist. Someone referred to her as a political king maker. She resided in Murfreesboro, was a television writer for one of the top rated soap operas at the time, worked part-time as a court reporter in Nashville, and took frequent trips to New York and Chicago. Since she went near my home on her way to Nashville, she frequently stopped by and took me under her wing to teach me about the politics of the republican party.
She knew I was a fighter for things I believed in and prior to my joining the party had been in the Nashville newspapers relative to some battles I had waged over the local school situation. In fact, she actually knew about me before meeting me. She was very pleasant company to be around and I began learning a great deal from her, not the least of which, she was quite powerful in national politics working for the Nixon Campaign. She could pick up the phone and speak to just about anyone in national politics. She knew those in the local county politics who attended meetings really did not know who she was and were unaware she was this national power driver in the republican party. But she confided in me, and I soon learned who she was and what she was capable of doing.
I became involved to learn about the system first hand and to support ideas relating to the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and individual freedom. I had no grandiose scheme of staying in politics, nor was I looking for anything beyond supporting the ideology of what I believed. But June made it clear she was in it for patronage, which I did not understand at the time but subsequently learned she expected to be appointed to some key position in the government if Nixon was elected.
In 1964 we were still in a Cold War with Russia and Communists here in the United States. I learned there was an underground Communist cell in Murfreesboro where these college students were actively working in the local republican party and attending the meetings. One young man was particularly active in this Communist cell. At the republican meetings, he had a very overbearing compulsive and disruptive attitude to push any ideas he had through and I intensely disliked him.
The time came to discuss sending delegates to the Republican Convention. Several wanted to send me, including June. The young communist sympathizer did not want me selected. He and I were at cross ends of the spectrum when it came to any ideas, therefore the meetings could become quite heated and I wanted out.
I called June to come see me and when she did I told her I was getting out of the party altogether and did not choose to be embroiled with a communist sympathizer. He had become quite disruptive at the meetings. June tried to talk me into remaining in the party by telling me she would make me national chairwoman of the republican party if I would stay in and go to the convention as a delegate. She told me that whatever the particular trait of political charisma some people had, well that I had it, and she wanted me in. I told her I would think about it.
My relationship with her was as such that she would confide in me some of the things she was doing on the national scene as a behind the scenes campaign worker. I observed how she could manipulate blocks of voters by the strings she could pull. It was amazing and fascinating to me. There is tremendous seduction in the power of politics.
I realized those with political clout could set you up to win or pull you down, depending upon what was at stake in any given situation, similar to a puppet show. As Bastiat said, “there is that which is seen and that which is not seen.” And a lot goes on behind the scenes in politics. I realized if I agreed to stay in based upon her promise to make me national chairwoman of the republican party, the possibility of that eventuality would make me a puppet at the top to be manipulated, to suit the schemes of those who were actually the king makers and power drivers behind the scenes. Therefore, I told her I was getting out of any active participation in the party and process.
In that particular convention Nixon was the nominee and lost, only to go on and win the next election four years later.
After I removed myself from any political participation, my husband had orders to go to Florida for some kind of military training for two weeks, picking me and the children up to go with him. I rested and sunned on the beach for two weeks and returned never to be actively involved in politics again.
In the years that followed I fought my own individual battles from time to time, in the areas I could make a difference for myself and my family. And would do so, in such a manner that I had no organization to answer to in standing up and fighting for the principles of freedom I believe in.
The two times I became actively involved in organizations where there was voting, I had learned my lessons and had discovered first hand what I needed to know. The first participation was on a local level as part of the national political scene. The other was running for president of a large combined military wives club, which was comprised of army, navy and air force wives in the largest military housing development in the world, in Japan, which I lost by one vote.
However, those two experiences have served me well in the lessons I learned as a result of my participation. One can listen and read about what goes on inside elections, but one can only really know by experiencing what actually happens in situations where voting takes place and the majority rules.
One thing I learned is that right and wrong does not come about from numbers. And that which is right and correct in the course of human interaction comes about as a result of understanding universal principles.
Today is Super Tuesday and the largest primary in the history of the United States. The participation, excitement and hype is running at an all time fever pitch. The desire for power of some over others to decide how to take, use and redistribute private property, is an amazing sight to behold.
On the surface, it appears some win and some lose. But the fact of the matter is, on some level, all lose because the ownership of private property is an unalienable right of everyone. And the process and system that votes some in power to take the property of one to give to another, in violation of the will of the owner, is wrong by its very nature and supports the basic tenet of socialism. And at its core, socialism opposes private property ownership and the foundation upon which this country was built. In the beginning, the desire and determination to work, acquire, own, and control one’s property prompted the mantra, “root, hog, or die.”
The relief from the oppressive rule of a foreign king released in individuals an energy to work, acquire, create, and own property never experienced before. And out of that, the greatest nation on earth was built by a free people.
Today we are at a very different place. With such an erosion of individual freedom and so many restrictions on ownership of private property, we are a far cry from where we began in this country.
Let Freedom Ring!