Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Where Have Real Men Gone?

I'm currently reading When Trumpets Call by Patricia O'Toole. It's about Teddy Roosevelt's years after his presidency. Essentially, O'Toole filled the void left by Edmund Morris, who has yet to finish the last of his three volume biography on Roosevelt. While O'Toole is a gifted writer, Edmund's last volume -- which he is writing now -- will undoubtedly prove superior.

In any case, the When Trumpets Call's recounting of John Schrank's failed attempt to assassinate Roosevelt during the 1912 presidential campaign makes you long for real men in political office. Schrank was seven feet away when he shot Roosevelt in the chest. The bullet, slowed by a metal eyeglass case and a copy of his speech, lodged in Roosevelt's ribs. After the shot, Roosevelt felt his mouth, determined the bullet had not perforated his lung, and dispatched the idea of missing his speech and receiving medical care with these words: "You get me to that speech, . . . it may be the last one I shall ever deliver, but I am going to deliver this one."

During his ensuing eighty minute speech, he informed the crowd what had happened: "I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it take more than that to kill a Bull Moose." For effect, Roosevelt showed onlookers the bullet holes in his speech and pull back his vest, exposing his blood-stained shirt.

On the train ride to Chicago for treatment, he changed his shirt, shaved, and slept.

Too bad men (or women for that matter) like this no longer run for public office. Our nation would be better if they did.


Anonymous said...

AMEN!!! The national news media would be terrified of such a person and do their best to destroy him. Thanks for sharing.

tiff said...

Wow. I've never heard that story. It's amazing. It's not just politicians either. I think everyone in general tends to be more weak-minded and weak-willed than those who came before us.

Gretchen said...

I remember discussing that in history class....he was freakin' shot and he was still rarin to go!! I love Roosevelt.