Mother’s Day, 2018: God blessed mothers and teased the rest of us this morning with a special thundershower, emphasis on “thunder.” Rain for two minutes, twenty-hundredths total. He baptized us by “sprinkling,” while I was hoping for “immersion.”
After breakfast, I settled into my morning ritual of reading the Hutch News. I love to read. More specifically, I enjoy reading good writing. I have a habit of critically evaluating what I read, a routine based on my many hunched-over hours wielding a red pen and grading student essays. The Hutch News has an excellent stable of writers, both locally and nationally. But, since proofreaders and copy editors don’t work for free and the News can’t afford to pay them, errors creep in.
One error last week got me thinking because of an unforeseen connotation.
Father Bob Layne had an excellent column last week pointing out the differences between what is legal and what is moral. Father Bob quoted from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address about “government of the people, buy the people, and for the people, . . .” I’m sure Father Bob meant “By” the people, but the phrase “buy the people" set me wondering.
I see a lot of evidence about our government and our politicians trying to “buy” our favor. A Freudian slip? Maybe. Or maybe truth slipped through a crack in the gloom. As songwriter Leonard Cohen said, “There’s a crack in the world, that’s how the light gets in.”
The Hutch News also featured a Western Front letter which left me scratching my head in disbelief and mumbling “Huh?” The writer pointed out how wrong it was to call Donald Trump a “misogynist.” As evidence, he quoted Trump saying “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful (women)—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it--you can do anything.”
Since a misogynist is defined as someone who hates women, the letter writer is correct: Donald Trump is not a misogynist. He is a lot of other unsavory things (I’ll let you fill in the blanks), but he is not a misogynist. However, the writer’s defense is a little lacking. I take exception to his statement that Trump is simply acting on his “male sexual nature.” What a putdown of men!
Nor do I see any evidence that “he [Trump] does respect women when he is talking to them in person.” Defending Donald Trump by noting he is not, strictly speaking, a misogynist, is like praising a cannibal by adding that at least he always eats his vegetables too.
The entire Trump phenomenon reminds of something lawyer Clarence Darrow said nearly a century ago. “When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President. I’m beginning to believe it.”
Another quote to keep in mind during these acrimonious and contentious times comes from one of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott. “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people that you do.”
Finally, lest I fall prey to a dismal and cynical outlook, I try to remember something from author J.R.R. Tolkien: “Not all those who wander are lost.” I find that strangely reassuring.
Jim Schinstock is a retired college teacher. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.