Politicians Don’t Talk Like This Anymore

Politicians Don’t Talk Like This Anymore August 23, 2016

mushroom cloud
National Nuclear Security Administration on commons.wikimedia


Whether or not you’re old enough to remember it, you’ve probably seen the iconic daisy commercial that Lyndon Johnson aired in his 1964 bid for the presidency.

He was running against Barry Goldwater, who – at the time – was being portrayed by his opponents as a wild-eyed hawk just itching to get his finger on the nuclear trigger.

Goldwater looks moderate by today’s standards. But this was the era when little children crawled under their school desks to practice hiding from atomic bombs.

To drive home the dangers of Goldwater in power, LBJ aired a black and white commercial with a little girl picking petals off a daisy. She counts imperfectly from one to 10, then presumably is obliterated in a mushroom cloud.

But here’s the remarkable thing: We hear in a voice-over:

These are the stakes: to make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die. — Lyndon Johnson

When was the last time you heard a candidate urging us to love each other?

Who speaks about the oneness of humanity, in spiritual terms or otherwise?

What would happen to an American leader who suggested we respond to our enemies with love? Including our “enemies” within our own borders?

If even the profane, manipulative and insecure Lyndon Johnson had the courage to advocate love, is it still possible for a leader these 52 years later?

Or have we descended so far into rancor and mistrust that any suggestion of mutual striving or sacrifice is just considered wimpy?

I don’t have answers, but I’d love to know what you think. Would you vote for someone who says we must love each other or die? Who advocates a world that works for all?


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