(Warning: The following contains my observations on current events, which I promised myself I wouldn’t do any more. I used to do this for a living, and with some level of success. It also left me a miserable, broken mess. I promise not to make it a habit. It’s also a bit long, another habit I’m trying to break. Hate the sin, love the sinner y’all.)
Its easy to get romantic about the past, especially when the subject is the state of Life in America. When reminiscing, we have a tendency to remember the good better than the bad. We long for “The Good Old Days when America was strong and free,” etc. However, politics, corruption and persecution have always fit together much like Larry, Moe and Curley. Every war has its profiteers. Every era has its staggering public corruption. Every generation has a new group of immigrants to look down on and blame for our ills. The goodness of the “Good Old Days” was certainly relative to which end of the rope you were holding. Or hanging from.
However, I know there was a time when there were leaders with genuine respect for The Common Good. It was the constitutionally ideal notion that even though people disagreed and were corrupt or disgusting, when the going got tough every faction could come together to make decisions with The Common Good in mind (“Promote the general welfare”). During WWII, even the Boss of Bosses of the New York Mob Lucky Luciano volunteered to keep the mob-controlled waterfront in New York open for shipping and closed to Nazi sabotage because while he may have been a criminal, he was a loyal AMERICAN criminal.
I believe there are still individuals who are genuine in their support of The Common Good , but some days you have to look pretty hard to find them. For the first time in my 56 years an election looms and I feel genuine fear for the future of the country. I mean really…which of our leading people and institutions can be counted on to at least try to pull our collective fannies out of the fire today?
Donald Trump? America’s Favorite Bully Con Man? In Mr Trump’s world, all that matters is Mr. Trump. Every sentence starts with “I”. He’s used his amazing deftness with self-promotion and people’s short memories countless times to run away from his failures if it served his purposes. He’s left countless innocent people holding the bag, and before he’s done we might end up a nation of grocery packers. Trump supporters need to know that if he wins, and it serves his purposes, he won’t hesitate a second to throw you all under the Trump Bus (which burns Trump Gas and has Trump-o-matic transmission). And now the real possibility exists that he’s in cahoots with Putin, or wishes he was in cahoots, or wishes he had the dictatorial power of Putin so he could be in cahoots with somebody powerful. Cahooting with a foreign power, let alone the Ruskies, just to win an election? I wonder how that’s going down with Republican conservatives both living and dead?
Hillary Clinton? To my great surprise and begrudging admiration she put politics aside and made a remarkable turnaround as Secretary of State. She took the job seriously, worked her butt off in a time of worldwide chaos and terrorism and did not grandstand when she succeeded. She looked authentic and (god help me) Presidential. Now she speaks with all the authenticity of those Air Jordans you bought for $10 from the guy selling Chiclets on the street in Tijuana. Writing thousands of emails on non-secure email accounts was careless and dumb. Being evasive about any number of other scenarios rather than coming clean, admitting mistakes and moving on is dumber (see R. Nixon, 1972). Anyone running against Mr. Trump should be mopping the floor with him. Hill’s campaign seems determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Note: Championing “The Common Good” is hard if you don’t first win the election.
Media? When I started in radio I looked at it as a sort of calling (and a way to meet girls). It was the best way I could to use my talents and skills to make my contribution to the community. Today? Before he was a lecherous sexual predator, the now resigned mastermind behind Fox News Roger Ailes demonstrated how you could totally abdicate public responsibility and the principles of fairness and balance, label propaganda as“The Truth”, yell at and demonize anyone who thinks differently, CALL it “fair and balanced” and make A LOT OF MONEY. Soon many followed suit. The liberals abdicated responsibility and TRIED playing the game from the other side, but mistakenly thought it was about changing minds rather than making money. They, of course, failed, and in the end sacrificed journalism for, well, nothing. Now we have entire generations of politicians, “journalists” and audiences for whom “The News” is nothing more than a loud mosh pit in search of ratings.
Don’t get me wrong. I want a change from “business and usual” just as much as anyone. I’m just fearful that in a time when we all need to hang together more than ever ,we’ll all hang separately. But those hangings will be televised, and the ratings will be GREAT!!!