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E.R. McKinney

Every Boy Can Be President and Every
President’s Daughter Can Be a Success

(31 March 1947)

From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 13, 31 March 1947, p. 7.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

I know virtually nothing about music. In fact I don’t know one note from another. I don’t know what music critics are talking about when they use such terms as “breathing,” what they are talking about when they use such terms as “breathing,” “attack,” “register,” and the other stock terms of musical criticism.

I don’t need to know any of these things to have an opinion about the singing voice of Miss Margaret Truman, “of Washington.” Miss Truman is the daughter of Harry Truman, of Missouri, and President of the United States. His being President of the U.S. is important in connection with the appearance of Miss Truman, on last Sunday night, with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Because if her father had not been President of the U.S., Miss Truman would not have been on that program in Detroit last Sunday with the support of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

How to Get Ahead

If this young woman’s father had been just plain Harry Truman, bricklayer, Sam Anderson, janitor, or a small shopkeeper, she would have made her appearance as soloist with some small town Methodist or Baptist church choir. If you listened to Miss Truman, this is the only conclusion you can come to. She got this opportunity solely because she is the daughter of a President.

If the persons who sponsored her for this program believe that she is of sufficient stature for such an appearance, then these music critics have been fooling us all these many years. They have made us believe that good singing is something entirely different from what we heard from Miss Truman. They have made us believe that one must be really good to get the opportunity to sing with a leading symphony orchestra.

We know now that this is not true. What is necessary is that you get born in a family where the head of the house will be President some day. Being a millionaire’s daughter will not suffice for this kind of opportunity. If you are a mere millionaire’s daughter, you might have to learn to sing and have a good voice. Your father might have to hire the orchestra and the hall if you really can’t sing. But being a President’s daughter it is a little different.

No Vulgar Ordeal

There must be thousands of young women with good voices and excellent training in the numerous music schools who would like the opportunity to sing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, while 15,000,000 listen at their radios. But they can’t do it this way. They must compete with each other at auditions and various other competitive devices. They are told that this is the “democratic way.” There must be no “favoritism,” in a “democracy.”

But if you are a President’s daughter, you don’t have to submit to any vulgar competitive ordeal. It’s all arranged for you. But, since “every boy (and girl now) has a chance to become President,” then of course the musical daughters of all the boys and girls today will have the opportunity some day to sing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

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Last updated: 5 January 2022