It would surely be interesting to have the great and popular political humorist, Will Rogers, around today to lighten things up a bit during these times of crisis that, “try men’s soul.” Unfortunately, he died in an airplane crash on August 15, 1935.
He and Wiley Post (the great flier who was the first to fly solo around the world) were on a trip to Alaska when their plane crashed in the desolate Artic tundra country over which they were flying. The wreckage of their plane was discovered lying in the river where it fell, near an Eskimo camp where he and Post stopped to ask the way to Point Barrow, ending the tragic flight.
Will Rogers was a beloved entertainer and writer, mostly writing about politicians and the government during his time in the thirties, the Great Depression and the era of President Roosevelt.
Here’s a sampling of his writings:
“This fellow Roosevelt never gets through surprising us. We just find out now he speaks French fluently. That’s the second linguistic surprise he has handed us. The other night when the banks closed, we knew he could speak English, but we didn’t know he could talk “American” till that night. In fact, he’s got three speaking accomplishments. He’s the only guy who can talk ‘turkey’ to the Senate.”
“Every man gets an opportunity once in a lifetime. That little country banker in New York named Morgan has his now. If he steps up to the Senate witness stand and can show the boys where he has a business and not a racket, why he can step down a hero. But if he can’t, the boat sails Wednesday.”
Another time he wrote:
“Glad to see the reforestation and employment bill pass. We got to have a lot more forest and trees, otherwise these cigarette smokers won’t have anything to burn up.”
“Say, here’s something that for the good of the internal revenue collectors, ought to be made straight. We all kinda smile and the papers headline it anytime that somebody gets a refund on their income tax. That’s given wide publicity. But here is something that everybody don’t know because they are not allowed to publicize it—they collect in lots more disputed taxes than they pay out.”
“It’s news if you can get anything out of the government, but if the government gets anything out of you, that aint news, that’s just a habit. But Uncle Sam has no more faithful or fair servants.”
“These Democrats are going so fast they are relieving the same man twice before they know it. Congress passed the Farm Relief Bill and now is starting on an Unemployment Relief Bill. Well, the Farm Relief Bill relieved the unemployment. It gave everybody that wasn’t working a job to watch the farmer and see that he didn’t put in any more rows of potatoes than he did in 1921. It should be called “The Sherlock Holmes Bill.” It created five million Democratic detectives. But anyhow, the Democrats justified their existence. There are two words we have not heard uttered in three weeks: One is Republican and the other is Technocrat. Did you ever see two fads pass out so quickly?”
So there you have it, a sampling of the sayings, writing and thinking of Will Rogers. Words that could be applicable today, more than 70 years after his death in a plane crash.
We have come so far and yet traveled such a short distance, it seems in one sense we are back in the 30s. A major difference is that we have computers, cell phones, fancy, expensive cars, but no gas to operate them, just a few stations scattered around that have gas for those who can afford it. . . . oops.
Let Freedom Ring!