It's 7:00 in the morning on this October 21st. I can't believe it'll be November in just a little over one week! But to help me adjust to that fact, there have been heavy frosts for the past two mornings, the kind of frosts where you look out the window before dawn and see the white coating and wonder if it snowed in the night. But it isn't snow, just heavy frost on the grass and the cars making both appear white.
Can you believe that Boston won last night's game? I am so amazed! I wish I had my daughter's enthusiasm for the Red Sox. I am, of course, a Red Sox fan by virtue of my birth. My dad used to watch every televised Red Sox game when I was growing up and being in northern New England, you just don't root for anyone else but the Red Sox. But I never had the level of enthusiasm that my daughter now has. In the hours before the game last night, she became progressively nervous, apprehensive. The first three games of the best of seven series for the American League Pennant were quite handily won by the Yankees and there had never in baseball history been a team which took a best of seven series after losing the first three games. But there had never in baseball history been a team which won even the sixth game in such a situation, so the Red Sox last night were already on new ground. What was so unbelievable to me was that after three very hard home games in Boston, the Red Sox made these last two away-game victories in New York seem so easy.
But anyway, it's on to the World Series! Go Red Sox!!
I haven't been online since Friday when my ISP disconnected me for being a month behind on my bill. I've been thinking about switching to Verizon DSL but procrastinating till now, but on Monday I decided to make the leap. Actually it seems like a pretty good deal, faster Internet at a lower price than regular modem access with a second phone line. So the do-it-yourself installation kit is in the mail to me and I will, with any luck, be back online next Monday. I am on the verge of having withdrawal symptoms already, though. It's been nearly a week now since I checked my email, chatted, or read my usual blogs.
To compensate for this isolation, I've been listening to conservative talk radio, what I call hate radio. It is absolutely amazing to hear how those people spin reality. Yesterday, Howie Carr had Andy Card on his show. Card was the guy who whispered in President Bush's ear on the morning of 9/11 to inform him of the second plane crash in New York City and to inform him that the US was under attack. That was when President Bush simply sat there in front of the cameras doing nothing at all for at least seven minutes, a point brought out in the Michael Moore film Farenheit 9/11. Carr referred to this seven to twenty minute silence as a "moment" rather than hinting that it was a significant period of time. Carr and Card worked together to spin this as the appropriate response from the president, both to save these young children from any fear and to alert the terrorists that they hadn't frightened the President of the United States.
Can you imagine that, though? I mean, let's analyze this for a moment. Put yourself in the President's shoes. You had no idea that the terrorists were going to attack America. Here you are in front of a dozen or more cameras at a photo-op in a second grade (mostly black) classroom in Florida. Your Chief of Staff whispers in your ear that your country is under attack by terrorists. So you wonder to yourself, "Oh, I wonder what I should do." You are the President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the US military and you just discovered that terrorists were hijacking airliners and crashing them into New York City. You know that it is your duty to lead the entire United States. So you look around and see a bunch of seven or eight year old children and think to yourself, "I certainly don't want to give these children any reason to feel afraid. After all, this is a terrorist attack on New York City, not on Florida. I'll sit here so they know nothing serious is happening." And then it dawns on you, "Oh, and if I do get up and excuse myself and go make contact with the rest of my administration, that will be a sign of weakness in the eyes of these terrorists, whoever they are. I certainly wouldn't want to make them think that they had interrupted a presidential photo-op. I'll sit right here and fiddle with myself and see if I can look unfazed until this photo-op gig is over. That way, these terrorists will know they can't terrorize me."
Conservative talk radio is good when you need a good laugh, but if I try to listen to it when I need strength do do hard work, I find my strength drained after an hour or so of this frustrating babble.
I broke down and bought - had my wife buy, actually - Kitty Kelly's new biography of the Bush clan, The Family. I read Chapter Nine this morning where she covers Senator Prescott Bush's early years in the Senate when Dwight Eisenhower was elected President and Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy was on his anti-red rampage. McCarthy's anti-communist rantings remind me of our own age's anti-liberal rantings. Prescott Bush, according to the book, wrestled with his own disdain for McCarthy's techniques. Bush's integrity clashed with McCarthy's popularity even back home in Connecticut, so Bush struggled with his response. According to the book, Maine's Senator Margaret Chase Smith had made her "Declaration of Conscience" speech in 1950 where she said, "I do not want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny - fear, ignorance, bigotry, and smear."
Oh how appropriate those words are to today! I grew up thinking that McCarthy had been disgraced and that the Republican Party represented principles reflected by the integrity of people Like Maine's Margaret Chase Smith. That illusion, for me, was shattered by Nixon, but to think that we have back-slid all the way back to McCarty, using fear, ignorance, bigotry, and smear to gain conservative political victory over liberal ideology simply makes me sick.