Angel statue in Nashville, Tennessee

Warren G Harding – Normalcy


“The second woe is past; and, behold the third woe cometh quickly.” Revelation 11:14 KJV

The male species is often portrayed in comedies, and in some dramas, as being the master of the art of sticking their foot in their mouths. Recognizing this, some males will keep their conversations to a minimum. Very often the male species is also ridiculed for not sharing their feelings. Maybe, one day, someone will notice a connection between those two items.

One of the greatest features of writing is the ability to type something out and if it doesn’t sound right, being able to take the words back and exchange them for better words. With some of my blogs I have made corrections 15-30 times before I publish them. Still, when I complete it, I have my wife review it and she will see more corrections for me to make. The ones that slip by her, my mother-in-law then helps me to correct.

I am so very thankful to both my wife and my mother-in-law for all their help. Little do they realize, but they have helped take a little boy who use to hate English, and who had absolutely no confidence in anything pertaining to English, and turned him into a man who loves to write. Some may hate correction, but I love that they take their time, and effort, to help me be a better writer.

I once heard that good writing is not the art of writing great stuff, rather, it is the perseverance to keep rewriting and correcting what you have written over and over again. Much like any talent, writing requires exercise (you have to keep those fingers moving), patience, and a strong desire to let others help you get better at your craft.

Talking is a totally different ball game. You can’t take your words back once you say them. People can easily misunderstand what you are trying to say. Your intentions can be blocked by the choice of words you use. Sometimes people commit you to your choice of words like it is some type of verbal contract.

When you notice that your choice of words can be held against you it becomes difficult to have an honest conversation. Sometimes your words are released from your tongue in an act of teaching. You are trying real hard to figure things out and sometimes the battles in your brain need to actually hear the thoughts out loud. Where honest conversation flourishes, opinions change. Where anger, resentment, belittling, and casting eternal damnation upon the bearer of words exist, it is not long before lips shut or a person turns to ears that listen in a manner that encourages open discussion.

Society today seems to cast the role of listener in such a bad light and seems to promote the idea that it is only your ideas that should exist. Compromise and compassion for other people’s thoughts have become like those four-letter-words that used to get you sent to the corner of the room, when you were younger. We dig in our heels instead of opening our hearts. We allow no room for opposing views to be examined. We are right, I don’t care what you say.

Yes, words are magic. You can be amazed by their performance or you can be angered by what you perceive as their deception.

It looked like it was going to be a cake walk to the Presidency for Teddy Roosevelt. He had handed off the nation’s reigns to William Howard Taft, only to be disappointed in Taft’s performance. He was so upset with Taft that he decided to challenge Taft for the Republican nomination. When Taft outmaneuvered him for the nomination, TR decided to run under his own party, the Bull Moose Party, in the general election. With basically two Republicans, Taft and TR, running in the same general election, they basically handed the election to the Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.

Now Wilson, with his health failing and his two terms complete, wasn’t running again and it looked like it was the perfect opportunity for the Republicans to take charge again. It was almost like Teddy Roosevelt, and his progressive causes, could sense that it was their time to return to the White House. Then the most unlikely thing happened. Teddy Roosevelt died.

This left the Republican Party scrambling for a replacement. There was no shortage of star power in the Republican Party. It was like an all-star cast of present and future Republican stars that would take their shot at the nomination. The Republican names included: General Leonard Wood, Illinois Governor Frank Lowden, California Senator Hiram Johnson, General John J. Pershing, Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge, Engineer, turn relief manager, Herbert Hoover, and this Senator from Ohio.

General Leonard Wood was the former Military Governor of Cuba, the former Governor General of the Philippines, and he also had served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army. Wood hoped to end the candidacy of at least one of his fellow challengers, the Senator from Ohio, by defeating him in the Ohio primary.

Illinois Governor Frank Lowden was the son of a blacksmith. He had once served as a United States Representative from Illinois. A Senate investigation into campaign spending would show that some of the $600,000 Lowden would spend on the campaign ended up in the pockets of two of the convention delegates.

California Senator Hiram Johnson was a progressive politician with isolationist views. He had also served as Governor of California. He was also Teddy Roosevelt’s running mate when Roosevelt ran his losing Bull Moose (Progressive) Party Presidential campaign.

General John “Black Jack” Pershing was a popular war hero, and senior United States Army officer, from World War I. He was most famous as the commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) on the Western Front of that war.

Of course, both Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge would eventually obtain the Presidency in their own right, but this just wasn’t their year. In fact, neither of them did too well at the convention and they are more known as a side note to this contest.

That leaves our Ohio Senator. If you were to line up all the personalities in the running at the Republican Convention, his would probably be the one that stood out the least. He just wasn’t doing that well and his personality just wasn’t standing out.

The Ohio Senator got a new campaign manager named Harry Daugherty. Many credit Daugherty, and his strategies as the reason for the Ohio Senator’s ascension to the Presidency.

As the Ohio primary approached, I’m sure our Ohio Senator’s stomach was filled with butterflies. General Wood was determined to end the Ohio Senator’s hopes and he campaigned hard in Ohio. When the dust settled in Ohio, the Ohio Senator would win by a mere 15,000 votes, but that was enough to capture 39 of the 48 delegates to the Convention.

Next came the Indiana primary. When the Ohio Senator finished fourth, he was ready to throw in the towel. He was going to give up the Presidential campaign and ask his campaign manager to submit the paperwork to run for a reelection bid for his Ohio Senate seat. His wife would scold him for his lack of confidence and attitude. He would stay in the race.

The Ohio Senator would head to Boston and here he would deliver the speech that would define his campaign and eventually his Presidency. Here is part of that speech:

America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality.

There were two men, two great men. God would grant them amazing powers. With these powers they could turn aside and punish evil like it had never been done in the past. One word from their mouth and the oceans turned to blood or the rain stopped from falling from the sky. Another word from them could bring plagues to the earth or destructive fires.

The world would watch their reign of terror and hoped that they weren’t in their eyesight. After 1260 days, their reign of terror appeared to be over. The world waited to see what would happen next.

As the world stood still, a devil came and killed the two men. Although the men were dead, the world had no idea what to do. The two men’s bodies laid there on the ground for three and a half days. The whole world could see the display. The world was glad their terror was over and they celebrated their deaths.

Then after the three and a half days, the men came back to life. Yes, right there in front of the whole world they stood straight up and came back to life. Panic overcame the world’s celebration of their demise. Then they were lifted up to heaven as the whole world watched. The world did not know what to think.

Warren Harding’s campaign manager, Harry Daugherty, knew Harding couldn’t win the Republican nomination on the first ballot. He also realized that none of the Republican contenders had enough to claim the nomination on the first ballot. So Daugherty set out to make Harding an acceptable candidate, a compromise choice if you will, for almost all the delegates.

The plan worked. There were 493 votes needed for the nomination. After the first ballot, Wood was the closest at 314-1/2 and Lowden had 289-1/2 votes. Harding only had 65-1/2 votes on the first ballot. By the ninth ballot, delegate after delegate started turning Harding’s way. Lowden would release his delegates to Harding on the tenth ballot, which allowed Harding to claim the nomination. The delegates then voted to make Harding’s nomination unanimous.

Harding would pick Calvin Coolidge as his running mate. The New York World would claim Hardingweak and mediocre” and would continue that he was a man “… who never had an original idea.” The New York Times would describe him as “… a very respectable Ohio politician of the second class.”

Harding would conduct a front porch campaign, much like former President William McKinley successfully did. What a front porch campaign meant was that if someone wanted to hear him or one of his speeches, they would have to head to his home in Marion, Ohio. When people or groups arrived, he would come out and speak to them.

By staying at home, not talking unless people came to him, and basically saying we only needed to have things return to normal, Warren Harding was elected President of the United States. In fact, he was not only elected President of the United States, but he also received 60.3% of the popular vote.

As for his seemingly made up word, “normalcy,” some would claim that the word appeared in some dictionaries as far back as 1857. Many believe he meant to use the word normality. Detractors believed he meant to use the wordneologism” or “malapropism.” Harding would later comment on his choice of that word (normalcy) by saying:

I have noticed that word caused considerable news editors to change it to “normality.” I have looked for “normality” in my dictionary and I do not find it there. “Normalcy,” however, I did find, and it is a good word.

I’m probably not the best person to get your prophetic information from, but I did find the story of the two men, in Revelation, very interesting. Their words, and their acts, put the world on edge. It looks like their words and actions were from God and they were given just a little time on earth to do what God set them out to do.

Then it appears like the devil had defeated them. They are killed by the devil, and the world looks on the death of these men, men God sent, with great relief. They would rather have, and follow the devil’s words.

But God looks at things differently than we do. He lets the world think the devil’s words are wise and the devil’s ways are good to follow. The earth seems very pleased by the death of God’s words.’ Sometimes, when we think worldly ways are the real answer, God has news for us.

To the surprise of everyone, three and a half days after the two men’s deaths, they would rise up and come back to life. I’m sure the shocked crowd will be in stunned silence. God’s words will prevail.

Words are a very funny thing. Sometimes we pick the right ones to say and sometimes we regret letting some of them slip out. Sometimes we choose to hear the words: the way we want to hear them. Other times there is no gray area in their expulsion. Words can soothe our souls or put the angry, burning coals of anger in our hearts. Words, we can’t live with them and we can’t live without them.

But the words of God, and his people, should not be taken lightly. We may feel that happiness is the answer, but if that happiness resides outside of God’s words, the happiness will be short lived. God’s words are not made up words, they are a foundation of an everlasting life with him.

Prayer: Dear Mighty Father, Please be the gatekeeper of my lips. Let only those words You approve pass by my teeth. Let Your words be the words I live by. Amen.

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