The Trump Presidency

I’ve stayed away from posting for several days to absorb the events as Donald Trump assumed the Presidency.

Most of you know, who read this blog, he was not my choice to run our country.

I will leave it at that but reserve the right to observe, assess, discern and comment as Mr. Trump progresses as our 45th President. It is the responsibility of every citizen to do just that, but most don’t. If you are for him, then hold him to account for the promises that convinced you to vote for him. If you are against him hold him to account for the rules and laws that keep our Constitution sacred and secure.

To the press. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, for an adversarial relationship between those who govern and the journalist’s responsibility to speak reason to power.

The author of our Constitution, Thomas Jefferson, was so angry at an adversarial press that he refused to talk with them and for a time spoke only to a friendly press that supported him. Perhaps a history lesson to the current press corps. Even though Jefferson was angry, he never wavered in the necessity of a free press. Columnist Walter Lippmann once added, “The theory is that the truth will emerge from free reporting and free access, not that it will be presented perfectly or instantaneously in any one account.”

So here we go into 2017. Let us resolve not to speak in anger. Not to judge without facts. Not to condemn without compassion. Not to divide our nation with the cement of partisan politics and not to see the other without the right to have an opinion. Let us also remember there is a higher power that is aware of our free will and loves us unconditionally.

A reporter is…

Based on a couple of comments on my recent post on President-Elect Trump I would like to refresh the meaning of what a journalist is. The name “journalist” stems from one who kept a journal on events seen and when possible would send his or her observations to a newspaper or periodical for publication.

Through the years’ journalism has evolved into what I call near immediate reporting. Technology today allows nearly instantaneous connection to the world’s receptors of information. That can mean any receptor from the main stream media, i.e. The broadcast and cable networks, newspapers, wire services, and to what is called, “social media,” i.e. anybody with a cellphone or computer and the means to transmit the unfiltered, unchecked, unattributed information to anyone willing to read it.

Unfortunately, most of these readers and viewers have a penchant to believe the information received as truth, particularity if it conforms to their political and social preferences. That’s probably true for most of us.

The mainstream media are the professionals. Their job is to check facts, apply attributions where necessary, and provide context to the story.

A.J. Liebling, a noted American journalist connected to The New Yorker, once wrote and I am paraphrasing as best that my memory holds:

“A reporter is one who writes about what he or she sees. A commentator is one who writes about what he or she sees and what they construe to be its meaning. An editorialist is one who stirs about he or she hasn’t seen and what they construe to be its meaning.”

When I submit a post, I do so as a commentator, it’s an opinion, not a report, although it may contain reportorial facts that I have observed or ascertained. Reporters alone are bound to tell only the facts. Who, what, where, when, why and sometimes how. The skill of the reporter comes out as he crafts his words into a concise and accurate story. The ability of a commentator surfaces when he can use personal experience, history, logic and verifiable facts to amplify or validate an opinion.

Look at the labels of all sources of information. Is it a report? Is it a comment from an alleged expert, or is it a single opinion from a particular interest group, hence a surreptitious editorial?

Our society, both friendships and professional society, are tight with contention. Opinion should not be the catalyst of contention. It should be the dialogue of discussion so each side can express feelings without attack, without animosity, and without hurt feelings.

Now is not a time for separation and boycott. It is a time for tolerance. It is a time of expectation. A time for trying a new way. Like it or not, it is a time for experimentation in the advancement of our republic and the sustainment of our democracy.  If it doesn’t work we have the mechanism to change it.

Sent from my iPad

The President Elect and the Press

Mr. President Elect you are wrong. To denigrate and belittle a news organization because you don’t like what they report and to do so in public is rude, crude and harmful to the entire Fourth Estate and to the sacred traditions of our democracy. Mr. President Elect you have far greater responsibilities than the assuagement of a bruised ego or the girding of thin-skin by retribution.

To the presidential press corps and all members of the fourth estate. It is your responsibility to speak reason to power. It is your responsibility to probe, to research, to check and recheck facts. The truth will eventually surface but only from a free press. Stand together.

Mr. President Elect “There is room for all shades of opinion,” the great Justice Learned Hand once wrote and he added, “persecution of none.”

McGee

I have a pet. Her name is McGee. I call her my spiritual advisor because she is unconditionally loving and loyal.

Pets have been around for such a long time the dictionary lists the origin of the word as unknown.

History tells us a working relationship was formed with early man and the wolves that lived around man’s camps. Gradually the animals evolved until certain ones became tame and were then regarded as settlement dependents and helped in hunting and guarding duties.

Selective breeding followed domestication and we find in ancient carvings and painting that giant mastiffs were used in lion hunting in Mesopotamia. Egyptian tomb paintings depict greyhound-like dogs and short-legged terriers like those of today.

Even the Bible has two references of keeping pets. In Samuel, Nathan speaks of a ewe lamb brought up in a poor farmers family. In Mark, chapter 7, verse 28, he speaks of a foreign women telling of her little pet dogs that sat under the table.

For years now many people have been trying to convince the medical community that writing a prescription for a companion animal has value.

Many studies have been conducted concluding that pets are beneficial. One researcher determined that pets can help lower a person’s blood pressure and improve the chances of survival of heart disease patients. Another report indicated that pets helped significantly with disoriented or withdrawn people in nursing homes or retirement communities.

The goal of those who believe in the pet therapy for some human aliments is to convince doctors to prescribe pets where they can and to get the government to allow pets into nursing homes. In many areas that is happening.