Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 23, 1972 · Page 109
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 109

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 23, 1972
Page 109
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Page 109 article text (OCR)

Presidents of Manifest Destiny By Patterson Patrick Shortly after President Ulysses Grant's first inauguration, historian Henry Adams, grandson and great- grandson o£ Presidents, observed that "the progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin." So simple an organism as Grant, Adams said, "should have been extinct for ages." Adams had a point, of course, but his observation was more acerbic than astute, because Darwin's primary concern in his theory of evolution was with the diversity of animal and plant life and only secondarily with the progress from simple to complex forms. Closer to the heart of the matter is the theory of Richard Solomon, who advises Henry Kissinger, who adpises President Richard Nixon. Solomon believes the political behavior of an individual is not due to unique personal traits, but is the result of "shared attitudes, e m o t i o n s a n d m o r a l norms--culture." Briefly put, if President G r a n t was the simple political organism that Adams thought he was--and the record suggests that he w a s -- t h e n so was the American body politic, for it. acting as a part of S o l o m o n ' s " c u l t u r e , " elected him President by a solid majority, re-elected him by a greater majority and came dangerously close tn giving Ulysses Simpson Grant a third term. Americans have always showed partiality to their military heroes, and Grant possessed in full measure the two most admired traits of the warrior: valor in combat and compassion in victory. His courage and steadiness in battle from Fort Donelson to Cold Harbor had made him the Union's most celebrated soldier and the nation's first full general of the armies, and his gentleness at Ap- pomaltox to defeated Gen. Robert E. Lee had added the touch of mercy that renders killing easier to rationalize. Grant's only political experience prior to the Presidency was the five uncomfortable months he s e r v e d as ad i n t e r i m secretary of war when President Johnson removed Edwin M. Stanton from that post. Disturbed by the President's strong pro- S o u t h e r n policies and angered by Johnson's charge of breach of loyalty, Grant drifted into the camp of the Radical Republicans. PERSPECTIVES Nominally a Democrat, G r a n l h a d s u p p o r l e d Buchanan againsl Fremonl and Douglas against Lincoln, but his opposition to President Johnson's "soft" Reconslruclion policies, his immense popularity and his STATE MAGAZINE, Ulysses S. Grant (First Administration: March 4, 1869-March 3, 1873) easy-going disposition made Grant extremely attractive to Republican Party leaders. Accordingly, Grant easily w o n t h e R e p u b l i c a n presidential nomination in 1868, and just as easily d e f e a l e d r e l u c t a n ' t D e m o c r a l i c n o m i n e e Horalio Seymour, former governor of New York. Significantly, Granl's 310,000 plurality came largely from the votes of 700,000 Negroes, who voted in large numbers for the firsl time. The major problems f a c i n g about 35 million postwar Americans were a national debt of $400 million, rebuilding the 11 shattered Southern states, redeeming the inflated paper currency issued during the war anil enforcing the 14th and 15th amendments granting the rights of full citizenship to the Negro. Grant's administrations did reduce the national debt by about one-fifth, but inflation was never curbed and not even the panic of 1873 made the President aware of the threat of cheap greenbacks to the n a t i o n ' s economy. Rebuilding of the S o u t h m o v e d r a p i d l y forward, but the prime m o v e r s w e r e w h i l e Soulherners, who were b e c o m i n g s o l i d l y D e m o c r a l i c , and con- sequenlly Ihe majorily of Ihe Negroes were lillle belter off than they were before the war to give them freedom. Two glaring personality flaws led to Grant's failure as President: unreasoning l o y a l l y to f a m i l y and friends, and a fawning in- falualion for the wealthy. He put unfit Army cronies in July 23, 1972 key adminislralion posts, accepted favors and lavish gifts from all stripes of wealthy men, and he was so- generous with federal appointments to his and his w i f e ' s f a m i l y l h a l h e became Ihe first President to be guilty of nepotism. Unsavory incidents such as Wall Streel's "Black F r i d a y , " t h e " W h i s k y Ring," the "deal" to annex Santo Domingo and the Union Pacific Railroad's ephemeral holding company, Credil Mobilizer, all revealed lhal so many were greedily feeding from the f e d e r a l t r e a s u r y t h a i Grant's regime was dubbed Ihe "Greal Barbecue." Nor was the corruplion confined lo the executive branch uf (he government a l o n e . "The House of Representatives was like an auction room," Rep. Job Stevenson of Ohio told his colleagues in 1873, "where m o r e v a l u a b l e c o n - sideralions were disposed of under the speaker's hammer than in any other place on earth." Meanwhile, four major universities were chartered, new inventions heralded Ihe push-bulton era, baseball was becoming popular, a golden spike compleled Ihe f i r s l I r a n s c o n l i n e n l a l railroad at Promontory Point, Utah, the Prohibition P a r t y w a s o r g a n i z e d , Wyoming Territory granted Ihe firsl woman suffrage in the United States and President U.S. Grant casually prepared to accept a second term. Copyright 1972, Los Angeles Times Edited by Arthur C. Buck, assistant professor of English, West Virginia University 'Searching for Happiness 9 by Carol H. Behrman "The more you reach after Ihe falal flower of happiness which trembles so blue and lovely in a crevice jusl beyond your grasp, Ihe more fearfully you become aware of Ihe ghaslly and awful gulf of Ihe precipice below you, inlo which you will inevitably plunge, as into ttie bottomless pit, if you reach any farlher... That is the whole history of Ihe search for happiness. .. It ends and il always ends, in Ihe ghaslly sense of Ihe bottomless nothingness into which you will inevitably fall if you strain any farlher." D. H. Lawrence penned the above lines. They might give a sensitive reader cause to weep--both for the dissatisfied genius who brought forth such anguished words from the deplhs of a tortured soul, and for the philosophy thus espoused, thai happiness is an unattainable illusion. It is nol easy to ignore this pessimistic but powerful passage. The unhappy English author was most perceptive and understanding observer of the human psyche, with the courage to bring lo light what he considered Iruths aboul human relationships no mailer how unpleasanl or unpopular these ideas might be. In all candor, one must admit that for a depressing large portion of mankind, these words are only too true. Real, deep- down happiness is, alas, an elusive blossom, only occasionally glimpsed, and rarely plucked. Most people will nol admil this, either to others or to themselves. It is far loo painful. How many have the courage of a Lawrence to look honestly into the pit and come face to face with the black emptiness? More commonly, the vacuum is disguised with superficial coverings. The all-xx-ing soul, which cannot be deceived, is hidden by layers of illusion. But the unhappy heart is never Iruly hidden from itself, and its frustrations give rise to the resentments, g u i l t , and blind fury which bring forth most of the malaise of mankind. Lawrence's dark vision, depressing Ihough it may be, is infinitely lo be preferred lo hypocrisy or self-deceplion. Pretenses are death to the growth of the soul. It is necessary to face up to reality, even if unpleasant, if there is to be any hope of perceiving Ihat greater reality which lies just beyond. The search for happiness can indeed be painful. True spirilual growth is often agonizingly slow. Bui Lawrence's pii is an incomplete vision, and the brave seeker of truth must sometimes plunge into its searing depths to attain that which he truly desires. For the final fruit is incredibly sweet. Il is a realization t h a t f u l f i l l m e n t is not a blossom to be plucked, bul ralher a flowering of one's own self. One cannot tear off happiness like the stem of a rose, bul musl ralher grow into il as the petals of the soul unfold into expansion and awareness. So il was for another English wrilcr, who found a quite different vision from thai of Lawrence on his inner quesl. This is how W i l l i a m Wordsworlh described il: "A presence thai disturbs me with the of elevated things; a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused. Whose dwelling is the light of selling suns, And Ihe round ocean, and Ihe living air, A the blue sky, and in the mind of man." A dark bottomless pit can be terrifying. But one musl look inside lo discover that it is neither dark nor empty nor a pit at all. If it seems dark, it is because our inner eyes are closed and unseeing. When inner vision has been achieved, the darkness is dispelled in the luminous glow which is the true environment of the soul, and that which seems to be a pit becomes a doorway opening out into the glorious reaches of infinity. Instead of clutching at nebulous flowers of happiness, one might do better to study a real flower itself. Nature, in all its aspects, is fulfilling unlo itself. A flower does not seek and strain after happiness-^il IS happiness. All its contentment, all its oneness with creation, is contained within itself. A man or woman, as a more complex, more highly developed expression of the same creative force, must find and nurture within himself the seeds of fulfilment. He must let in the light of understanding and acceptance of himself which nourishes the expanding spirit and helps it grow into a completed, unified being. These seeds are in everyone, and each contains within itself that flower it is destined to become. Just as the tulip which blooms in the spring is already present in the bulb which we plant in the fall, so one's completed, fulfilled self is already there, waiting to unfold. How tragic it is to contemplate the seeker of happiness who is confronted by a murky abyss, the goal always just out of reach! If only one could realize that his search has taken the wrong direction, that happiness is not a prize, to be grabbed by one who has the longest reach or runs the fastest, or accumulates the most. It is rather an inner state of being, a serenity, an acceptance, a oneness with the universe, which we all have the potential of developing within ourselves. The seeds of fulfilment lie within each human being. They may be dormant; nevertheless, they are there. Happiness waits. It is attainable. Mrs. Behrman, a free lance writer of Fair Lawn, N. J., has published poems and articles in the New York Times, Christian Herald, Girl Talk, and other literary, religious and poetry magazines. Drifting on Rivers sitting on the back porch in the warm spring sun while the windy breezes sail my hair In curling rivers in the sky floating my mind right out of sighting other birds just gliding by the growing o'llcr bv the m i n u t e but enjoying every day by day I love you wondering if you love lo make me guess if you really love me oh my such heavy thoughts should not hang round on such a nice spring day. --Joan Sullivan Hindman ( Hindman is a young poet of Eliz:ibc(htown, Pa.) Rain and Fog By Lana Chandler The steady beat of Ihe raindrops Falling on Ihe awning, And Ihe hazy world Outside my bedroom window, Are handicaps the spring nymph' Must overcome so she can reach me, So she weaves a spell around me-To lure me oul inlo Her kaleidoscopic world, So I can see green grass Shiny wilh raindrops, Vibranl pinks and yellows Bursling forlh from Wild flower buds, And all the other lovely sights The rain and fog Are hiding from me. (Miss Chandler is a talented young high school student of Charleston.) CHARLESTON, W.VA. 19m

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