Mother Power

The “club” of Sarah Vowell’s title is clarified in the subtitle of this article: “They’re the graduates of public universities, and they’ve stepped into the void of presidential leadership.”

President Lyndon Johnson was a graduate of Southwest Texas State College in San Marcos, now named Texas State University. He signed the Higher Education Act of 1965 there, landmark legislation which “provided colleges funds for teachers, equipment and libraries, and offered needy students Pell grants, loans and jobs in the work-study program.”

“This is a proud moment in my life,” Mr. Johnson said that day. “I am proud to have a part in the beginning that this bill provides, because here a great deal began for me some 38 years ago on this campus… I worked at a dozen different jobs, from sweeping the floors to selling real silk socks. Sometimes I wondered what the next day would bring that could exceed the hardship of the day before. But with all of that, I was one of the lucky ones — and I knew it even then.” He urged the students and faculty before him, “You should carry the memory and the meaning of this moment with you throughout your life.”

(Sarah Vowell, “Joe Biden and the Great Leaders of 2020 Are Part of a Club,” NYTimes, 8-13-20)

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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