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Politics. The word alone evokes a vast array of emotions. In the context of our lives, politics conjures up imagery, memories, opinions, and heated debates, and the word 'politics'in and of itselfcan't help but be extremely personal.
For many, making a party affiliation (no matter the party) can be one of the most defining and memorable moments of one's life. Your own political beliefs are a testament to your character, igniting your passions, strengthening your convictions, and exemplifying what you hold most dear and true in your heart. In Republican's Soul, we set out on a journey to explore the personal significance that being a Republican has on one's own history, development, ideologies, relationships, and so much more.
Republican's Soul is not only an exploration, but a commemoration of the nostalgia and pride each party member has for its founders, its fighters, and its future. And what you'll find throughout these pages encapsulates good old Republican zeal with compelling first-person stories from fellow Republicans, wit and wisdom from some of your favorite leaders, historical tidbits, and photos that illustrate the pivotal moments in Republican history. Along the way, you'll laugh at clever cartoons, reminisce while reading excerpts from inspiring Republican speeches, and test your political knowledge with trivia and must-know facts.
All in all, this political pick-me-up will entertain, educate, and inspire you about what it means to be a part of the GOP.
As a child in Philadelphia, I discussed politics around the kitchen table with my dad the way other dads and sons talked sports. The only thing I could tell you about Philadelphia sports was that by the time the first pitch was thrown on opening day, the Phillies were already statistically eliminated from playoff contention.
Philadelphia was a pure Democrat town. Everyone was a Democrat. In fact, Philadelphians once voted for a dead Democrat over a live Republican. My mom is still a far-left Democrat, trying to figure out where she went wrong with me. I recall how upset she was when she found 'that' magazine in my room. No, not Playboy . . . the National Review.
When I was a child and walked into the voting booth with my dad and watched him vote for Richard Nixon, I was shocked. I turned to him and said, 'Dad, you voted for Nixon. He's a Republican.'
'Yes, he is, and don't tell your mother,' he responded.
I kept that secret until my dad passed away.
I was a Democrat for years until I started working. I would study my paycheck and try to figure out who the FICA family was and wonder why I was sending so much money to them every week. Around that time, I became a Republican.
Years later when my girlfriend, now my wife, wanted me to meet her folks, I was excited until she told me I could not discuss politics with them. I was to meet Heidi's mom and dad, but I was forbidden to talk politicsperiod!
Heidi introduced me to her mom and then quickly sat me with her father. It took me all of about thirty seconds to exhaust my knowledge of baseball and golf (the subjects Heidi told me to discuss with him), and then we started talking politics. I realized that we were actually agreeing on everything. At this point I leaned in close and whispered, 'You are a Republican, aren't you?'
He leaned in even closer and said, 'Yes, but don't tell Heidi's mom.' I felt right at home!
Hurrying to the airport in his limousine, Joe Foss, Republican governor of South Dakota, pulled to a hard stop when he saw a nine-year-old newspaper boy take a fall from his bicycle in the middle of the highway.
I was that boy.
Balancing fifty to a hundred newspapers on a bike was a challenge, and when I hit a rut, I crashed onto the pavement and newspapers scattered across the highway. I looked up to see a black limousine fast approaching and coming straight at me. Heart racing, scared and embarrassed, I scrambled to get out of harm's way. As the limousine screeched to a halt, I spotted the license plate with the number '1'immediately I knew this was the official limousine of the South Dakota governor.
To my amazement, Governor Joe Foss pulled to the side of the road, stepped out of the limousine, and, dressed in a business suit, started picking up newspapers.
I knew little about this man or his political views. I did not know Joe Foss had been a Wildcat fighter pilot in World War II, leading a band of fearless pilots who became known as 'Joe's Flying Circus,' shooting down seventy-two planes in the fight for Guadalcanal. I did not know Joe was a national hero with twenty-six personal aerial victories against the Japaneseequaling the record set by Eddie Rickenbacker in World War I. I did not know Joe Foss had been shot down in the waters off Malaita Island, went under with his plane, gulped salt water, nearly drowned before freeing himself, and then fought off sharks before being rescued. I did not know Joe Foss had received the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, the Purple Heart; nor did I know that President Franklin Roosevelt had presented Joe with the highest award for valor in military action, the Congressional Medal of Honor. I did not know he lived out his faith in the public arena as governor and later as the first commissioner of the American Football League.
Another thing I did not know about Joe Foss was that in 1941, he was the Officer of the Day, in charge of base security at Pensacola, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Joe Foss rode around the perimeter of this strategic air base, defending against would-be Japanese invaders, utilizing the only transportation available . . . a bicycle.
Was this on his mind as he saw me take a bicycle spill in the middle of the airport highway? When Joe Foss offered, 'Let me help pick up your papers,' and began chasing newspapers scattered across the road, I was in awe. Without fanfareno cheering crowds, no medals, and no bands playing on the highway to the airportJoe, the governor with a state to manage and a plane to catch, took a few minutes to help a kid with a skinned knee. A politician par excellencemay God increase their numbers.
True greatness. Joe was my hero.
©2008. Jeff Katz and Dave Beckwith. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Republican's Soul. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street , Deerfield Beach , FL 33442.