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October 17, 2016

The Duty is Almost Here

Harry M. Covert

Well, now, if the campaigning hasn’t turned voters into cynics, it’s rather close. Thankfully, we're in the home stretch. Let's just count the days as they fly by to November 8.


As I've done in every election in the space of 55 years, my ballot will be marked again and my duty accomplished.


I don't recall a more important or scarier time in the voting procedure than this year. Common sense has been thrown out the window.


Of course, the battle lines were drawn in 1960. It was promoted that the nation was in peril if that young Massachusetts senator was elected. The slurs were the talk and thoughts. Imagine, they preached and dreaded, a Roman Catholic president?


Many experts were writing that the very basic virtues of the country were at stake. Opponents were slinging mud big time promoting that if elected that young whippersnapper, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, would be taking his orders from the Vatican, Holy See and Pope, in Rome. Didn't quite turn out that way. The sun rose; the sun set; and the make believe Camelot had its day.


A few years down the road there was a knockdown-drag out. The Texas bully, Lyndon Baines Johnson, took the measure of Arizona's Sen. Barry Goldwater. The latter was tagged an absolute right winger who was anxious to blow up the world. LBJ got involved in Vietnam. Without going into detail about the 55,000 U.S. casualties, it took mean old Richard Milhous Nixon to bring an end to the bitter battle.


In a few more years American Christendom jumped on the bandwagon of Georgia's peanut farmer Jimmy Earl Carter because he was a good Sunday School teacher. He was in because churchgoers figure he was the anointed one.


Thanks to Mr. Carter's style, evangelicals were later turned off and got involved in elections. In reality, they put the fear of God into the politicians and status quo. The religious folk finally realized voting was their right and duty, too. Evangelicals took to the polls and changed the playing field.


The nation's face changed rapidly and along came a movie star. For eight years he was leader of the pack and all the insiders and outsiders stood at attention and good things happened.


He faced down Mikhail Gorbachev, the Russian. That was a big deal. No one has done anything like it since.


Yes, the election process is coming around again. Just think of all the exaggerations, misinformation and propaganda we're enduring to sway the results.


I still can't get over the conduct today of the principals and their teams. Muckraking is making a smashing return. I believe the master newspaper muckers back in the day – Drew Pearson, Jack Anderson, Walter Winchell and probably J. Edgar Hoover – are turning over in their graves because of the unnatural political conflict today. While the situation may be entertaining to many, and downright nasty, the die is cast. Dirty talking is in vogue and rules of decency have evaporated locker rooms or not.


There's no point in philosophizing all the issues facing the nation.


The free press is not out of control. It's the people, voters and supposed leaders who give writers and news outlets the subjects and oomph for readers and viewers.


When JFK was running, he was vilified for his religious faith. A few years ago Mitt Romney had the same challenge and traditional faithers are at it again with the influx of Islam. Has anyone lately heard that old hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers?” Doubtful, and some critic would probably be crying “politically incorrect.”


My official specimen ballot has arrived. I am ready. I'll spare readers my choices.


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