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Democratic Presidents Were Honorable Men

Harry Truman set examples that oh-so-should be lived up to by today’s professional politicians. As president he paid for all of his own travel expenses and food. I would imagine that sure cut back on how often he even thought about renting the entire Taj Majal for his friends and family. Oh, and their security staff.

Mr. Truman left the presidency  in 1952 his only income was less than $14,000 per year from an old U.S. Army pension. Eventually Congress voted him a retroactive retirement income of $25,000 probably out of embarrassment having something to do with their own fingers in the political pie Washington was becoming.

Upon leaving office Harry and Bess drove off alone to the house Bess had inherited from her parents in Independence Missouri. No driver. No entourage. No secret servicemen to pay him rental for a cottage on his grounds. Just Harry and Bess going home.

This retiree took his role seriously. Upon being offered any manner of corporate management position or board of director seat he is quoted as saying, “You don’t want me. You want the office of the President, and  that doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it’s not for  sale.”

Imagine that… integrity when it mattered.

In 1971 Congress had the idea to award  him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday. Harry refused it. He responded in writing with, “I don’t consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise.”

I guess our Harry would have likened that to being “awarded” a Nobel Prize… having done nothing as-yet to deserve it. I suppose he might have said that would have watered-down the whole purpose for those future citizens who DID. Who did deserve it.

Harry once said, “My  choices in life were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a  politician. …. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference!” If we’d recognized then what we know now we’d have realized our Mr. Truman was absolutely clairvoyant. Now that there really isn’t any difference.

1 comment to Democratic Presidents Were Honorable Men

  • Patricia

    I’m sorry my reply to this is so LATE, but, this is a great piece! I do believe Truman was an honorable man for the reasons cited in this piece and more. He did not have an easy time to govern, nor easy decisions to make. Though I do consider myself a “Republican”, this is one Democratic President that I am very proud of!