I needed to clear my head. Hours in front of the computer screen, working on several projects with impending deadlines, too much caffeine and campaign noise were holding me captive, wearing me down. I needed to chew on some thoughts and digest them. I headed out into the crisp, sunny afternoon, a list of errands penciled every-which-way on the back of an envelope.
With piles of books just about everywhere, I really did not need another, however, when it comes to books, want has always trumped need and there was one book I wanted which was on a shelf of the Thomas Ford Library in Western Springs. A quick internet check of my inter-libary loan catalogue showed the book at this library, which was on my route. This Western Springs Library is a lovely, Lannon stone structure with an exemplary staff. It sits on a busy corner, surrounded by trees and embodies all a public library should be.
I parked my car a block away, had a nice stroll to the heavy wooden door, found the book, perused the sale cart (but did not succumb), and headed back out the door towards my car. Something caught my eye.
A feather and a Q.
I have endeavored, in the 6 1/2 years of rambles here on the Cutoff, to write of nature, books, family, friends, good deeds, bits and bobs of life. I have purposefully stayed away from political positing and views. In the course of time, you, dear reader, have come to visit me here. You come from near and from far. You are family and friends I have known for a very long time, and friends I am just now meeting. You are from Down Under and Across the Big Pond, and so many places in between – and you all matter to me.
All Americans are not what you see in the news these days. If some of the political rhetoric you are seeing and hearing is troubling to you, it should be. It is to me as well. Discourse is healthy and part and parcel where free speech is championed. What I, and perhaps you, are hearing these days is something different.
Rhetoric of hate and blame has been used before in history. The stirring up of crowds who are unsatisfied for whatever reason and willing to blame”others” has led us down some of our darkest hours in history.
A political candidate, whose opening salvo is to immediately forge a wall between neighboring nations and brand a culture as rapists and murderers, shows a glimpse into the character of that candidate. Demeaning comments about women is not a trait I seek in a presidential candidate. From locker room language profanity, to base innuendoes of genitals, this is not the mark of a statesman. Threats and innuendoes of how things will be done, who will cow-tow down to his orders, is not what I look for when I cast my vote and it is not what I hope for my children and grandchildren, my country, and for yours.
Campaign rallies have always been raucous events and a place for protestors, but, the outlandish, dangerous taunting that is meant to incite from the podium by a presidential candidate leaves me fearful and alarmed for our common good.
In a place in time when we are working to halt bullying in our young, how do we explain to our children this man, a contender for the office of the President of the United States, who has bullied workers, businesses, war heroes, reporters, women, and the men and woman he has been running against, that bullying is not allowed. How do we make a country safe when such a candidate shouts from the podium for security to go ahead and beat up a protester and that he, himself, will pay their legal fees – or even proclaim he would like to punch someone in the mouth?
It was seeing the feather and the Q that brought me to this point where I need to say what I need to say. I am embarrassed and I am appalled. We are better than this. American is better than this. Our political parties are better than this.
The letter Q and the quill have long symbolized mankind’s ability to write. It is fitting to be on a public library, where we can freely read what is written. I thought of this, of the freedoms we have, of the power of the pen and of a candidate whose security staff bowled down a photographer. Other photographers and journalists were right there, recording it in their varied professions. This candidate has implied, in what I deem a loosely veiled threat, that if he is president, he will change all this – and more.
I think not. I wasn’t trumped when I went looking for a book, and I pray we will not be trumped by a bully.
Birds will keep flying and quills will fall – and we are better than this.