Nobody makes it through Life without at least as many failures as successes. In fact, you’d be delighted to make it through a single day without a stumble. But if you do fall flat, you pray the gaffe is only self-inflicted — a one-car accident, so to speak. Sadly, some of your failures have been nothing short of indelible. They simply don’t wash away with time. Uninvited, they visit you often, just show up any time of the day or night, without warning, like Cousin Eddie in Christmas Vacation. Unfortunately, you’ve never been as astonishingly resilient as Clark Griswold. Just grit your teeth behind that fake smile. No, you tend to brood. And you reserve your power brooding for the King of Failures — for the worst of your umpteen bad mistakes — for that one mistake that will live in infamy — the day you willingly sent a rather sizable check to a national political candidate. That one imbecilic act forever changed your life. That one act distributed your name, home address, email address, phone numbers and other personal data to a vast army of demographic analysts and fundraisers. Don’t be surprised if your name and number show up above urinals at highway rest stops. Your stupidity has condemned you to an avalanche of cards, letters, surveys, emails and calls. Your name and address are printed everywhere — on envelopes, at least half a dozen times on attachments, and twice on the carefully designed card that begs you for money. All the messages are urgent, critical. The NRC is especially repugnant with its ubiquitous “opinion and issues surveys.” These “exclusive,” coded documents arrive weekly, advising that you’ve been selected as an Official Survey Delegate. God, what recognition. Why, an old person could pee on himself in exultation. Then, thousands of emails remind you that each of the 400 GOP candidates running for President must have your support — send $13 today. The Governor of your own State sends you heartwarming, personal notes about his great progress; but he can continue doing the good work only with your continued backing — $100, $50, $25 (fill in the blank). Suddenly, your Senators and Representatives remember your name and promise, with your generous support, they will damn well get done what they couldn’t get done in the past, oh, six years. A fundraiser will not be denied. You can return the SASE and its contents with cryptic, even vicious messages; only to reach sightless eyes. You’re on the list, you see; you’re in the database; you have a profile — an analysis of your psychographic, psychogenic, psychosocial, psychometric, psychologic and psychotropic tendencies. Your IP address is up for grabs. Unlike the Godmother of the Clinton Crime Family, you don’t have a private server. Big Brother and all his relatives know what you read, what you watch and what you write. You may not write another check, but no matter; that nag is out of the barn. The bad news is you did indeed reach the pinnacle of stupidity; the good news is that now you can relax and do whatever dumb thing makes you happy. Gotta decide who gets the $13.
Across this great land, millions of capable men and women raise the bar of civilization. Some of them — many thousands — are world beaters. Visionary thinkers who see the possible. Scientists who advance knowledge. Teachers who inspire excellence. Engineers and tradesmen and marketers and business developers who build commerce and infrastructure. Artists who inspire. Surgeons who heal. Civic leaders and theologians who seek good will. Musicians who enthrall. Athletes who entertain. Soldiers who sacrifice. Millions upon millions of players on the world stage, each through a life’s work, each raising the bar a micrometer. And as they go about their business, in the cause of simple humanity, asking for no recognition, their country is under siege by special interest thugs — specious thought police, a decadent and degenerate media, social militant gangs and a corrupt federal Government, mired in a polluted swamp of its own making. Somehow, America’s silent majority has allowed the least worthy, the least able and the least moral to occupy the people’s houses. Meanwhile, the best, most accomplished and most honorable of us sit quietly on the sidelines, pointing fingers, evidently waiting for Divine Intervention, waiting for a white (or black) knight or the Hand of God. You are left to wonder when God left town. When morality became contemptible. When goodness became badness, and badness became goodness. When The Truth was discarded like putrid trash and The Lie worshiped like a primitive idol. When ignorance became admired and accomplishment belittled. When simple decency was simply lost. Astonishingly, in this catawampus country, people you know will vote for a criminal — a woman who broke the law she promised to obey — a woman who, with premeditation, committed High Crimes. But instead of occupying a prison cell, she may well occupy the Oval Office originally sullied by her husband. If elected, she will become the first First Lady to reign over a First Husband, a circumstance that doubtless will prompt universal laughter. If elected, America will venerate its first Crime Family. That’s a peachy prospect, isn’t it? Hollywood will rejoice. Scads of other criminals in Government will utter sighs of relief. America’s enemies will drool. American women at abortion clinics will click their heels in triumph. Aborted lives won’t know the difference. Vince Foster will roll over. The Black community will wait and wait and wait for things to get better — again. The GOP and NRC will rev up the printing presses to mail surveys to gauge public opinion — and raise money — for the 2020 campaign when they promise, by God, to uphold The Constitution and hold their peers accountable — again. And the silent majority will continue to sit quietly in horror as they watch the President and First Man stand together at the podium, with those famous Cheshire grins, as if to say, “What a bunch of fools you are.” Some of us don’t need to be told.
Megyn Kelly devotes half her prime time hour to mourn the fall from grace. Other journalists on other networks join in the lamentation. You figure broadcast media operates something like the legal profession. The barristers rumble in court and lob their verbal grenades; but after the verdict, they head to the watering hole to compare notes; and if one of their own ever takes a fall, they quickly circle the wagons. Likewise, Kelly puts on her melancholy face. She grieves, stumped how a world-class news anchor, the “face” of NBC, could possibly jeopardize his career and betray the people’s trust in him and his vaunted organization. In successive interviews, she remains sorrowful, truly despondent that a well-liked superstar could tumble from his celebrity pedestal. Her guests, equally somber, share in the sentimental eulogy. If Kelly is stumped, you’re flat stupefied that anyone is even mildly surprised that the face of NBC News is a liar. Let’s be real. Who is naive enough to believe that anyone with an IQ over 80 trusts NBC, or any other network for that matter? The Brian Williams tumble may be calamitous news to his guilt-ridden peer group; but your first thought was, “Sure, he lied; he works for NBC.” Incomprehensibly, or hilariously, the self-important news media actually believes it has a reputation to lose. And, typically, it avoids the bigger story behind the Williams disclosure. And that story is this: America has a lying culture — sown, nourished and sustained by none other than the nation’s elected leader. Not exactly breaking news, is it Matilda? Obama lies routinely, skillfully, even artistically — arguably his life’s matchless talent. If the leader lies, it follows that the people who work for him must lie. They reside in the State Department, the Cabinet, the “Justice” Department, the Treasury, the IRS — throughout the Federal landscape. Most visibly, they are the Press Secretaries and other talking heads who occupy podiums, with a straight face, mind you, to spin and recycle the boss’s original deceptions — something you might call “twice-told tales.” And what is mainstream media’s response to duplicity and treachery? Why, nothing less than to engage in a conspiracy of silence, if not compliance, to serve as a political pawn, like the nationalized media in a ruthless dictatorship. NBC furloughed Brian Williams to live off his multimillion dollar portfolio, but not because he lied. They knew he lied when he lied. They disciplined him because he got caught. Poor baby. Filled with remorse, he now will be relegated to writing a NY Times best-selling, first-hand account of his place in the sun; and then devote himself to others by accepting lucrative speech engagements in the interest of honest journalism. The unpleasant truth in all of this is, Brian Williams would still be inventing facts had someone not blown the whistle, just as J. Sandusky would still be prowling about Penn State locker room showers. Getting caught does have consequences. Oh, except when you’re the leader of the free world. Then your continual duplicity gets a free pass, not only from your peers who betray their oath of office, but also from a bankrupt media that long since lost its soul.