Of certainty & doubt

by | Thursday, September 03, 2009

The NYTimes has a op-ed piece today by Max Blumenthal about an obscure letter Eisenhower wrote to “Robert Biggs, a terminally ill World War II veteran.” Biggs was worried by ambiguity and uncertainty he seemed to observe in president Eisenhower. He wrote that he:

“felt from your recent speeches the feeling of hedging and a little uncertainty… We wait for someone to speak for us and back him completely if the statement is made in truth.”

What is amazing is that Ike took time out to write back to this person and something he wrote, struck a chord with me:

I doubt that citizens like yourself could ever, under our democratic system, be provided with the universal degree of certainty, the confidence in their understanding of our problems, and the clear guidance from higher authority that you believe needed.”

At this time, where people compare anybody that disagrees with them to Hitler, where town-hall meetings are disrupted for political and partisan purposes, where the air waves are jammed with birth-certificate controversies, Ike’s sane and pragmatic voice was wonderful to read. You can read the entire letter here.

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