In the privacy of my home, or within the circle of close friends, my politics will surface. There isn’t much to them to surface, but I do have opinions at times and I will express them. I do not offer a well researched debate, especially regarding foreign policy, and I suppose my soapboxing on other issues may be as much emotional as factual. I am a senior citizen and as such I claim a certain amount of sanctimonious territory in my arguments based on my age: having “experienced” a full life; having made an incredible amount of mistakes from which to learn; and from just “being there.”
The presidential campaign that has taken place this past year has been one of the most, if not the most, unusual political parades I think I have ever lived through. And you did have to live through it and choke down every morsel of it if you have any interest in our democracy and how it works. As an ex-journalist of sorts the campaign took on even more bazaar twists at every turn. But nothing can compete with the aftermath. It is almost fitting that the “lift-off” of our country’s new administration this week is actually making the campaign’s shenanigans appear almost trivial.
Personally, I have had a reawakening from all this. Since I retired I have become less and less of a news-aholic. I let my newspaper and magazine subscriptions run out, I watch far less television and I really don’t mind being ignorant about many things going on in the world. Now, all of a sudden, I find myself turning on the news when I wake up and then periodically throughout the day…just to see what new item of curiosity has transpired. It’s like a reality TV show and I can’t believe I’m caught up in it. Soon I just might wonder to whom the President will offer a rose …and will he or she accept?
There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that our country’s leadership as we have known it—ever—has definitely taken a turn in an entirely new direction. I am kind of sitting on the fence, still holding Old Glory in my lap and taking a wait ‘n see approach. There have been plenty of words that come to mind as I ponder all the “happenings” since inaugural day. Words like: refreshing (yes, refreshing), incredible, that’s interesting, reallllly, hmmm, scary and the ever-popular holy sh*t! A thought also came to me, having lived through the 60s, how some words never meant to be appropriate for this moment, actually are, in a juxtapositioned kind of way…
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’
– Bob Dylan
I soaked up every minute of one of our nation’s most traumatic “moments” back in the 1970s. I even lived in Washington at the time of Watergate. It was high drama every day throughout the Congressional hearings. Every morning I rushed to see what reporters Woodward and Bernstein had to say as if the Washington Post was a best-seller mystery novel I couldn’t put down. And then finally, the inevitable and among the most significant presidential announcements in our history: President Nixon’s resignation. I, along with millions of others, then watched the newly-sworn in Gerald Ford step up to the microphones eager to hear his very first words as President…and they were: “Our long national nightmare is over.” And now, many are wondering, is another one beginning?
So what is this all about? Well, first of all, as I said, I’m on the fence right now. I am not looking to stir up a political debate. If you ask me, it’s about democracy. It just comes in different clothes this time around. I am one who has faith in the system. I am one who says the office is greater than the man or woman who holds it. I am one who believes that if the sails are set too tight and the wind too strong, then the keel will fulfill its purpose and it will right the ship and reestablish proper course if need be. It is our role to support the system, stand steadfast to our beliefs and have faith in what our country stands for, for no one is above that. Go watch again the D-Day landing in Saving Private Ryan and you’ll get my drift.