Truman’s Choice

“My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference. I, for one, believe the piano player job to be much more honorable than current politicians.” —Harry S. Truman

“Mother, incidentally, was not amused by that picture,” said Margaret Truman Daniel, the president’s daughter, years later.

Truman (the 33rd President of the U.S.) was known to be both outspoken and respectful of his office. After his two terms ended he was offered corporate jobs at high salaries. “You don’t want me” was his response. “You want the office of the president, and that doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it’s not for sale.”

Another Truman quote: “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” —Harry S. Truman

Photo: Then-Vice-President Harry S. Truman plays piano for an appreciative actress Lauren Bacall at the National Press Club canteen in Washington, D.C., where they were entertaining WWII servicemen on February 10, 1945.

Just two months later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died, sweeping Truman into office. Interestingly, there was not a Constitutional provision for naming anyone to fill a vacant vice presidential position, so he did not have a vice president for his first term, nearly four years. That wasn’t fixed until the 25th Amendment was ratified in 1967.


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Randy Cassingham is best known as the creator of This is True, the oldest entertainment feature on the Internet: it has been running weekly by email subscription since early 1994. It is social commentary using weird news as its vehicle so it’s fun to read. Click here for a subscribe form — basic subscriptions are free.

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