By Josh Mitteldorf
Become a Fan
David Talbot, Harper Perenniel (2016)
Oliver Stone tells the story of the 1944 Democratic Convention. The crowd is wildly cheering VP Henry Wallace, and Sen Claude Pepper is pushing his way to the podium, eager to seize the moment and move that Wallace be nominated by acclamation to be FDR’s running mate for another term, just as FDR has wished. With three seconds to spare, Mayor Kelly of the Chicago Democratic machine fabricates a “fire hazard” in order to adjourn the meeting without a vote. He and other party bosses then work the delegates all night with bribes and threats, and in the morning the unknown Sen Harry Truman, who had placed eighth the night before, is voted to be Roosevelt’s VP.
The point is that FDR had only months to live, and that Wallace would have been an enormously popular president with a strong leaning toward pacifism and democratic socialism. There would have been no Hiroshima, no Cold War, and the New Deal programs would have been continued and expanded. The US economy would have followed a path more like Norway. We came within three seconds of a historic path in which the Military-Industrial Complex and the Deep State would never have gotten a toehold.
How did we get to this place, this crazy paranoid world where our country spills the worst aspects of its violent culture over the planet, murdering and subjugating and stealing resources in the name of “spreading democracy”, lying and deceiving for the sake of a handful of robber barons who are mostly oblivious to the carnage that is perpetrated in their name, while the rest of us are inestimably poorer for the waste, the devastation, the lost lives, the shattered bodies and fractured families?
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