A Bell For The Cat

Blog 1866 – 11.02.2020

A Bell For The Cat


A Bell For The Cat

The U.S. Presidential Election should come as no big surprise to anyone. The alarm bells have been going off for some time. And the cat in the White House has been so adept at keeping most of the attention focused upon him that his true platform has been lost to many. To paraphrase his red hats Donald Trump’s only platform is now, always was, and always be: Keep Trump Flush Again. Business after business failing and unarguably (to anyone paying attention) the worst performance as a President ever and still he could pull off his famous Phoenix from the ashes trick yet again.

Over the weekend I twice watched a very thought provoking HBO documentary about editor, writer, and political commentator John Meachum and his 2018 book called, The Soul of America: The Battle of Our Better Angels, that debuted at number one on the New York Times best seller list when it came out.

John Meachum was born and raised in East Ridge just outside Chattanooga just a few miles from where I also was born and grew up. The Civil War was much a part of our thinking in those parts with Civil War monuments, battle fields, complete with canons and pyramids of welded together cannon balls everywhere especially high above Chattanooga overlooking the city and the moccasin bend of the Tennessee River, in Point Park a designated National Civil War Battlefield Memorial Park.

John observed in his book and the documentary about it that we have become a nation that no longer responds to text reasonably, but more often passionately to the spoken word. In a segment on the Joe McCarthy era, which lasted only four years in the early nineteen fifties, John pointed out that even Joe’s lawyer, Roy Cohn, who was also Donald Trumps early mentor, said of Senator McCarty that he was more concerned with the attention his rash statements garnered him more than their truth or accuracy. Sound familiar?

John went on to point out that thanks to brave news reporters who kept calling out Joe McCarthy’s misstatements and fake news that reason finally won out over passion and that the Junior Senator from Wisconsin was censured by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. The Senate has but two tools to punish wayward senators: expulsion which requires a two thirds vote and censure which requires a simple majority vote.

I am hoping that by a clear majority vote reason will win out over passion this Tuesday and that come January this country will not only have a new President but a new Senate to support him in reversing many of the missteps of these last four years. We have had dark periods before where reason helped minds to listen to our better angels and make real advances. They came at a cost, real progress always does, and heaven knows there is much progress that remains to be made. Two steps forward and three steps back is never good enough for so many too long left behind.

Like many of you I cheered twelve years ago when it looked like we as a nation had made a huge step forward electing a President of a color other than just pure white. But just as after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox many lessor angels conspired to nullify that victory over slavery with Jim Crow white supremacy laws certain ones of the same mind determined they would keep Barak Obama from accomplishing his party’s progressive platform. One weakened and watered down plank they did get passed before the mid-term losses, the ACU (Affordable Care Act, called Obama Care by some) was not and still isn’t the health care system with a Medicare like option that some better angels sought. The current administration has voted many time to kill it entirely and may yet succeed with a Supreme Court ruling by a packed conservative court after this election.

Are darker days ahead or will reason prevail over passion yet again? We shall see. I am voting for and hoping for our better angels to prevail.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White


Angels Among Us

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