Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Keep it in perspective PLEASE!


Cambria coast

             The political press seems to have lost touch.
            Practicing media craft and skills for a half century makes me think I have an obligation to critique current practitioners. This recent orgy of Iowa caucus is excessive silliness.

            Even when I covered politics, including Iowa caucus coverage, I thought too much was made of it. 

            Here's my argument what we have just seen is much ado about very little, if not nothing. There were simply too many inches of ink and too many hours of blabber for what is only a notch above so what?

            All of the attention we endured was for the votes of 110,298 Iowans. Really!
40 delegates up for grab in what almost everyone except Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis says is a done deal. 

            All of this attention to 110 thousand Iowans about something that doesn't really matter. There are more than 3 Million people in Iowa. 110 ten thousand is what, a drop in a bucket? 
            The US population is estimated to be 336 million. How important are 110 thousand Iowa opinions? Not worthy enough for all the media time they got.

            Iowa is 88% White. 
                                    77% of Iowans are Christians. That total breaks out:
                                        28% Evangelical
                                        30% Mainline-mostly Methodist or Lutheran
                                       18% Catholic.

        If the Iowa caucus gave delegates to Snoop Dog or Martha Stewart, it would have been news, but still not the lead.

        Political journalism these days seems obsessed with the horse race. If a Presidential campaign is a horserace, then the Iowa caucus is as important as a pony ride at a state park.

        We are only getting started!

        See you down the trail.


Friday, January 12, 2024

Ancient rumblings

             In 75 years Israel has passed from being a nation of victims, survivors and a people persecuted to being discussed in the world court as perpetrating genocide. It was that very crime against them that spawned the world’s effort to create a safe nation.

            It is something I could not have imagined. From childhood I have been close to the Jewish story.  Children of concentration camp survivors were boyhood companions. A dear friend who I referred to as a brother was himself a refugee of the holocaust. Associates, friends, and some of the people I most admire were victims of the Nazi madness and attempt at genocide. 

            It is unfathomable that just generations later the people who suffered such hell, would be inflicting such deadly violence on a people, their neighbors, with savage barbarism.

            The world understands a nation must defend itself. What Hamas did was evil, barbaric, without any sense of humanity. Hamas is a terrorist group, cowardly and with no value to anyone on this planet. They use and abuse their “own people” for the hateful and insane objective of destroying Jews and the state of Israel. Hamas cannot, does not  govern, their people are not cared for. Hamas leadership knew their animalistic savagery would prompt the guns of hell to reign death and destruction on their own people, behind whom they hide.  Hamas leadership shares responsibility for the deaths and destruction in Gaza.

            The Netanyahu government is also guilty. Netanyahu’s last government, his own last stand to maintain power and avoid perhaps prison for his corruptions, mounted a retaliation that was and is without calibration, restraint, any shred of decency and if not genocidal is at the very least complicit in war crimes and the avoidable death of thousands.  Some will say thousands of years of being persecuted were triggered by the October 7 savagery, the worst on Jewish people since the Holocaust. But, sadly, it is more political calculation and revenge Netanyahu and right wing extremist style, since they regrettably control the divided Israeli government. It is this extremist cabal that has turned Israel from a modern and proud nation built from the ashes of human misery into now being a perpetrator of inhuman suffering.

            The rest of the world has their fingerprints on the savagery as well. In its most recent chain of meddling the Balfour Declaration, the Peel Commission, the British Mandate Palestine and the hot potato resolution at the new United Nations created a divided territory and planted seeds of hatred that resulted in the bombs that have ripped the land that gave the world the Abrahamic faiths. If you are not familiar with the history, you owe to yourself to look at how powerful nations “resolved” ancient disputes. 

            The Jewish nation has been not been served by Netanyahu and his war response. The Palestinian people have not been served either. Hamas functioned more like a criminal gang. The Palestinian Authority is feckless. I have reported from Gaza, and the West Bank. I spent time in Ramallah speaking with government and civic leaders trying to find a path to a future of coexistence. The only real leadership given the desperate Palestinian people has come from religious leaders, Christian, Muslim and even minority Druze representation. 

            Despite the propaganda, the majority of the Palestinian people bear no responsibility for the brutality of the Hamas attack. They tolerate and suffer Hamas leadership more than support it. There is no calculus that permits the Netanyahu military response. There are more precise ways of rooting out Hamas leadership.

            There is a move against Netanyahu and his rightwing fundamentalist coalition. At some point the democratic process will begin to scale back his control, but the ignominy and damage he has inflicted on the state of Israel and to Jewish sensibilities will haunt for generations.  

            It’s a tragic certainty the children who survive the rubble piles of Gaza will bear an animus toward Israel and the Jewish children there. Netanyahu will be dead as will the Hama leaders. But their hateful, evil legacies will continue to stalk the Holyland.

And this is how ancient hatreds last.

There is nothing I write here that you or others have not thought or said. It just strikes me such and with so much regret and remorse. I leave these thoughts as a record, for my grandchildren and so they will know. 
I dedicate this post to the survivors I had a privilege to know--those people who in the years they lived after their own time in hell, dedicated their lives to peace and healing. 

See you down the trail.