The Long Way Home 7.5.24

The Long Way Home 7.5.24 

Last week, the Bohunk asked me if I’d like to watch Grumpy Old Men before bed. Thinking she meant the 1993 comedy, I said, “Absolutely.” A chance to laugh at our accents, our winters, and grumpy old men.

I was surprised when she called up CNN, a strange venue for a serious comedy. Expecting to glimpse Ann-Marget, I saw Dana Bash and Jake Tapper instead.

Then, President Biden shuffled on stage, making a fair impression of Burgess Meredith. I don’t know if it was our little television, but he seemed to have the ghastly pale of the spirit that is Dicken’s Jacob Marley. 

After Biden got to his podium, Donald Trump strutted on stage like Walter Matthau. However, his appearance was perhaps closer to Benito Mussolini if Mussolini had lived well into his eighth decade. 

As a recovering political junkie, I decided this episode of two grumpy old men, both running to be the leader of the free world, deserved at least a small amount of my attention.

The next day,  I got an email from my favorite foreign national, Ade. 

Ade was a farmer in the Devon region of the UK. He and Wendy visited the North Shore on a few vacations and contemplated retiring to Minnesota. Sadly, he chose southern Spain for his golden years. We still maintain a robust correspondence.

After commiserating over black flies of the Northwoods, he commented on the presidential debate. He wrote, “It was on very late our time, and I watched until I was too tired, and frankly couldn't be bothered anymore. Seems to us in the rest of the world that if they are the best that you can offer then it's a pretty poor job. The old man versus the con man. Neither would inspire confidence in me.” 

As the actual debate progressed, the candidates ventured into bragging about who has the lowest PGA handicap. As someone with experience in golf club bars, the crowing about who has the lowest handicap is common among old guys who would need a little blue pill to brag about their success in romance.

I did hang around on CNN long enough to hear Trump claim sole credit for overturning a half-century old Supreme Court decision that created a constitutional right, with guidelines, to abortion. Many Congresses can be blamed for not putting the Roe vs. Wade decision into law, which would have protected that right. The judges Trump nominated, the ones who voted to overturn, testified in confirmation that Roe was settled precedent. What could have changed their minds?

Trump said that “everyone,” including all legal scholars, wanted the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade. Not all legal scholars, and fewer than 40% of the population wanted Roe set aside.

He went on to say that ours is a failing country, a hellscape of violence and fear brought to us by illegal immigration. At one point, he claimed hundreds of thousands have been raped and murdered by these brown-skinned convicts leaving their own countries too come, illegally, to America. 

Whatever you make of that claim, the murder of hundreds of thousands (in 2022, there were 21,156 reported cases of murder or non-negligent manslaughter in our country) would be front page stuff. Of Trump’s words, the phrase “gross exaggeration” arises. 

Trump also described a failing economy. 

I’m just a poor, old, country dweller. I see a vibrant economy here. New businesses startup in Cook County all the time. 

Entry level jobs here pay two to three times the Federal minimum wage, and have for some time. 

Community/touristy events every weekend, along with our natural beauty,  attract more than a million visitors each year dropping $150 or more per day per person. 

Since Memorial Day, I’ve witnessed a veritable parade of late model pickup trucks and SUVs pulling fishing boats priced in the mid to high five figures moving east and west on Highway 61. It looks to me that lots of people in this economy are doing quite well.

I dislike political candidates who shout that my country is going to hell. Especially when my own eyes tell me otherwise. 

Now that my hair is full gray, I believe mandatory retirement age for elected officials, appointed judges, and government bureaucrats are plainly a good thing. By the time our fragile bodies pass 70, they ought to be sent out to pasture. 

This year,  I’ll vote for a fading octogenarian who believes in my country over a 78-year-old telling me I live in a hellscape of historic proportions that seems to exist only in his fevered mind. 

Mandatory retirement ages, like Medicare for All, are in my sights after November.