I lived in Rogers County, Oklahoma, for 16 years.
No, the county is not named for Will Rogers. It is named for his daddy, Clem (Clement) Rogers who was a rancher, banker and hotel proprietor while Will was growing up on their ranch near Oologah, about 12 miles north of Claremore, the county seat of RogersCounty.
This coming weekend, from November 1-3, all of RogersCounty will celebrate Will’s birth date, November 4, with Will Rogers Days, full of good country music, great food, a parade and a rodeo. The Will Rogers Library and Museum is located on a hill at the northern end of Will Rogers Boulevard, one of Claremore’s main streets, and the grounds contain the burial places for Mr. and Mrs. Rogers as well as one of their sons who died in his childhood.
Will Rogers was born in 1879 and died in 1935 in a light plane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska. He and his down-home humor spoke to the people of this country. My dad, who was reared in Pennsylvania, told me that his household went into mourning when the news of Will’s death reached them. How could a country boy from Oklahoma have such an impact all across this nation? Even though some of his humor was biting and he called ’em like he saw ’em, it was never bitter and his humor was clean. Will was a vaudeville performer, a newspaper columnist, a Broadway performer, and he made 69 movies, both silent ones and talkies. The closest we have come to Will Rogers in my lifetime was Bob Hope, but even Hope didn’t cover all of the areas that Will Rogers did.
Some of my favorite political quotes from Will Rogers are just as true today as they were in the 1920s and ’30s. I want to share some of them with you. Think of what’s going on in WashingtonD.C. today as you read these.
- I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat. (Today, substitute Republican for Democrat.)
- Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what’s going to happen to us with both a Senate and a House?
- Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.
- On account of being a democracy and run by people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does.
- Our constitution protects aliens, drunks, and U.S. Senators.
- That’s the trouble with a politician’s life–somebody is always interrupting it with an election.
- There ought to be one day–just one–when there is open season on Senators.
- There’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.
- There’s one thing no nation can ever accuse us of and that is secret diplomacy. Our foreign affairs are an open book, generally a check book.
- This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when a baby gets hold of a hammer.
- The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that’s out of power always looks the best.
- A fool and his money are soon elected.
- A Senator got up today in Congress and called his fellow Senators “sons of wild jackasses.” If you think the Senators were hot, imagine how the jackasses felt.
Happy Birthday, Will Rogers. We sure could use you today. RIP
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