1920 Meal Ticket Patriots of Oklahoma Politics
Have you ever heard of the "Meal Ticket Patriots" of the 1920's of Oklahoma Politics? Who were they and how did they influence Oklahoma politics? This article was found in the Durant Weekly News, dated 24 September 1920, page 11, Durant, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory (Oklahoma).
As the story was reported by Luther Harrison, under the headlines "Meal Ticket Patriots," ten years in Oklahoma politics and several campaigns in the State political headquarters had given Harrison a line on meal ticket patriots of Oklahoma.
It was not easy for Luther Harrison to get the names of all of those for their name was Legion, but in ten years' time the reporter had become acquainted with an entire battalion of public spirited citizens who will support any candidate or any ticket for a cash consideration. It may be said that a campaign was formally open when the meal ticket brigade began to knock at the door of political headquarters.
All of them had an exalted idea of their own importance. All of them could deliver the solid vote of a township, a county or a congressional district. If the organization is interested in a township, the meal ticket patriot is ready to convince you that the township in question is his pet stock in trade. If a congressional district was deemed doubtful, the meal ticket man was ready to carry that district horse, foot and dragoon.
The political gyrations of these meal ticket patriots furnishes the comedy of every political struggle. The case with which they reconcile their ability to deliver a thousand votes with their urgent need of a dollar and a quarter is more comic than anything that ever came from the pen of the world's greatest comedian.
The recommendations they gave themselves and the eulogies they pronounced on their own oratorical ability would be astounding if one didn't know the chief characteristic of the meal ticket men. And thus it was that campaigns came and went, issues were agitated but rarely settled, the great game of American politics was played to its frazzled close, but the meal ticket patriot, like a certain famous brooklet, went on forever. In the humid autumn days he was still going good and before the idea of November came you would have seen him in your own bailiwick preaching a gospel that placed money in his purse and a meal ticket in his pocket, and for that reason he was more than satisfied.
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