A Tale of Two Salutes

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

I don’t think there is anyone presently alive that doesn’t think that perhaps the most famous opening line ever written in fiction doesn’t apply to England and theUnited States in the opening two decades of the 21st century.

The contrast seems to be on display on an almost daily basis.  In England there is Brexit struggle – do we go, do we stay.  In the United States there are the ceaseless tweets emanating from President Johnny Pontiac’s unsecured iPhone.  The sides are evenly divided in England, in theUnited States it always seems to be the President against the world, with the President occaisionaly taking on the role of Victim in Chief.

The last several days have provided a clear contrast between the best of times and the worst of times,  the death of President George H W Bush the 41st President of the United States. 41 was probably the last everyman President our generation will see.  There will no doubt be others but not in this half of the 21st century.

41 was a war hero, an ambassador, a spy, a devoted husband, father, grandfather and if you believe Maureen Dowd he was also a closet nice guy to liberal journalists, while the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania ?Avenue is an openly Machiavellian manipulator supreme without shame or scruples.

So there you have it, this week our focus has been drawn to 41 vs 45 as if we are on a nationwide debate as to which Super Bowl ranks as the greatest of all time.  For me it has quietly come down to two very brief moments in the Rotunda of our nation’s capitol.  Two salutes.

One from President Johnny Pontiac with his dark haired Estonian Barbie first lady at his side.  This salute looked so plastic, much like the Esotonian Barbie’s smil.  President Pontiac standing stone faced, no doubt suffering from year sof agony caused by the after effects of stone bruises that prevented him from learning how and when to properly salute.

The other salute, rising from a wheel chair with great difficulty and assistance came from a lifelong competitor, war hero & friend.  Former Senate Majority Leader, permanently disfigured and disabled World War II veteran Bob Dole.

I close my eyes and reflect upon having seen both salutes to the last great everyman President and come to the same conclusion time and again.  “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…..”

Standing your post

This is my first real attempt at writing on here.  I’ve been encouraged by a friend I’ve never met to get after this.  I’m neither a writer by training or talent, I just happened to have had a damn serious 12th grade English teacher that was very passionate and one hell of a character.

I came up with the title for whatever this turns out to be from my Dad.  He would be 90 now were it not for an Astro-cytoma in his brain twenty one years ago.  My Dad was the oldest of five boys born to a struggling young couple who worked different shifts in the textile mills of this area of South Carolina in the times leading up to the Great Depression.

Imagine working for .10 to .15 cents per hour.  Then having your rent deducted from your weekly check for the house that was provided for you and your family.  that doesn’t leave a lot to raise a family that grew from one son in 1927 to five sons by 1934.

By 1944, when my Dad graduated from high school, the US was involved in a two front war fighting the Germans and the Japanese.  After 15 years of being the oldest of 5 boys, being responsible for their well being while my grandparents worked second and third shifts in the mill, my Dad, enlisted in the US Marine Corps.

With no end in sight, he joined, with his parents permission, along with several of his friends from high school, the branch of service that would surely send him into battle in the South Pacific in the largest war this planet had ever known.

My Dad proudly rose to the rank of Lance Corporal in the Corps as a radio operator and served in the Occupation force under Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur at he end of World War II in China.  He was recalled during what was know as the “Korean Conflict” but never left the United States, only my mother who he married in 1948.

All of this brings me to present day, China, Korea and another Marine called back into service.  General John Kelly, Chief of Staff, White House serving our current President.  After the ouster of Reince Preibus, General Kelly left his position at the Department of  Homeland Security to take on an unruly and undisciplined White House.

Today, I have shunned television news coverage of the  underground hydrogen bomb nuclear test by North Korea.  I have, however, visited Twitter a few times for insight from sources that I deem credible.  Of those, I read an article that relayed the ‘off the record” feelings of General Kelly.

The quote, or the lede. or what ever you call it was attributed to the temper tantrum by our current President after his latest off the rails rant in Arizona last week.  In a meeting with aides, President Trump reportedly dressed down all of those present in a profanity laced tirade.

News reports have surfaced with a quote attributed to General Kelly stating that “in his 35 years of service to this country, he had never been talked to like that”.  General Kelly, now more than ever, please do not consider the source of the outrage and vitriol that may have been directed at you.

As my Dad told me as he was dying from the aforementioned Astro Cytoma….”remember what you were taught in Sunday School, the Golden Rule, Semper Fi and most important of all…….Stand your Post!”