40 Years Ago….

Richard Rhuad Sr.,an almost 60 year old retired civil servant is a  life long liberal and proud of that fact. While he admits to having strong opinions, he is usually willing to be taught a thing or two and always when strong ale or good Scotch is involved.  He believes in a higher power and the power in each of us. He also believes life is a struggle worth honest effort and any reward is in the journey.  Particularly if one slows down to look at the passing journey…and if Scotch is involved.  He has also been accused of housing the Holy Grail in his kitchen glass cupboard and using the Arc of the Covenant for a footstool.  His subversion has hitherto been subliminal but we are hoping he is coming out of his shell and more often.

By: Richard Rhuad Sr.

_Cronkite_with_capsulesI was watching CBS’s Sunday Morning and as part of their tribute to Walter Cronkite, they showed coverage of the landing on the moon, on July 20, 1969, 40 years ago today. I remember that day, or night actually, sitting glued to the television and being just overwhelmed by the mission and the sense that, if this was possible, anything was possible. If you were not alive at that time, you cannot understand the promise of that kind of moment. Cronkite was, at that time, the man that just about everyone counted on to provide information.  TV news, prior to CNN and 24 hour a day, beat and trivialize the news to death, was something that no one today can imagine.

Stories were researched and time allowed a sense of proportion to a story that today’s instant reporting and analysis just can’t compare to.  News today is editorial, think FOX news, nothing reported without a sneer and opinion.  Today we are, for the most part, told what to think and what to believe and we are the less for that.  Less because it of the disconnect that most seem to feel as part of the whole.
I also watched a PBS special on the ICC, the International Criminal Court.  At the end of World War II, the United States insisted that the world recognize that some crimes were so horrendous that they constituted “crimes against humanity” and that they required a justice that the world would assess on the guilty. There could be no hiding behind the phrase, ” we were only following orders”.  I would have to think that after the horrors of WWII, the idea of ethnic cleansing and genocide could never happen again, but the flaw in our character is that there is no low to our indifference, cruelty and inhumanity.

More people have been slaughtered since World War II than in any period of time in human history.  There apparently are/were no lessons learned when it comes to a species that only responds when face to face and inconvenienced.  We buy clothing made by 8 year old children who are paid a penny a day, and complain about the cost.  We never give a thought to that dish towel that costs pennies, and used to be made in South Carolina by Americans, and are now made in Asia  .. we allowed millions of jobs to be lost to save a few dollars a years, we failed to support workers in this nation and still complain about the cost,  and not in the suffering of the workers in the dark corners of the world.   But I digress, and the United States, still has not recognized the ICC, and is not a signer of the or partner in this international institution.  How is that possible ??
We also, very recently, began to worry about global warming, (forgetting that we have caused the most damage to the environment), but the Untied States is one of just a handful of nations that did not sign the Kyoto Protocol Climate agreement.  We are also the only country that fails to dip it’s flag to the host nation at the Olympics When did respect become a threat to our strength and goodness?  We have always been a nation that can “talk the talk”, but not “walk the walk”.


Anyway, what I wanted to talk about was the Senate conformation hearings for pending Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor.  I understand that it is part of the process, the political process to hold hearings, but the tone and condensation of the senators, asking about the prejudice of a “wise latina woman”, a woman who has more and varied judicial experience than any sitting member of the current Supreme Court was hard for me to watch.  Justice here in America has always been suspect, remembering that the Supreme Court, in its history has  upheld slavery and pole taxes and to keep blacks from voting, literacy requirements, only to re-interpret the “absolutes” of the Constitution.

White men of privilege have not made our nation any more fair or just in the 250 years of nationhood, by their being white.  The lack of understanding of what it is like to be a minority, or oppressed, except in an intellectual exercise kind of way, has limited justice.  Understanding the Constitution means understanding that it is a document for, and by, white landowners and any judgments beyond that are pulled, by the intellectuals of the court, by the pressure from the march of time and social justice.

13 Comments on “40 Years Ago….”

  1. wow this guy must have lots of scotch is all I can say, what a jerk, but since he is related to Grainne I’ll be kind and just say, never write and drink at the same time …….

  2. Scotch or no….. you’re one of my heros. I would like nothing more than to sit down with you and an open bottle of Chivas Regal so that we could review and solve the problems of the world. We seem to have a similar vision. I am so glad to see that you’re being published here. Well my friend, I lift the glass and toast you……

  3. You don’t have to scratch very deeply into American history to realize the fundamental truth that equality was an assumption that the Constitution was initially designed to protect white land owners against the ravages of laws that might usurp their feelings of entitlement. When you read the “Federalist Papers” or “Common Sense”, or the infamous Monroe Doctrine, you’ll see many disparaging comments made against “heathens” who could not possibly comprehend the fundamental values of the Anglo American distinction. Each minority right has been gained through bitter conflict, and there is still an underlying message in our court rooms and in our legislation that only one way is the right way, and that way is an acceptance of a doctrine that doesn’t acknowledge the basic rights of any other; not their religion, their own land owning decisions, their educational choices, their cultural distinction or their life styles. It took great minds to visualize the concepts of basic freedoms and implement their protection into a doctrine of common accord. Now it is time to take that implementation to greater heights and lose the strings attached to the subtle underlying message that alternatives to the great white American philosophy are inferior.

  4. I think you hit the nail sqarely on the head. People are always pointing to “The Constitution” and speaking on how we should strive to uphold it without giving much consideration at all as to what kind of chararcter laid behind the men who drafted it. It wasn’t written by the G-dhead, but rather by as you point out White Men, set on retaining thier “hard earned” (on the backs of slave labor) land and rights. Neither do I believe in the beginning that it was ever intended to break cleanly away from England, but to make America what they thought it was meant to be…a nicer sort of Australia.
    Thank you too for pointing out news is no longer news. Before we see it on T.V. we all know it and have an opinion already. Times have changed, but there is nothing in place to hold integrity to the stand.

  5. “think FOX news, nothing reported without a sneer and opinion.”

    Stupid. I don’t watch Fox news, but I do watch the other channels, and maybe they’re just too “subtle” to sneer while giving their opinion–they just censor thought, or don’t interview certain people for their perspectives, or slant the news, or invert the news, or change the news, or offer false opinions that were set up beforehand… the list goes on and on. Don’t pick on the one network that isn’t corporate-controlled. Silly, dumb, pointless.

    And people thought Cronkite was “neutral.” No human being (especially Scotch drinkers, LOL) can be truly neutral. In later years he has been more vocal about admitting it. Everyone has an opinion. Luckily, however, in those days you could distance yourself a little bit, be a human being, and report the news. Not everything was rush-rush (“Action News!”). Bleah.

    As for Sotomayer, I don’t want to vote in someone who felt that the US government not paying for illegal immigrants to have abortions was tantamount to slavery. What an idiot. And it shows in her hubristic comments about herself. She’s so wise–according to HERSELF.

    PS the Dems aren’t the first to nominate a Latina to the Senate. The Reps did so long ago, and it was quashed by the Dems. So much for their self-satisfied little smirks about being so open-minded.

  6. Man. Even withouth the warning “Be nice. Keep it clean.” I know I was way-off. If I could edit what I said, I would. I apologize.

    I can only “excuse” myself–which of course I can’t–by saying, first, I had no idea this was Grainne. I had no idea who it was, except a name I didn’t recognize. But Grainne, her dad, or a totally new author, I had no right to be so rude.

    I also get overreactionary because I was criticized for EVER even MENTIONING Fox news, so I get the idea that people are highly reactionary about it, and I get defensive when it’s mentioned as a paragon of idiocy. First, I don’t have TV. Second, when I did, I got my news from ABC and Yahoo, backed with research through other websites. But whenever I got a tidbit of interest and went to find it later, I had found it had disappeared from every reference….EXCEPT Fox news.

    The best example of this was when I was quoting a news program in which Obama campaign’s own surrogates are left utterly stumped when asked to list his legislative accomplishments and they couldn’t think of a thing. I looked it up later, only to find only Fox had kept it up on their site. I was told I was a FOOL for quoting Fox news, as if the mere fact of WHO was reporting it somehow negated the fact that the interview was with Obama’s campaigners. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGeu_4Ekx-o) Funny, isn’t it, that I should be told I am stupid for showing a Fox clip, when in fact it seems odd that no other network would report this fact about a man everyone was voting for? Very odd, very suspicious.

    Again, I don’t care about Fox. When I watched the channel, it was for the offensive, flatulent, rude cartoons, not the news. I am not a campaigner for Fox; I couldn’t care less. But we need to look at ALL media, not use an independently-owned channel as a scapegoat for media tampering. I have seen every channel, every newspaper, do it and worse.

  7. Savvy, this is about discussion and I think we can all take it. I didn’t write this but I edited it, and nope, not my “dad” but I wish he were, he was instead paying homage to my made up name. No worries. But if you would like something specifically edited, let one of us know and we will do it… We are after all “nice” subversives. However I happen to know that Rich believes in honest opinion of all types and gut level reactions.

  8. I was just way-off and I apologize. You don’t need to edit (that seems time-consuming on your end) but I was really not acting like myself. I broke a vow I have: never name-calling on a political topic. That was terrible of me and really not like me. I am sorry.

  9. Grainne watch your nouns …. I thought it was a verb .. you are good. As for Savvy and her comments, good going ….. I do have a bias against FOX, people haters like Glenn Beck and O’Reilly just don’t believe in anything they say, they say to hurt and to confuse, to set the agenda, and don’t allow any arguments .. but if the messenger is insincere, sooner or later these Rupert Murdock employees will be silenced by people who know that life is a conversation and a journey that required kindness and understanding, not finger pointing and baseless judgments. I took no offense to anything written here and enjoy the idea of learning new views on things I find important. I am, BTW, Grainee’s father …… and damned proud of it, even if she has a sailors’ mouth ……..

  10. Rich, i don’t blame you for being a proud poppa, and i enjoy your frank and honest perspective. I’m biased against most of the news sources; they serve up their particular brand of truth, mostly based on scandals and exposures of private lives which, if they have nothing to do with the issues on hand, should be left behind the curtain. Muck raking is nothing new, it’s always been a part of media exposure, but it’s sad when its used in place of candid reporting instead of being left to the gossip columnists.

  11. I just wanted to say that I found your web site via Goolge and I am glad I did. Keep up the good work and I will make sure to bookmark you for when I have more free time away from the books. Thanks again!

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