Joe’s Journal

Halftime in America

Ramblings from an old scribbler
Wed, 06/29/2022 - 7:00am

The solstice passed last week on Tuesday, June 21 at 5:13 a.m. EDT. We are halfway to 2023.

Was it just yesterday when I put the snow shovels back in the garage and wheeled the lawn mower from under the back stairs replacing it with the snow blower that blew a gasket last February?

If you happen to live under the Boothbay Harbor footbridge or camp out behind the concrete containers at Wiscasset’s former Maine Yankee nuclear plant, you may have missed last week’s news. A lot happened.

And, if you paid attention at all, no matter if you are on the right or the left, chances are you are in a swivet or worse.Take your pick.

Want to trigger a family squabble or start a tavern fight? Just mention the price of gasoline or grub, Roe V. Wade, the Second Amendment, or comment on the committee probe into events preceding Jan. 6, 2021.

On any of those topics, you can bet the guy or the gal sitting next to you will be glad to let you know, in no uncertain terms, that (here you may insert your opinion).

As for the Congressional hearings surrounding the events preceding the invasion of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, I plan to wait until the dust settles before I make up my mind.

As a Red Sox fan, I know that someone always might just hit a homer with two out in the last of the ninth inning and change the story. Yogi Berra said: “It ain’t over till it’s over.” He was right.

But I will never forget driving my bride down I-95 heading for Boston for a Jan. 6 afternoon date with the Dana-Farber docs when I heard NPR’s Judy Woodruff exclaim: "They have breached the Capitol.”

We live in difficult times. The road to the future features potholes and washouts. Don’t let anyone blow smoke up your exhaust pipe and tell you it will all go away if you will just sit down, and shut your eyes.

For the next six months, expect political and special interest groups on all sides to pull out all stops spending millions. The messages will not be subtle. It will be hammer time.

The conventional political wisdom, as proclaimed by the late Massachusetts Democrat Tip O’Neill, tells us that all politics is local.

If so, the coming election season should be dominated and decided by kitchen table issues like inflation and our reaction to the skyrocketing costs of local goods and services.

This year, I am not so sure.

The reaction, pro and con, to the recent Supreme Court reversal of Roe V. Wade and their loosening of gun regulations have the potential to bring new and powerful voices into the fray from the distaff side of the family.

Then there is the probe into the conduct of the former president.

How will the nation react to the Jan. 6 committee presentations? So far, TV talking heads, including Fox News commentators, acknowledge the House Committee has presented powerful stuff. And it was presented by former presidential appointees, Republicans all.

The committee's work continues. But I fear the fallout from this probe could soon get messy, real messy.

Our dear readers who now sport white hair remember the events of 1963 to 1971. That was the last time we experienced a landslide of events as unsettling as today. In case it slipped your mind, there was a war going on, many approved of it, and others did not. In addition, the nation struggled over civil rights as we all wrestled with seismic political and racial change.

Remember bussing? Remember hippies, yippies, and the 1968 national political conventions?

Political rhetoric, some with religious overtones, got so hot that we saw the unthinkable. We all remember the murder of our prominent political leaders like President John F. Kennedy, Rev. Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy, and the slaying of four Kent State students.

God forbid it comes to this again.

Old-time editors and veteran cops used to tell young reporters like me not to worry about wild threats of violence. They said it is just hot heads blowing off steam. They never follow through.

I hope they are right. I do. But, in recent months, knuckleheads did terrible things in classrooms, theaters and grocery stores. And children died.

For the sake of our beloved nation, I hope and pray that the old editors and veteran cops are right.