Saturday night I spent the early evening and well into the night with several old and new friends at the Black Lake Lodge in the mountains of Colorado. This little Eden lies two or three miles off the main road. Before you turn off down that byway is the Master Bait and Tackle shop if you come unprepared but I not being true fisherman decided to pass up this chance of a lifetime. As you wander further and further into the forest primeval any vestige of civilization slips away with each weather torn rut in the road.
The good old Lesbaru took its place among the pickups and high end SUV’s in the lot. Any evidence of wealth or position was left in the trash barrel at the front door. Everyone is a good old boy no matter where you call home. I greeted everyone and this place immediately felt as comfortable as a pair of old loafers.Throughout the evening the conversation was devoid of politics. A true accomplishment. To be terribly trite we just sucked in the mountain air and of course more than enough Irish Whiskey to go with the card playing. We had escaped.
The next day on the ride down to home I made the terrible mistake of turning on the news. The Donald was taking on a Gold Medal family and the Dems were decrying the Russian invasion of their inner sanctum. I winced at Trump making one gaffe after another and having no sense of decorum. I listened in disbelief that the spin meisters had created a diversion for the exit of Madame Wasserman Schultz by the looming presence of Putin and Co. Forget the giant headlines that the ruling class was out to screw Bernie out of the nomination at every turn. And all these fools want to lead our country for another four years?
By Monday night I could not summon the courage liquid or otherwise to watch my beloved PBS Evening News. Where else to go? Charlie Rose, of course. I have saved a gazillion of them for a time just like this. The first one to catch my eye was one with David McCullough, historian extraordinaire. Actually it was a compilation of several interviews. He verbally weaves as good a story as he writes. It all centered around the Declaration of Independence and the war with the British. As he told of courage and mistakes and true grit of a rag tag band of rebels I could not help but think wistfully about where we are today. Do we even come close to having a Washington, Madison, Jefferson or Adams? Incredible and oh so sad where we are by comparison.
The next was an interview with Tom Friedman who along with David Brooks are two of my most favorite reads on the body politic. Tom is coming out with a new book in November and he presented a wonderful teaser that was particular by its overview of the world. He split the world into orderly and chaotic nations. The latter were the Sudans, Syrias, Libyas Yemens et alia of the planet. There was little or no government present and these were seedbeds of violence and atrocities.
The rebels had no life per se and therefore nothing to lose. They could not be intimidated and took what they wanted whether it be spoils of war or human beings. The populace seeing no hope took off for points unknown preferring a treacherous journey to sure death or enslavement. Ergo the basis of our current migration problem.The only possible solution for these God forsaken people were the orderly nations but the welcome mat not only wore thin but was pulled inside before long. Millions of people trying to survive and the best they have are wind blown tents on arid and barren landscape without sanitation or water.
The most shocking part is that the destination nations including our own were blindsided by events. The billions we all have spent on spy agencies rendered us clueless. This all came crashing home to me. Our world is changing at warp speed from terrorism to technology. We have Moore’s Law that doubles computer capability every two years or so. We have climate change that is raging out of control regardless of the cause. We have changing views on morality and ethics. And yes whether we like it or not globalization is woven into every thread on our fabric of life. Do you think there is any chance we can turn back clock and take a timeout to get our act together?
As Friedman concluded and in a way McCullough fantasized we have not the mental acuity nor the flexibility in our political systems to meet the challenges. The cognoscenti are in technology and sadly they are the only ones right now who can see the future.Both of our political parties are hopelessly concentrating on the short term of the next elections. There is not a statesman or woman in the lot who is willing to do what is appropriate and evident for fear of upsetting the party hacks or their electorate. We need the gumption of our forefathers who probably went against the tide and pursued independence even though failure meant a trip to the gallows. I think we need a totally different third or fourth party to break this infantile gridlock.
We have a gigantic debt problem. Healthcare is a runaway train. Entitlements have got to be revised. The tax code borders on absurd. We need jobs but the reality is there are just not enough high paying jobs to go around. Our infrastructure needs serious work from roads to sewers. We should have serious discussion on these and more but all we have is catfighting,backrooms and well rehearsed scripts. Kids, this is the best we got and it should embarrass each and every one of us. I know it bugs me to death
Ted The Great
Washington and his troops were beaten badly in the Battle of Brooklyn. Their retreat across the East River was aided by a fog that mysteriously hovered on the Brooklyn side alone. The British fleet could not pursue because of an eerie wind that prevented them from intercepting the Colonial troops. Our guys further retreated to New Jersey to spend the winter of their discontent. Some marched without shoes and suffered dysentery. In one last gasp they crossed the Delaware and defeated the Hessians at Trenton and then at Princeton. This all out push saved the war and the early colonies. And the rest is history.
We take years and billions of dollars to run for national and local offices. Most countries in the civilized world accomplish this in 6-8 weeks. We have approximately 100 days to go until Election Day. I am buying stock in liquor companies and drug companies that make anti depressants.
Over decades we through the CIA and other clandestine organizations have tried to influence elections and regimes though our world. With a straight face we say we are shocked at Russia’s interference.
Excitedly I told my friend about the Friedman interview and how he should watch it. He vigorously shook his head no and said he wanted no part of that “Liberal Asshole”. That was encouraging. If you go to Charlie Rose.com it is S25 ep139. It runs about 40 minutes.
Read Ron Chernow’s book Alexander Hamilton. You will be surprised at the stuff those founding fathers said about each other. Whew-sounds like 2016 in many ways.
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I guess imperfect worlds continue through the ages. I better stick to hospice.