There was a time in America when people voted quietly and kept their political persuasions to themselves. They lived by the adage to "never argue politics or religion," and I don't remember any of those arguments during my childhood.

I was 8 that evening after the November 1952 presidential election when two uncles stopped to visit Dad. They had beers and a shot or two of whiskey (the bars were closed on election Tuesday back then). They talked trucks, logging pulpwood, and the weather — but not a word about politics or who they voted for.

Well, shucks, I knew who they voted for, the Democratic candidates, of course. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was their idol from his leadership during the depression and World War II. The Democratic candidate, Adlai Stevenson, was a trusted career politician, and the GOP candidate, Gen. Ike Eisenhower, was a war hero and widely respected. Toward the last few weeks of campaigning, "I like Ike" signs were popping up all over, and everyone knew it would be a tight race.

The radio announced the next morning that Eisenhower won. For the first time in 20 years America would have a Republican in charge of the White House. The voters had opted for a warrior rather than a politico; they were, perhaps, tired of the bloody Korean conflict and felt we needed change. Dad never said a word, but I knew he was disappointed.

America is still a free democracy but, "Oh, all the mud and blood on the boots of our soldiers," as they paid dearly for our privileges.

We are still at war. America has many enemies, both global and within. Politics has become hyper-partisan, and civility no longer exists. How I long for those days when people were nicer to each other.

Dennis Cooke