Valentine’s Day: THE GRAMMAR OF LOVE

February 14, 2013

THE GRAMMAR OF LOVE:  a sentence has subject and predicate, a noun often necessitates a verb and often an active verb. Love manifests itself in loving. The personality  and essential character of my mate of sixty years, Ruth,  provided for her mate a consistent demonstration of that GRAMMAR. Divine Providence not wishing man to be alone, the Psalmist asserts, “sets the solitary in families”.  So my wife and I became one.  Expressed with the psalmist poetic imagery “my wife became a fruitful vine by the side of my house” and our “children”, the fruit of our union, “like olive plants about my table”.  Our children, each child ultimately precious and dearly beloved, together with parents in established family provided a rich, vibrant, most rewarding family life – the familial context as school for the shaping and maturing of character. The Psalmist’s final assurance for the father of the house, a promise in which the mate shares, has been richly granted, namely, that “he would see his children’s children”.  What privilege for proud grandpa to provide thirteen times repeated a golden amulet for grandma’s charm bracelet!  And what joy grandchildren and their parents bring to the enrichment of life!  And so you, Ruth, as wife, mother, grandmother serve most meaningfully as our family’s beloved matriarch.

Love kindled at first glance in the young heart of your lover as never altered. That same lover having journeyed a far distant six decades along life’s path but never alone with you as companion and wife pledges his constant,, unwavering love so long as life unites us.

NAPOLEON’S WATERLOO – Military Miniatures

February 1, 2013

One of my Academy “lads” favored me with four photos of his erstwhile hobby displayed in his newly purchased display case military miniatures depicting Napoleon’s Waterloo.  Tim Utter, admission counselor at Concordia University, was an Academy student during the years I was an Academy instructor during the early and mid-sixties. Tim is a member of the Academy class that inaugurated The Fred and Ruth Bartling Scholarship two years ago. He is a respected friend and a knowlegeable lay historian. We have been sharing dialog regarding the miliary miniatures illustrating Napoleon’s Waterloo debacle. We share verbatim that dialog.

(Tim) Fred, Happy New Year:

Back in 1965, I started a strange hobby:  painting military miniatures. The hobby ended about 1980, but in recent years I bought a display case. Thought you might appreciate the attached pictures . . . 1,100 figures in all, illustrating scenes from the Battle of Waterloo. Best wishes to you and Ruth. 1/18/2013


(Fred) What a wonderful and serendipitous surprise. Recently at lunch with one of your classmates I was given Victor Hugo’s Les Miserabiles.  A huge volume of some 1200 pages. I read a few sections daily. Marvelous writing with an interesting plot for a history buff. Just completed a few evenings ago Book First WATERLOO, pages 265-312. – a careful description of the battle. Your visual depiction helps my understanding. Now I can visualize what a “square” meant and implied. Your display of the building gave insight what was involved. I suspect you may have been aware or even read Hugo’s account of the battle. Your hobby is not strange at all but most meaningful. Do you plan to take this up again as a hobby – nice way to go as you approach retirement? I ran into Hugo in Vietnam as he is enshrined as an important spiritual teacher (French Indochina connection no doubt). I have a blog on the Cao Dai and saw a painting (picture) of Hugo at their temple entrance. (See blog on this site: Bahai and Cao Dai Religious Sects:  Syncretistic Monotheism, 11 /4//2012)  1-18-201


(Tim) Yes, “squares”  were formed to repel cavalry attacks. That is why cavalry attacks at an enemy’s wings, then sent in mass infantry columns to break the center – which he did at Waterloo. It was the same strategy used by Lee at Gettysburg, implemented as Pickett’s charge.  And,like Lee,  Napoleon had tried to soften up the enemy with a huge artillery barrage. However, at Waterloo, Wellington’s Anglo-Allied Army had laid down on the reverse slopes of the small hills, waiting for the artillery barrage to end and awaiting the infantry column in turn. Ultimately, Marshal Blucher’s timely arrival with his Prussian Army that rolled up Napoleon’s right flank completed the victory.

Wellington and Blucher met at the small village appropriately named “LaBelle Alliance.”  While the battle was actually fought at Mont St. Jean.  Wellington chose to name the battle after his headquarters at Waterloo – much more anglo-sounding. By the way . .  when Churchill died, he made arrangements that his political rival, Charles DeGaulle, would be forced to come by train to Waterloo Station, rather than the more convenient Victoria Station. (1-28-2013)


(Fred)  Very interesting and informative. Ruth agrees this would be interesting for a blog on The Bartling Scholarship.  I would need your permission. And if so would you send me again the pictures of your Military Miniatures displayed in your new cabinet? Cordially – Fred  Regarding my great-great grandfather Wilhelm Koehler – “was a sixteen year old volunteer in the infantry (Blucher’s Prussian Army) against Napoleon at Waterloo . . . experienced a shot (wounded as well) through his jacket and spent the entire evening on three dead French soldiers.”  (1-29-2013)


(Tim) You certainly have my permission . . . a privilege. Wow!  Such detailed information about Wilhelm Koehler!  If he was killed (Fred notes – not “killed” but wounded) as part of the Prussian advancement thru the village of Plancenoit (i.e. Napoleon’s right wing), you might appreciate this  . . .  (1-31-2013)


(Fred) additional information regarding Koehler found in Genealogical Data and Historical References I prepared for my maternal lineage:  “Wilhelm Koehler b .3/11/ 1797 – d. 3/23/1875.  Hanover – chief  forester of Eilenreid near the Hanover ‘Pferderturm’ (Horsetower). Koehler volunteered at age 16 for the rifleman’s corps of Kielmannegg and fought near Waterloo against Napoleon’s forces. In 1863 he was awarded the royal Guelphen Badge.” In another source a grandson observed: ” At sixteen he participated in the battle of Waterloo as a volunteer from Bremen; he was wounded and slept the whole night on top of three Frenchmen who were dead — he said”.  I have a small photo from my mother’s photo album of Wilhelm in uniform with his wife. Both in later life, perhaps close to the year 1863 when Wilhelm received his honorary badge. (1-30-2013)


What a distinct pleasure to share dialogue with my former student and subsequently as friend over many years. Meaningful friendship and respectful dialog adds special meaning and purpose to life.

Lincoln Film: 13th Amendment – Protagonists Debate Slavery and Race Issue

January 24, 2013

Steven Speilberg’s movie Lincoln  portrays the 16th president’s actions to have the Thirteenth Amendment adopted to abolish slavery, end the Civil War, and reunite the country.  Passage of the Amendment required passage in the House of Representatives. What captured my attention pursuant to the Amendment’s passage was focused mainly upon the acrimonious debate between Fernando Wood , Lee Pace acting, and Thaddeus Stevens, Tommy Lee Jones acting the role. Their dramatic confrontational firebrand rhetoric and acrimonious debating style displayed that underlying the discussion was assumed the prevailing view of most people regarding race, all colored people slave or free. The scene has Stevens’ politically crafty reply to Wood’s and his colleague George Pendelton’s insistent questioning whether he endorsed social equality for African-Americans:  I don’t hold equality in all things, just equality before the law, nothing more”.   Viewing the movie twice I wished to be sure of Stevens reply.  Who were these debate protagonists and  what was their stance on the race question? Both Wood and Stevens were important personages with whom I became familiar in graduate school.

Fernando Wood was leader of the New York Tamanny Hall Democratic political machine, erstwhile mayor of New York, member of Congress 1863-1865.  As mayor he supported the Confederacy and suggested New York secede from the Union to continue the profitable cotton in place to maintain  revenues needed for patronage. The war was viewed as War of Northern Aggression and he considered national union with slavery as essential. The political cost, in Wood’s view,  of having New York citizens fight for a war to end slavery as too costly. During the Civil War he proved to be an obstructive political problem for Lincoln.  George Pendelton , Wood’s colleague,  an enraged lame duck Ohio antiwar Democrat from Ohio joined the fray. He had been nominated for vice-president in the election of 1864 as a peace Democrat running with war Democrat George McClellan

Thaddeus Stevens, congressman from Pennsylvania, was a key leader of the Radical Republican faction, himself a radical abolitionist, and a consistent opponent of slavery. Two decades prior to the Civil War he fought against what was seen as the Southern Slave Power blocking the progress of liberty.  The “abolition of slavery became his primary political and personal focus”. (Wikipedia) He actively had supported the Underground Railroad aiding runaway slaves to safety in Canada. Stephens advocated total war and was opposed to restoring the Union with slavery preserved. Emancipation of the slaves as war aim was essential to weaken and destroy the Southern slavery economy and, thus, undermine the rebellion.  Steven’s shared leadership in the passage of the 13th Amendment that assured outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude. Later as the Radical Republican leader during the Period of Reconstruction he fought for securing justice for the Freedmen. Stevens was instrumental in drafting prior to his death 1868 both the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing rights of citizenship for the Freedmen and also the Reconstruction Act of 1867. He was buried in an integrated cemetery.

Protagonist’s Debate Rhetoric

Fernando Wood:  “Estimable colleagues. Two bloody years ago this month,  his Highness, King Abraham Africanus the First – our  Great Usurping Caesar, violator of habeas corpus and freedom of the press, abuser of states’ rights – (brief interlude)  Radical republican autocrat ruling by fiat and martial law affixed his name to his heinous and illicit Emancipation Proclamation . . . He claimed as tyrants do, that the war’s emergencies permitted him to turn our army into the unwilling instrument of his monarchical ambitions and radical Republicanisms abolitionist fanaticism!  His Emancipation Proclamation has obliterated millions of dollars worth of personal property rights and ‘liberated’ the hundreds of thousands of hopelessly indolent Negro refugees, bred by nature for servility, to settle in squalor in our Northern cities! But all that is not enough for this dictator, who now seeks to insinuate his miscegenist pollution into the Constitution itself!” (after a brief interlude)  George Pendelton interjected addressing Thaddeus Stevens: “what is natural, in your opinion? Nigghas casting ballots? Niggrah representatives? Is that natural, Stevens? Intermarriage?” Thaddeus Stevens replied to the racist rhetoric of Wood and Pendelton with simple and savvy political reply:  “I don’t hold equality in all things, just equality before the law, Nothing More.”  (cfr. tumblr.)

The racist view of Wood and Pendelton is blatantly proclaimed in their political rhetoric, namely, “abolitionist fanaticism, heinous and illicit Emancipation Proclamation, hopelessly indolent Negro refugees, bred by nature for servility, miscegenist pollution,  and intermarriage”,  finally,  political and social rights contrary to nature. Had Thaddeus Stevens responded with  radical abolitionist racial views in their fulness advancing Negro political ,social, and racial equality that would have placed passage of the 13th Amendment in peril. It should be kept in mind that most whites north or south had the view that Negroes slave or free were racially inferior and without merit as to social or political equality with whites.  Enough to simply state:  just equality before the law, nothing more.

Interpretive observations – see Spielberg gets Lincoln Wrong by Kelly Cabdele, LA Review of books.  Spielberg’s movie epic Lincoln  has generated debate among historians and journalists.  Despite Lincoln’s great accomplishment there is considerable debate as to historical accuracy and limited context of the film. Especially notable is the virtual inviisibility of the blacks as having a fundamental role in their own liberation. “Despite Lincoln’s great accomplishment historians overturned long ago a Lincoln- centered view of emancipation. The destruction was a process by which slavery collapsed under the pressure of federal arms and the slaves’ determination to place their own liberty on the wartime agenda . . . how slaves accomplished their own libertion and shaped the destiny of the nation”.


January 12, 2013

As a memorial to the late President Kennedy President Lyndon Johnson with Dr. King at his side signed the Civil Rights Act of July 2, 1964 with bipartisan support.  This far-reaching civil rights measure  banned discrimination in public accommodations, guaranteed voter registration and voting rights, provided for governmental intervention to support school integration, and a ban on job discrimination by race, religion, national origin, or sex. Early in 1965 King announced a drive to enroll 3 million blacks in the South who had not registered to vote. Black citizens of Selma, Alabama experienced discrimination and intimidation when registering to vote. A march from Selma to Montgomery was planned to ask Governor Wallace to protect the black registrants was rejected. Marhers were attacked by state and local police with billy clubs, tear gas, and bull whips at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday March 7th. Watching the bloody pictures the nation roused itself for the Civil Rights  Movement. I remembered that bridge  having crossed it several times. A federal judge upheld the right of the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Council) to petition for redress of grievance. The state could not block marches. Arriving in Montgomery on a subsequent march King was not allowed to speak from the top of the capitol steps. Jefferson Davis stood there when taking the oath as president of the Confederate States. A gold star marks the spot. I remember standing on that very spot. King gave his speech from a temporary platform below the steps. Five months later President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. (See FRED’S STORY, pp.6-7, web cite’s front page )

Emancipation Proclamation Sesquicentennial – Discussion in the Man Cave

January 3, 2013

New Year Eve Day a StarTribune op-ed was titled: WHEN THE WATCHWORD WAS FREEDOM.   Wallace Alcorn observes: “One hundred and fifty years ago this evening, on New Year’s Eve 1862, thousands of black people across the South Carolina sea islands surrounding Port Royal Sound gathered in their small churches for another Watch Night Service  . . .  Although they understood  they had received spiritual freedom, they remained slaves – at the stroke of midnight, they would become free men and women.”  Alcorn explains: “Here at Port Royal 150 years ago, these slaves were freed by the Proclamation, because it pertained to Union held territory within the Confederate States, and the Union Army was occupying the area.”  Enforcement of the Proclamation and freeing of all slaves waited one and a half years for the ending of the war and enactment of the 13th Amendment.

New Year’s Day mid-morning the Becketwood Man Cave habitual visitors met with Happy New Year greetings and then on to discussion. Dominating the conversation was the previous day’s op-ed:  WHEN THE WATCHWORD WAS FREEDOM. Continue reading “Emancipation Proclamation Sesquicentennial – Discussion in the Man Cave”

Granddaughter Lucia – a voice for HOPE

December 9, 2012

The Sheltering Arms Orphanage sponsored by the Episcopal Church stood where the Becketwood Cooperative is situated. On the orphanage campus a small chapel still stands with a 1922 dedication cornerstone. Restored by Becketwood Cooperative it serves as place for Wednesday vesper worship. Members of various religious persuasion are welcome to conduct the service. Vespers last week was  conducted by a fellow Becketwood retired navy chaplain.  His Advent theme was a discourse on HOPE. This suggested posting for Advent Season using a six year old granddaughter, Lucia’s, use of the word HOPE. A note I sent to the homilist, a good Becketwood Mancave friend follows. It underscores the Advent theme of HOPE.Continue reading “Granddaughter Lucia – a voice for HOPE”

“Amazing Grace” – “great deliverance”

December 4, 2012

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound . . .”.  The author of those familiar words was John Newton born in London in 1725.  After serving on a ship involved in the slave trade he eventually became the captain of his own ship also involved in the slave trade. During a violent storm at sea (May 10, 748) he came to experience  what he later called his “great deliverance”.  God was addressing him, he later obsereved, through that storm and it was then that grace began to work on him. Later he became a minister and wrote the  words to the verse “Amazing Grace” probably between 1760 and 1770. The origin of the melody is not known but it is speculated (Bill Moyers special on “Amazing Grace) it began as a tune of a song the slaves sang. What is also interesting is Newton’s influence on William Wilberforce, the leader of the movement to abolish slavery in the British Empire. The hymn “Amazing Grace”  has always had a large place in the African-American community. For myself the hymn has always spoken importantly as underscoring not only the importance of spiritual freedom but also freedom from physical bondage.

Marian Anderson, the great African American contralto, singing “Amazing Grace” has symbolized for me a keynote in American history.  She sang, in my view, not only for spiritual freedom but also for remembering  the struggle for  freedom from the bondage of slavery.  She evoked for me the ongoing quest for justice in American society. Born in 1897 she rose to fame as a globally recognized soloist, especially in Europe. Returning to America she was turned down by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) when she sought to perform at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.  Eleanor Roosevely resigned in protest from the DAR and took a strong stand for  civil rights. Through her influence with the Secretary of the Interior the steps of the Lincoln Memorial were made available. Marian Anderson sang there on Easter Sunday in 1939 to an audience of 75, 000 people. “Amazing Grace” was one of her signature songs. This is the same location where 2000, 000 people gathered on August 28, 1963 to hear Martin Luther King deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech.  “Amazing Grace”, the Lincoln Memorial, Marian anderson, and Martin Luther King  – symbols for the struggle for freedom and justice in American history and life in the present..

“Godly Gossip” / “Bountiful Feet Announcing Good News”

November 18, 2012

The 1953 graduating class of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis numbered 102 graduates. That class of which I was a member will observe shortly 60 years of ministry. Over the course of the past fifteen years  Rev. Dr. Arlo Nau has kept classmates in touch by occasionally sending news of classmates headlined: Godly Gossip. Of the original 102 graduates 57 are still living. Members of the class came from the various Concordia colleges. Concordia College, Milwaukee sent  21 of us to Concordia Seminary in the fall of 1948.  Of that number 12  of the original number celebrate with their nine living classmates but “on another shore and in a greater light”.

As a postscript to Godly Gossip classmate Arlo has requested remaining classmates submit a brief piece describing an experience in ministry that resonates personally.  He plans to gather what classmates submit in booklet form.  I offered the following:

“Recently a celebratory event (10/17/2012) served as capstone for my teaching ministry. First some background as preparation for that event. The Fred and Ruth Bartling Scholarship was established by Concordia Academy students at their fiftieth class reunion two years ago to honor my role as their teacher. One year ago FREDSTOCK (10/28/2011) was an event celebrating five decades of teaching ministry at Concordia University, St. Paul. The Fredstock theme reflected my emphasis when lecturing often stressing freedom, justice, liberty, and equality both as idea and reality in American history. The Fredstock theme also reflected my earlier Sixties and Seventies years teaching at Concordia when I sported long hair and sideburns, wearing a collection of necklaces, and a purse strapped to my shoulder. Teaching emphasis was a response to experiences of ministry in the Jim Crow South in the late Fifties and early Sixties and subsequently when engaged in graduate studies in American history. The Fredstock event marked the major effort to fund the $50,000 endowment scholarship in my wife’s and my name. Scholarships are awarded to history/social science majors. This fall the scholarship reached $32,000 and became a funded endowment making possible the first scholarship award. The second annual Bartling Lecture Convocation (10/17/2012) was the opportunity to present the first Bartling Scholar. The Scholar is a senior majoring in history (my teaching discipline) and plans to go to seminary to become a clergyman. He visions himself serving the church in whatever way the Lord leads him. Indeed, fitting capstone for my teaching ministry.”

My ordination took place at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church in Richmond Heights, Missouri on July 26, 1953 with my father officiating. He presented me The Pastor’s Companion, a small companion of orders of service, psalms and prayers.  He inscribed:

To    Frederick A. Bartling

Your ordination day,

8th Sunday after Trinity

July 26, 1953

From      Victor Bartling

(Romans 15, 29)

Upon the occasion of observing my fiftieth year of ordination Dr. Robert Holst of  Concordia University, St. Paul  wrote,  May 15, 2003:

“Fifty years of service to the church is a commendable achievement. You have served the church with your wisdom, your theology, your care for students and their learning, and your global awareness. We at Concordia are glad that a portion of your career was spent on this campus.”

Presented on that occasion in calligraphy lettering:

how bountiful are the feet of those who announce Good News  How can they believe unless they have heard of Him? How can they hear unless there is someone to preach? How can they preach unless they are sent?  Romans 10: 14-15

Email to Siblings, 10/5/2004: Fritz Re- Evangelical Right and the Election/ Reaction 11/7/2012

November 7, 2012

Some years ago I saved emails considered important or interesting.  Recently curiosity led me to open a number of saved email discs. Among them I opened the disc with the email sent to my siblings the day after George George W. Bush’  rather narrow reelection in opposition to John Kerry on November 4, 2004. With sad nostalgia  I observe four of my five siblings have no further need to vote as they are safely “on another shore and in a greater light”.  But their brother still has vital interest in matters political and the anxiety, yea –  even angst, associated with Presidential election results.

“A daily morning ritual of mine is to bring up the New York Times and Washington Post and read the op-ed and editorials. Regarding Bush’s election I have made my peace with that as one must. But a mandate as Cheney states and the President Elect seem to hold is not accurate. In any case the emergence of the Christian Evangelical Right as a key to his election is most unsettling.  Attached are yesterday’s NYT op-eds that address this. If inclined “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest”. Feels to me like the McCarthy Era revisited. – the same underlying fears. Remember, as well,  Agnew and Nixon and the Moral Majority business. (the op-ed that contrasts faith with fact is not in opposition to faith but when faith trumps fact in the secular you are treading on dangerous ground). Note – I support the President Elect as long as his leadership allows, i.e. BRING US TOGETHER with true “Passionate Conservatism”.  Ist dass moeglich – hoffentlich. (German – “Is that possible – hopefully”). So now off to the golf course on a nice mid-forties sunny day. As Martin Pfotenhauer always stated at the California Frey reunion – ALLES GUTES (everything well, or best wishes). Fritz”

(11-04-04 NYTimes_com Article_Op-Ed Columnist_Two Nations Under God.eml; 11-04-05 NYTimes_com Article_Op-Ed Contributor_The Day the Enlightenment Went Out.eml)

My political stance moderately left of center finds my “anxiety, yea, even angst” allayed this morning.  What I stated in my email 10/5/2004 the morning after the reelection of President Bush, namely, “the emergence of the Christian Evangelical Right as a key to his election is most unsettling “, seems particularly relevant this morning.  One headline has it: “MSN ‘opinion:  Romney couldn’t separate himself from the GOP extremists'”.  Another op.ed. makes analysis of Romney’s electoral loss: “A former Massachusetts governor with a moderate record, Romney concluded he had to woo the evangelical voters and anti-tax  Tea Party activists with hard-line positions on immigration, taxes, and abortion.”  My Email to Siblings, 10/5/2004 stating: “”when faith trumps fact in the secular you are treading on dangerous ground”  is born out , not only theologically, but politically as well.

With a divided electorate right-left the political extremes hopefully will moderate moving more to the center replacing gridlock with cooperation.  This is the stance David Brooks, the moderate conservative  NY Times op. ed. commentator,  advocated during the GOP primary campaign. Much impressed with his balanced approach I recorded an outline of his argument. His op.ed was titled:  A NEW SOCIAL AGENDA.  Brook’s rejected what he called “Manichaean political rhetoric” resulting from the cultural wars fought between “God-fearing conservatives and narcissistic liberals”.  The culture war rhetorical language is, in his view,  absurd.  Brooks advocates a “moral materialism” that blends social values with economic ambition.  “It takes a family” and social relationships and  not just naked individualism for  a successful society. Radical individualism should be opposed, Brooks suggests,  with the reconstruction of values joining together capital with economic, social, moral, cultural, and intellectual values. In order to build “healthy communities”, Brook concludes, there still is a role for Washington’s governmental role but always at  a moderate level.

Why We Love To Hate Politicians

November 5, 2012

Four days prior to the General Election Dr. Charles (Chuck)  Graham presented a lecture: Why We Love To Hate Politician.  His audience was his fellow Becketwood Cooperative members. Known as Chuck here at Becketwood he is beloved and respected and a  stimulating contributor to Mancave discussion.  With a doctorate in political science he served as an aid to Senator Proxmire of Wisconsin in Washington, served as  professor,  and is President Emeritus of St. Cloud and Hamline Universities.  I took notes of his lecture much as I did as an undergraduate and graduate student.  Because of interest and relevance to the current political scene I share my notes. I  realize consideration of the subjectivity of what I recorded is to be taken into account.  But I attempted to be faithful in recording what I heard.

Why do politicians behave as they do?  Why the often negative view of politicians? As Mark Twain put it politicians are “Like diapers need changing and for the same reasons.”  Running down politicians is sport for many. Politicians have to please their constituents but this is a very difficult thing to do. Politicians have to speak in generalities to avoid offending. Only recourse is to dodge  matters and hedge their statements. Campaign rhetoric can be a hazard and backfire. Recall Romney’s recent attack on Sesame Street’s Big Bird, or his undercutting FEMA prior to Sandy and his need in recent days to support FEMA.  Politicians have to tread a fine line having to be politically realistic and also champion the personal mandate of ideological principle. Recall President George H.W. Bush campaign rhetoric “Read my lips – No new Taxes.”  The realistic necessity of “new taxes” may very well be the cause of his one term presidency. Life is, therefore, very difficult for the politician due to the very complexity of the voter constituencies in terms of religion and ethnicity. Nineteenth century American political landscape, on the other hand,  was rather uniform – rural, agricultural, Protestant, and white. A much more welcoming context for the politician.

Europe has a multiparty political system. Each political area has proportionate representation.  Our system  having one party candidates makes it necessary to seek allies inside the party. This leads to contention. We think  in terms of groups and not as individuals. This necessitates building coalitions. Consider the New Deal coalition of FDR  joining Southern conservatives with Northern business interests.  The parties are after the same constituents. Sharp opinions are expressed often with vitriolic language.  This results in the need for negativity in the give-and-take of American democratic politics.  Negativity is further increased in our contemporary political system influenced by TV political advertising. There is a need for political compromise but gridlock  seems inevitable. Politicians need to make deals and compromise. Politicians must determine for principle (their mandate) or compromise. Which shall it be?  Added to this is the need for campaign funding. “Deep Pockets” become involved but those interests are not for all and may represent political extremes. It is hard to have democracy function well with extreme divisive issues such as abortion or gay marriage.

Dr. Graham suggested that actually Romney and Obama  are really rather close  in viewpoint (  observe how in view of Hurricane Sandy Romney now embraces a role for FEMA).  Once in office in either case the parties can come together in political compromise.