Skip to content


Politician’s ‘Free’ Costs Somebody Money

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you had a great Independence Day.  It seems that this bi-weekly column is always after the fact instead of before the fact–holidays-wise.  Therefore this will be the column I would have liked to write last week but the meaning will be just as heartfelt.  
Since I can remember, I have always been proud to be an American and as far as I am concerned, it is still the best there is in spite of a regime that seems intent on tearing down all our traditional values.  If the current bunch in Washington had been around in 1776 we’d probably still be an English colony—or worse.
Our founding fathers had character, and with that personal courage, two things most politicians today lack because they are  more concerned about the next election.  I don’t think it was ever intended for politics to be a lifetime career – rather they would serve a term or two and go home and give someone else a chance.
 On election years prior to radio and television,  office seekers would visit key places and climb into the back of  a farm wagon and address the voters.  
This is where the term “wagon bed” oratory originated.  It was said  in those pre-PA system days that James K. Vardeman or Theo Bilbo could bellow out at a crowd and be heard a mile away.  They also would mingle with the crowd,  eat fried chicken and act like one of the people.  
There is one thing that we Americans don’t like and that is a sore loser.  Our attitude is this: accept the will of the people, lick your wounds, and come back to fight another day. I can already hear someone asking, Cooper, what has that got to do with Water Valley?”  
Bear with me by now you should know I ramble around and eventually put it all together.  The first election year I remember was 1939 when Paul Johnson, Sr. was running for Governor, promising that he would pass a law to give free school books for the children of Mississippi.  
He had a brief illness and Paul, Jr. stood on the bandstand that is still here and gave his father’s speech. His son later became governor in his own right.  Johnson, Sr. was sworn-in in 1940 and, believe it or not, he kept his campaign promise and that fall I had free school books. Before Mother would always go to Mr. W. A. Nolen’s store and look for used books.  
Mr. Nolen would buy used books and resell them as everyone had to stretch their money as far as possible. Kids would write their names in books and I told Mr. Earl Fly once that one year I had gotten books once belonging to his daughter, Barbara.  
Of course we were forbidden to write our names in the free books as we had to turn them back in. Our parents were fined if they were abused. Needless to say, they watched us with an eagle eye. We didn’t realize then that the books really weren’t free, as our parents paid for them with increased taxes, but we’ll discuss that at another time.  
Again be thankful that we are Americans and regardless of the gloom and doom you hear, a  sleeping giant which is an aroused citizenry  is awakening and we will take our country back.  Again, take pride in being an American  and remember your input is always welcome and is used whenever possible.  My email address is or you can write me at the Herald.
Have a great week.

Leave a Comment