60 years ago today - Jan 20, 1961

Ezra Taft Benson resigns as Secretary of Agriculture. "When Mr. Benson's term came to a close," his successor asserted in 1969, "the Department of Agriculture not only was disorganized—it was demoralized."

His biographers asserted:

The last four years of Eisenhower's term constituted a period of mixed concepts and muddled improvisations. Expectations for the Soil Bank did not fully materialize and by 1960 the [government] again possessed large amounts of food and fiber. Costs exceeded those of any other program (even those of the Truman years). . . . [A]gricultural policy soon degenerated into an incongruous combination of open production and continued price supports. . . . Although Benson was perceptive and courageous, he seemed overly motivated by doctrinaire principles at a time when hard-pressed farmers needed sympathetic help and encouragement. This sincere man, who truly loved the land and those who tilled it, never fully realized that his political rhetoric sounded too much like didactic sermons from Salt Lake City's Temple Square.

Possessing "fortress-like faith" and "superb expertise in his field," according to his biographers, Benson broke through the inertia of established tradition and entrenched attitudes to show the way toward agricultural reform. His very habits of not compromising and never giving up, made him valuable in the political arena where selling out is too often elevated into a fine art.

. . . Being the recipient of political assaults brings joy to no one but Benson took comfort in the knowledge that in the end he would be vindicated.

...[T]he annals of history may reward Eisenhower's Secretary of Agriculture far more than his contemporaries. This would be a fitting tribute to Ezra Taft Benson, the man who put the people's welfare above party politics.

[Schapsmeier and Schapsmeier, "Eisenhower and Ezra Taft Benson", 378.; Schapsmeier and Schapsmeier, Ezra Taft Benson and the Politics of Agriculture , 274, 275, 276.; Gary James Bergera, "Weak-Kneed Republicans and Socialist Democrats": Ezra Taft Benson as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 1953-61, Part 2, Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought, (Winter 2008, vol 41)]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please Enter your Comment: