Saturday, July 18, 2020

Race for the White House # 81

If life were what we were all expecting it to be not long ago, this weekend would consist of reviewing the recently closed Democrat National Convention in Milwaukee. That is on hold though of course until next month, and it will pretty much be a virtual event, as delegates are being asked to stay at home. Joe Biden and his yet to be named running mate might speak to a largely empty arena, much like the return of professional baseball, hockey, and basketball. We would also be talking about the opening of the Tokyo Olympics this upcoming weekend. Who would have represented the Trump Administration at Opening Ceremonies? That is on hold though until next year, when there may be a new Administration altogether. It remains to be seen though whether the Games can even still be held in 2021.

So, this weekend, the talk on cable news is of course still about the coronavirus but also about yesterday's passing of Congressman John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, at the age of 80. His illness had been known and sadly took him swiftly, even as he remained a candidate for reelection. Beyond more than his nearly 35 years in Congress, Lewis is honored as a stalwart of the Civil Rights Movement. At the age of 23, he was the youngest person to address the historic March on Washington, and he was the last remaining survivor to have shared that stage with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Two years later, he was badly beaten while marching on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Alabama, but never slowed down his pursuit for justice. I join many others in believing that bridge should be named after him instead of the historically dishonorable person it is named for now.

Lewis was of course a passionate and partisan Democrat and frequently clashed with Republicans. Sometimes his rhetoric was overly heated but the respect and admiration that all Americans should have for him is clear. While the flags at the White House were brought down to half mast, the current President waited many hours, until after most others had publicly offered condolences, to issue a relatively short Tweet expressing his sadness. Perhaps, he was just too busy golfing earlier.

In the meantime, the campaign remains in a holding pattern. Biden still needs to pick his running mate and still largely remains out of news cycles in terms of live events or appearances. Trump seems to have surrendered to the spread of the virus in parts of the country where it had been believed to have gotten better but has posed (perhaps in violation of the law) with Goya food products because of the predictable kerfuffle when the CEO of that company offered praise of Trump. People should be free to buy or not buy Goya products based on their own free will. It matters none to me, as I do not believe I have ever eaten anything from the company. First Daughter Ivanka Trump also posed, perhaps in violation of the Hatch Act, with a can of Goya beans. I find that ironic because "Goya" might be what her husband Jared's family refers to her as.

Tomorrow, an interview will air from the White House in which Trump sat down with Chris Wallace of Fox News and it is said that it did not go well for the incumbent. Wallace pushed back on unsubstantiated charges Trump leveled against Biden and when Trump said he could prove it, was unable to do so with cameras rolling and documents being looked at. The left should acknowledge this all took place on Fox News, one of their favorite boogeymen. Clips also show Trump saying that while he has nothing against masks, he also believes people need the freedom to make their own decisions and that masks can be dangerous too. The arguments we hear from the anti-maskers among us are some of the greatest stretches of logic I have ever heard and those who do not wear a mask in public, while around others, are clearly prolonging the time it will take until this tragic chapter in our history is over.

In mentioning Chris Wallace, I should point out that it was 40 years ago this past week, when Wallace, as a young journalist (who had a very famous father) was the first reporter to break an important story. On the floor of the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Wallace reported on NBC News that the soon to be nominated Ronald Reagan had picked former primary rival George Bush as his Vice Presidential running mate. Before that, the talk was of a Reagan and Gerald Ford "Dream Ticket" in which the term "co-Presidency" was bandied around by some in the media. That was not meant to be, probably for good reason, and the selection of Bush set in motion a chain of events that likely made it possible for two men named George Bush to one day succeed Reagan as President of the United States. I have no memory of course of this happening then in 1980, but I am glad it happened, and only wish there was something this political year to be as excited about.


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