September 4, 2020
I can imagine: hearing Walter Cronkite, opening his CBS evening news program tonight, saying, “Good evening! We now have only 2 months to go before ‘judgement day’, November 3rd, Two-thousand twenty, and what a political divide we Americans are facing! On one side, we have the maverick, would-be fascist, political amateur, ’split-off’ from the now-in-hiding Republican Party, named Donald J. Trump & Family, running against a tried-and-true member of the old fashioned, middle-of-the road, Democrat Party, a professional politician named Joseph R. Biden, who was pulled out of retirement by the Democratic National Committee in the hope that he would be a ‘centering force’ to bring it’s leftist factions together around him, rather than having them trying to take control of the party. I’m sorry to say that I have not seen our country so divided in political extremes since I was reporting on the Vietnam War.”
Walter Cronkite, may he rest in peace, died on July 17, 2009, in the middle of the last not-so-little recession. During his long career as a broadcast journalist (He was the ‘Anchor-man’ for the CBS evening News from 1962 to 1981) he was considered ‘the most trusted man in America’. I was proud that he was a fellow ‘Missourian’—even though he came from Kansas City, Missouri not St. Louis, Missouri. I can also imagine what he would say about Donald J. Trump, who is, most probably, one of the least ‘trust-worthy’ men in America, and, most probably, one of the biggest liars, and inept managers, ever to hold the office of President of the United States of America. Walter would, most likely, have said, “I really hate to think how Mr. Trump ever got elected!” He would continue by saying, “I had more trust in the American electorate and our political system than either one deserved.” Of course, I believe that’s what he would have said because that’s exactly how I felt when our deviant Electoral College declared Donald J. Trump the winner after Hillary Clinton had received a narrow majority of the people’s vote. He also is remembered for a few other ‘sayings’, or now-famous, quotes:
“America’s health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.”
“There is no such thing as a little freedom. Either you are all free, or you are not free.” And—
“In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.”
All of which seem to me to be appropriate to the coming presidential election. Our failing Health Care System, the Rights of Blacks, Hispanics, Immigrants and other minorities of ‘color’, and ‘Truth’, as an element in the campaign dialogue, are some of the most critical issues our country is facing today. Walter Cronkite ended his career as ‘News Anchor’ for CBS in 1981, long before the problem of ‘Income and Wealth Disparity’ would become the significant issue it is today.
One other serious factor in the coming election would certainly have come to his attention if he was here to provide his ‘trusted commentary’ on the present political reality. That is: the rise of Fascism as a possible movement in our American government. Wikipedia defines Fascism as—a form of far-right, authoritarian ultra-nationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, as well as strong regimentation of society and the economy which came to prominence in early 20th century Europe. Meriam-Webster defines Fascism as—a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and race above individual and that stands for a centralized government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. Examples of 20th century fascism are: Italy’s Mussolini, Germany’s Hitler, Portugal’s Salazar and Japan’s Tojo. Some of the principles and characteristics of fascism are: one dictator has control, extreme militaristic nationalism, a distain for electoral democracy, an opposition to political and cultural liberalism, rule by the elites, leaders win popular support and power through mass gatherings, and violence is deemed necessary to combat opponents.
Does any of the above seem relevant to the political situation in America today? Does a significant portion of the American electorate dislike the political, cultural, and moral concept and responsibilities of a Democracy so severely that they are open to and accepting of a narcissistic-sociopath who offers an ego-driven, “Make America Great Again”, vision for our future that ‘Only He’—if He is re-elected—can provide? Does that portion of our electorate enjoy their lust for power and privilege, avarice for monetary wealth, and greed for as much of that ‘wealth’ as they can achieve by any means, so much that they are willing to sacrifice their (and our) freedom today for an ego-maniac, professional liar’s promise of His ‘tomorrow’? Is that portion of our electorate so blind to our President’s failure to prepare for and manage our way through a pandemic and economic chaos that He will be forgiven –as long as they ‘trust Him’ that they will get to keep their power, privilege, and wealth, only if He is re-elected? I just wish that Walter Cronkite could be here tonight to provide his trusted commentary on just what the most serious issue of the 2020 Presidential election really ‘is’! Does American really want to become a fascist Country? And, I’d bet you a nickel that he would sum up all of the above and then end his program with his regular, famous, closing, comment, “— And that’s the way it is!”
Hubris, free from any responsibility for political commentary or responsibility, and after my explanation of what I think Walter Cronkite would have said—if he were alive today—only added a true ‘horse sense’ comment. He said, “Donald Trump doesn’t know his ass from alfalfa!” Only a very smart horse would have thought of that as a ‘summary evaluation’! After which we saddled up and with a hearty Hi Ho Hubris, Aawaay!, we were off on our Friday evening ride—with, of course, the William Tell Overture playing in the background. So, until next week, Adios Amigos! And—stay safe!
Word count 1,005 Copyright, September 4, 2020, Louis J. Christen