I have been keeping company with a man that first captured my attention while reading the book, Citizens of London by Lynne Olson. (I’m reading it again.) His name was John Gilbert Winant and among many things, he was United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom after Joseph Kennedy went home. He served Roosevelt and Truman. He was a Republican governor and chair of the Social Security Board. This is only a part of his story, but it helps to place him in a setting.
I have pursued Winant with further reading. He must have been a remarkable man. All these years later, he is certainly relevant again to me, and I’m sure to others who met him for the first time, as I did, when reading, Citizens. If you are of a certain age, you are familiar with the cast of characters that surrounded his life; the world they influenced became our world. The likes of Roosevelt, Churchill, A. Harriman, and fascinating others. He spent decades focused on social justice and the creation of a better life for workman and women throughout the world.
With thirteen days left until the election, we turn to Winant. After all the rhetoric and social media videos, and declarations of intentions, speeches, appearances, walking the street, politics at its worst and best, we hope those elected rise to the occasion and become the best they can be. Choosing the right canidate has centered on the issues of jobs, and housing, economic drivers, innovation and creativity. Besides looking for a plan and VISION, there is something we hope for that matters more.
The following is taken from a speech Winant made in Durham, England in 1942 to four hundred delegates, representing thousands of striking coal minors. Several hours after the speech, the delegates voted to go back to work.
“We must always remember,” he said, “that it is the things of the spirit that in the end prevail. That caring counts. That where there is no vision, people parish. That hope and faith count, and that without charity there can be nothing good. That by daring to live dangerously, we are learning to live generously. And that by believing in the inherent goodness of man, we may meet the call of your great Prime Minister and ‘stride forward into the unknown with growing confidence.”