Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Warren Harding, The Second Son of God

I spent today reading microfilmed copies of the fine newspaper, the Eatonville (WA) Dispatch.

As many historians will tell you, looking at microfilmed newspapers kind of sucks. I actually don't mind it all that much, but it is slow going when you are looking broadly for a variety of subjects.

On the other hand, you can find some pretty amazing things. For instance, the editor of the Dispatch really loved Warren Harding. I mean, who didn't, right? Oh yeah, maybe not. But here is his heartbroken cry when Harding died in 1923. From the August 10, 1923 issue:

The death of President Harding is a personal loss. He loved people. That is why he was loved. Even with the reams of 'copy' that have been written on him, one realizes the barrenness of adjectives to describe this man.

A person will follow the even tenor of his way until confronted by an emergency. It is then that the test comes. Warren G. Harding's elevation to the highest office in the gift of man brought out the where all could see the true character he possessed.

There was a beauty about his life which won every heart. In temperament, he was mild, conciliatory, and candid;* and yet remarkable for an uncompromising firmness.** His life was an open sesame to the hearts of others. *** He followed in the footsteps of his Master by letting the sunshine of human sympathy and happiness into the dark places of life.

It is impossible to think of him in death's cold shroud of sororw [sic] **** and despair, but rather smiling on us from the sunset halo that marks God's farewell to the day--smiling with all the well remembered grace of his manhood, love and devotion, and saying to us:

"The sunset speaks but feebly of the glories of another day. All is well."

*Improper semicolon use was off the charts in the Eatonville Dispatch.

** I heard Harding's many mistresses said similar things about his uncompromising firmness.

*** I hope someone says that my life was an open sesame to the hearts of others when I die. I have no idea what this means of course.

**** To say the least, editing was not the Dispatch's strong suit.