Quote of the Day:
“And that’s the way it is.” –Walter Cronkite
Like most everyone else with even the mildest sporting interest, TB watched with anticipation, hope and fear as Tom Watson lined up his putt for par on the 18th hole at Turnberry to win the British Open. Like most everyone else, I was crestfallen when he blew it. What is it about these old legends that makes us all a fan when they make a run at greatness long after their heyday has passed? I never was a Watson fan and there aren’t many for whom he was the favorite. Why should we all take his side over Stewart Cink, a good guy by all accounts with a beautiful family who has never been in the major spotlight? After all, Watson is already a legend. Isn’t more cosmic good added to the universe by virtue of a first time major victor? Maybe we like the idea that we are watching history happen. Maybe we like the idea of appreciating more fully a greatness we gave too little credit to when it was current. Maybe we like the idea that if an old guy can accomplish something so important at age 59 that it somehow extends the productivity of our collective lives. A combination of these and other reasons I guess, but it was a helluva run and I wish he’d sunk that putt.
Walter Cronkite died. There is now NO chance he can come back to the airwaves and save journalism. Often this weekend I heard him called the “most trusted man in America.” I wonder, could he also be called the “last trusted man in America?”
Which brings me to the latest scandal involving Mark Sanford, the worst part of it, to my way of thinking. Emails to Sanford from media luminaries of all networks and bias have surfaced. The common theme–“come to my show. We will make you look good.” Does anyone think these offers were isolated incidents? We all know the same invitation is extended to all politicians, right or left. I don’t believe Cronkite would’ve made such irresponsible, first amendment wasting interview requests. Now we know why “journalists” never seem to ask the big follow-up that challenges a politician’s well rehearsed talking point. They promise not to do so in advance.
Which leads to C Street in Washington D.C. and the political-religious cult known as “The Family.” If you haven’t heard, “The Family” refers to a group of politicians and politicos who live together in a building on C Street in DC. Among the residents are fundamentalist Christian Senators and Representatives like adulterers Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Senator Mark Ensign (R-NV), and former Congressman, near Senator Chip Pickering (R-MS). Mark Sanford (R-SC) was among their number when he was in Congress. “The Family” has members of both parties, but so far the affairs of its Democratic members have not come to light. What is so bad about The Family is not that they house these hypocrites and facilitate their affairs, it is not that they teach the “good” side of historical villains like Mao, Mussolini, and worse, it is not that they work to support dictatorships in various parts of the world; it is that they indoctrinate their residents and followers with the concept that they are “chosen by God” for high government office and that they are not subject to the same religious limitations as the commoners. Friends, these politicians believe in divine right, no different than the justification of the monarchs of the old world from whom we broke in 1776. It is one of the most anti-American concepts imaginable, and it is orthodoxy for a substantial group of Washington insiders. Hell we all know they think it of themselves, but for divine right to be an organized tenet of the religion they and so many of their supporters profess to serve, frankly blows my mind and challenges my faith. It is difficult to know how to combat the forces of aristocracy and oligarchy that seek to maintain control over this country as they have great influence over both political parties. But I firmly believe the political battles in this country are waged between the wrong groups–liberals vs conservatives, blacks vs whites, fundamentalists vs non-fundamentalists–when they should be waged between lord and subject, master and servant, royalty vs commoner. I only wish we had another Cronkite waiting in the wings to ask the tough questions, with no strings attached to bring the real news to the people.