The Octogenarian Speaks – An Unpublished Editorial

It’s been a while since I have written a column. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to. I just haven’t been able to get the words flowing; maybe a form of writer’s block. What’s wrong? It’s not that I don’t have anything to say. Actually, it’s just the opposite. I’m bombarded every day by things that concern me greatly, things that make me sad, frightened, or angry. Things that keep me awake at night. Things that make me crazy. These topics are all worthy of writing about, but it seems my unhappy mental state is preventing me from focusing enough to write coherently.

So, I’ve decided to attack the problem head-on, and just vent. I hate to subject you, the readers, to my efforts at catharsis, but I don’t know how else to get the juices flowing again. So here you go, a genuine uncontrolled rant on topics that make me crazy, with my opinions sure to piss off every one of you at some point. Please bear with me and forgive me.

Today’s Topic – National Political Rhetoric. The political rhetoric these days is sickening, stupid, and divisive, and it’s coming from people who are, or have been, in the highest leadership positions in our government, and from media sources who have abandoned all ideals of journalistic ethics or accuracy. And it comes equally from both ends of the political spectrum. The Democrats shout that the Republicans are Fascists hell-bent on destroying our democracy, and the Republicans scream the same sentiment about the Democrats. The most recent example is President Joe Biden’s “battle for the soul of this nation” speech in Philadelphia, where he said “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” and “there’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat to this country.” He claims that “the MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law.” This is hard for me to swallow from a president who a week earlier, by a constitutionally questionable executive fiat, ignored the legislative branch, and unilaterally ordered more than $400 billion of student debt be forgiven at the taxpayers’ expense. Biden is no one to talk about a disrespect for the Constitution. Another element of Biden’s “soul of the nation” speech that makes me crazy, is his call for “unity” when his speech most definitely does not.

Donald Trump, of course, is no slouch either when it comes to uttering insane and divisive rhetoric and acting in disregard of the Constitution. Responding to Biden’s speech, Trump said, “Joe Biden came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to give the most vicious, hateful and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president,” then added that Biden is an “enemy of the state.” Earlier, responding to news that the FBI had put pressure on Facebook to suppress the true story of Hunter Biden’s laptop (I’ll save the FBI for a future rant), Trump demanded on his social media platform that he must be immediately reinstated as president of the United States. His words: “REMEDY: Declare the rightful winner … or, and this would be the minimal solution, declare the 2020 Election irreparably compromised and have a new Election, immediately.” The peaceful transition of power is one of the most important aspects of our Constitutional democracy and is what has set the U.S. apart from almost every other government on the planet. Trump’s outrageous conduct has raised the level of Americans’ distrust of our election process to where it may be irreparable. That’s not to say that the Democratic Party’s response to the so-called January 6 “insurrection” hasn’t also been outrageous. To be sure, what happened January 6 was bad, and Trump’s involvement with it was at the very least reckless, if not unlawful, but what the January 6 Congressional Select Committee did was also unconscionable, and could have been scripted by George Orwell. Call me old-fashioned, but, as a former lawyer and judge, I still believe that the best method of arriving at the “truth” is that used in our justice system: a fair trial, where the trier-of-fact is impartial, and both sides of an issue are represented and subject to cross-examination. None of that happened in the January 6 Committee proceedings. It was pure and simple a political hit piece.

When it comes to Donald Trump and Joe Biden, in my opinion neither one of those idiots/jerks has any business running our country, and what I really lose sleep over is why our government system has become so corrupt that it is unable to produce leaders who are reasonable, intelligent, competent, and actually have the best interest of the nation at heart.

Well, if you made it this far into my article, thank you! Chances are you probably disagree with at least something I said, but if it’s any consolation, I feel much better having vented, and I’m inspired to write some more columns in the future. There are plenty of things that make me crazy right now. To name just a few: drought, dams, fires, homelessness, city government, the Water Resources Control Board, water curtailments, the FBI, Roe v. Wade/Dobbs v. Jackson. If I didn’t piss you off with this column, I probably will in a future one.

Bob Kaster
Yreka, California

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