in the arena  

sparkee58 60M
606 posts
7/29/2006 3:10 am

Last Read:
7/31/2006 1:31 am

in the arena

I took classes at night at NCSU during the 80s and lived close enough to campus that I walked everywhere. On the corner of Hillsborough and Rosemary Street is a used bookstore that I passed everyday. There were overflowing bookshelves outside and the books cost a quarter each. There was a slot in the glass door where you could deposit your money.(Let's be honest; in America, who's going to steal books). I always stopped and bought an armful to lug up to my small studio to stack on the floor.
Anyway, I bought a 1920 edition of "In The Arena" by Booth Tarkington. It was one of John Kennedy's favorite books and you can see in the introduction that the words influenced some of his own writings.

"In The First Place"

"The old timer, a lean, retired pantaloon, sitting with loosely slippered feet close to the fire, thus gave of his wisdom to the questioning student.

""Looking back upon it all, what we most need 'in politics' is more good men. Thousands of good men ARE in; and they need the others who are not in. More would come if they knew how MUCH they are needed. The dilettantes of the clubs who have so easily abused me, for instance, all my life, for being a ward-worker, these and those other reformers who write papers about national corruption when they don't even know how their own wards are swung, probably aren't as useful as they might be. The exquisite who says that politics is 'too dirty a business for a gentleman to meddle with' is like the woman who lived in the parlour and complained that the rest of her family kept the other rooms so dirty she never went into them.

""There are many thousands of young men belonging to what is for some reason called the 'best class' who would like to be 'in politics' if they could begin high enough up- as ambassador, for instance. That is, they would like the country to do something for them, though they wouldn't put it that way. A young man of this sort doesn't know how much he'd miss if his wishes were gratified. For my part, I'd hate not to have begun at the beginning of the game.

""I speak of it as a game," the old gentleman went on, "and in some ways it is. That's where the fun of it comes in. Yet, there are times when it looks to me more like a series of combats, hand-to-hand fights for life, and fierce struggles between men and strange powers. You buy your newspaper and that's your ticket to the amphitheatre. But the distance is hazy and far; there are clouds of dust and you can't see clearly. To make out just what is going on you ought to get down in the arena yourself. Once you're in it, the view you'll have and the fighting that will come your way will more than repay you. Still, I don't think we ought to go in with the idea of being repaid.

""It seems an odd thing to me that so many men feel they haven't any time for politics; can't put in even a little, trying to see how their cities (let alone their states and the country) are run. When we have a war, look at the millions of volunteers that lay down everything and answer the call of the country. Well, in politics, the country needs ALL the men who have any patriotism-NOT to be seeking office, but to watch and to understand what is going on. It doesn't take a great deal of time; you can attend to your business and do that much, too. When wrong things are going on and all the good men understand them, that is all that is needed. The wrong things stop going on."

marnison 80F

7/29/2006 9:12 am read this...
while I stimulate your mind.

sparkee58 replies on 7/30/2006 1:42 am:
...i thought you said my mind

rm_1hotwahine 64F
21091 posts
7/29/2006 12:58 pm

What I'm stuck on right now is this --
How do we counteract the intensity of the political machinery that turns all these "good men" into a Bot response to media polls?

I saw it in Clinton ( which is why I'm STILL so pissed at him re: Lewinsky, the stupid sonovabitch ) and have always seen it in Gore. Of course, up until a few years ago, Gore was SO far the other way (it pained even me to watch him give a speech ) that it was an impediment.


Do you think the new Al Gore, meaning the one who can actually show, publically, the grace, humor and confidence that he no doubt has always had, can do it this time?

I SO want the answer to be yes.

Yeah, I'm still [blog 1hotwahine]

sparkee58 replies on 7/30/2006 2:25 am:
if gore can keep away from schrum & associates consulting and if he runs his own campaign, i think he'll be the man to beat.

every bad thing he said would come about if bush became president has happened:
a surplus has turned into a deficit
iraq is a quagmire
global warming will intensify with a vengence

$20 a barrel oil is now $85

FrankPicasso 53M

7/29/2006 1:54 pm

When wrong things are going on and all the good men understand them, that is all that is needed. The wrong things stop going on.

Sadly, I'm not sure it is enough anymore. However, it is a start.

Great post!

sparkee58 replies on 7/30/2006 2:26 am:
the key is to understand

keithcancook 61M
18125 posts
7/29/2006 9:02 pm

Very interesting, sparkee.

Perhaps here lies the inspiration for his "Ask not what your country can do for you..." speech.

Thanks. I love finding roots.

Blog On!

sparkee58 replies on 7/30/2006 2:26 am:
wasn't that a nice glittering nugget to unearth

keithcancook 61M
18125 posts
7/29/2006 9:05 pm

Oh yeah, I have one nephew at State in his senior year. His brother graduated from Carolina 2 yrs. ago.

sparkee58 replies on 7/30/2006 2:27 am:
i can only imagine the conversation when the tarheels and wolfpack play

rm_1hotwahine 64F
21091 posts
7/30/2006 9:39 am

    Quoting rm_mzhunyhole:
    I know I should know more about politics and understand them at my age..but yuck..I hate them..I just hate confusing.I'm proud to be an American though.
Huny, sometimes it's easier to start at a local level. That's where you can really make an impact. Plus we don't have to have a law degree to do it. Personally I have confidence in your ability to do so.

Yeah, I'm still [blog 1hotwahine]

sparkee58 replies on 7/31/2006 1:32 am:
...what she said.

marnison 80F

7/30/2006 5:05 pm

    Quoting marnison: read this...
    while I stimulate your mind.
i did....didn't it work

sparkee58 replies on 7/31/2006 1:33 am:
only too well

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