Too Good To Be True

The good folks of Utah go to the polls on Nov. 3 to elect a new governor.  The candidates are Democrat Chris Peterson and Republican Spencer Cox.  They are both 45-year old attorneys.  Cox is currently the Lt. Governor and the heavy favorite.  Peterson has never held office before.

But here is where this campaign totally jumps the tracks.

The two candidates came together and made a joint “public service announcement” with the message, “We can agree without hating each other.”

Cox stated, “There are some things we both agree on.”  Peterson added, “We can debate issues without degrading each other’s character.”  “We are both equally dedicated to the American values of democracy, liberty, and justice for all people,” Cox added.

Wow.  This is a miracle.  A stark contrast to the endless crap we’re all seeing on TV these days where the only message is hate and dishonesty.

Spencer Cox and Chris Peterson are rare, rare examples of a United States we should be–instead of the one we are.

 

Did You Watch The Circus?

Even though it was endlessly hyped as the first of the 2020 presidential debates, what unfolded from Cleveland on Sept. 29 was anything but.  It was a sideshow, an aberration, an embarrassment.

Debates are serious occasions where policy is discussed so that those observing can make decisions.  They are not shouting matches with one participant trying to bully everyone else.

That was not the case Sept. 29.

And it was anything but presidential.  President Trump wanted to mud wrestle Joe Biden.  Perhaps he was channeling the days when he and professional wresting promoter Vince McMahon went through the charade of doing combat with each other before thousands of screaming fans.

Supposedly millions of Americans were tuned in when the event started.  How many were left 90 minutes later when it mercifully ended, I don’t know.  But I’m guessing a great number turned away.  After all, who wants to listen to fingernails being scraped across a black board for 90 minutes?

Who “won?”   The consensus of polls and comments by sundry pundits I’ve seen clearly favored Biden.  Which does not mean he did great, but considering the combative nature of President Trump and his unwillingness to play by the rules, Biden did not have a very high bar to jump over to outshine the other guy.

It was such a spectacle that the Commission on Presidential Debates is now saying they will make adjustments to the format before the next “debate” Oct. 15.  My suggestion is that they give someone a switch to kill the mike of a participant when they are speaking out of turn.

I recently had a post about how the image of this country is going rapidly downhill in other countries.  Is it any wonder after what happened Sept. 29?

We are often told how we should respect the office of the U.S. president.  I agree, however, this includes the person occupy8ing the office.  Donald Trump did not do this Sept. 29.

We constantly bemoan the state of politics and wonder what happened to statesmanship.  All we did on Sept. 29 was heighten the delusion with those who claim to lead us politically.

Because of this, the real loser Sept. 29 was every citizen of this country

 

International View OF U.S. Falling Rapidly

For decades the U.S. has pounded it’s chest and justifiably been viewed as one of the free world’s brightest lights.  However, a recent report by the Pew Research Center that surveyed more than 13,000 people in 13 countries shows that our image is rapidly falling.

Here is an excerpt from the report:

“Since Donald Trump took office as president, the image of the United States has suffered across many regions of the globe. As a new 13-nation Pew Research Center survey illustrates, America’s reputation has declined further over the past year among many key allies and partners. In several countries, the share of the public with a favorable view of the U.S. is as low as it has been at any point since the Center began polling on this topic nearly two decades ago.

For instance, just 41% in the United Kingdom express a favorable opinion of the U.S., the lowest percentage registered in any Pew Research Center survey there. In France, only 31% see the U.S. positively, matching the grim ratings from March 2003, at the height of U.S.-France tensions over the Iraq War. Germans give the U.S. particularly low marks on the survey: 26% rate the U.S. favorably, similar to the 25% in the same March 2003 poll.

Part of the decline over the past year is linked to how the U.S. had handled the coronavirus pandemic. Across the 13 nations surveyed, a median of just 15% say the U.S. has done a good job of dealing with the outbreak. In contrast, most say the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Union have done a good job, and in nearly all nations people give their own country positive marks for dealing with the crisis (the U.S. and UK are notable exceptions). Relatively few think China has handled the pandemic well, although it still receives considerably better reviews than the U.S. response.”

Amazingly, while ratings for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are bad, they are not as bad as those for Trump.

Countries surveyed were: Spain, Italy, Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Japan, Australia, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and South Korea.  Some 76 percent of respondents expressed confidence in German chancellor Angela Merkel.  By comparison, only 16 percent had confidence in Trump.

Notorious RBG

Like most, I knew Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.  But I had no clue of who she really was or what she did in a remarkable lifetime until her death.  But I have certainly learned a lot about her in the last few days and now realize why she was so revered by so many, especially females.

Obviously she had a spine of steel and simply would not take “no” for an answer.  No doubt the fact that she was tiny was a benefit.  How could something that small be such a fierce opponent?

But she coupled her resolve with a brain that never seemed to turn off.

She definitely saw the world through the eyes of a woman and often enlightened her male colleagues with a viewpoint they had no way of relating to on their own.  In so doing, she became a champion for females and impacted their lives in ways most never understood.

Time after time a TV clip showed her speaking to young women and they were enthralled by her.  Many said that she became a “rock star” and I’ve seen nothing to make me think otherwise.  Someone gave her the moniker of “Notorious RBG”, a play on words from the name of a rapper.  She seemed amused by this and must have realized that it was a term of endearment used by young women.

She was devoted to her husband Marty, one of the top tax lawyers in New York City.  They were married for more than 50 years.  Like her, he also died of cancer.

He was quite a chef and said at an interview one time that she didn’t tell  him how to cook and he didn’t tell her about the law.

An extraordinary woman who lead an extraordinary life.

The Odd Couple: Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Anthony Scalia

The death of U.S. Supreme Count Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shocked the country,  Even though she battled a number of health issues in recent years, her passing came as a surprise.  Appointed by President Clinton in 1993, she had been a consistent voice for equality and women throughout the land hailed her for often leveling the playing field for females.

Accolades from both Democrats and Republicans echoed throughout the country.

It was remarkable to me that after her death Friday night, hundreds and hundreds of citizens gathered in front of the nation’s Supreme Court building to pay their respects, at one point uniting in singing Amazing Grace.

But what really got my attention was her great relationship with the late Justice, Anthony Scalia.

Philosophically they could not have been farther apart.  More often than not, their opinions were at opposite ends of the spectrum.  However, this did not prevent them from having a genuine respect and admiration for one another.  One of their bonds was a great love of opera.

One of her former law clerks talked of how close their relationship was and that Scalia always came to her office to sing Happy Birthday to her.

What a contrast this is in these days when winning is the only thing that seems to matter in politics.  Rather than seeking common ground, those on the other side of a political divide must be vilified and conquered.  Campaigns are viscous, take no prisoner affairs.  Truth is thrown out the window.

And how well I know this to be true.  When I ran for a seat on the Montgomery County school board in 2018, my primary opponent’s ENTIRE campaign was to trash me with phone calls and mail.  When this is what happens in a local school board race is it any wonder that such lack of tolerance and civility is vastly escalated in bigger campaigns?

Unfortunately the nation lost an outstanding jurist with the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  (Just as it did when Judge Scalia passed away.)

While they passionately disagreed on their interpretations of the law, they did show us a great example of respect and dignity.

 

 

 

 

What Happened To Civility?

The circumstances that lead to the phone call are incidental.  Suffice it to say that the female on the other end of the line lives in Montgomery, is in her 70’s and like me, is Caucasian

We were doing the usual “who’s your mama and ’em” when she wanted to know if I was voting for Trump or Biden..

“Biden,” I told her.

She went off like a Roman candle.  Immediately questioning my manhood, patriotism, heritage and God knows what else.  Suddenly I was a 2nd class citizen, unfit to even cast a ballot.

She told me that masks worn for protection during the pandemic were worthless, that most deaths attributed to Covid-19 were from something else and that all she watched was Fox News.  (Which explained a lot to me.)

I told her that grandpa fought in WWI and daddy was in WWII and that I was not a draft dodger like Trump.  She did not want to hear any of it.  According to her, Biden is a socialist and that “black” woman will be running everything if he is elected.  I was jolted by her total lack of tolerance or civility.  I was the only “white” person she knew who was not voting for Trump..

I told her that if she wanted to vote for Trump, fine.  That this is a free country and therefore we can vote for whomever we wish.  Which includes me.

No doubt there are Biden supporters who are just as vocal and obnoxious as she was.  People who have forgotten what civility is and what it encompasses.

They are just as disturbing as she was.

Auburn University and the University of Alabama will play football against each other on Nov. 28.  It is an intense, storied rivalry, some say the fieriest of any in college football.  Young athletes will spare no effort to best the other team that day.  But watch what happens as soon as the game ends.  Men from both sides will shake hands afterwards, they will hug one another, share a laugh.  They are both civil toward and respectful of one another.

It’s an example a great majority of our citizens should follow.