Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy birthday, Herbert Hoover

Finally, a piece which lauds this man for his forgotten humanitarian achievements. As an international humanitarian first and a failed president second, Hoover was Jimmy Carter in reverse. Hoover also had a big hand in famine relief in Russia and Armenia in the 1920s; we are living through the 90th anniversary years of it. American citizens across the country volunteered by the hundreds to organize donation drives. A book published in 1930 about these efforts still makes the breast swell with pride at being a citizen of such a generous nation. (One section describes how the Armenians weren't just dumped into a camp with tents and sacks of food, as nowadays. They were given work to do, the remoralizing effects of which still went without mentioning back then.) When the American Relief Administration expanded into Kiev, the local wits said that ARA stood for "Amerike Ratevet Aleman", meaning "America Rescues Everyone."