“Washington, D.C. is a city filled with people who believe they are important.” – David Brinkley
In the late 1960’s, each weekday at 5:30 pm, my dad would pull his ’52 Chevy truck into the driveway. Through the open screen door, the engine’s six cylinders would fall silent; followed by the sound of him closing the truck’s solid door. You could set your watch by it.
My younger sister and I would scream, “Daddy!”
Swinging the screen door open, we would barrel down the concrete steps, arms raised, and race across the yard to embrace him.
Dinner would be ready when he arrived. Gathering around our Formica dinette table, we would give thanks for the meal before us and begin to eat.
From the living room, the sound of the Huntley-Brinkley report on NBC would fill our small kitchen and dining area. My dad was never a Cronkite man. He trusted Huntley and Brinkley.
Chet Huntley and David Brinkley were seasoned journalists. By the time I was aware of them, they’d both been reporting the news for decades. They knew how to do their jobs.
To say that 1968 was a tumultuous year in America would be more than an understatement. The Vietnam War raged on. Robert Kennedy and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., were both assassinated, and a lot of people were hurt and arrested after violence broke out at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Angry people had gathered to protest a war that was obviously at a stalemate.
That same year, others in the country were angry about civil rights. Others were angry about the elitist political class who seemed oblivious to the will of the people.
“This country is going down the toilet,” my father said as he reached for another piece of bread.
The voices of Huntley and Brinkley continued to make their way into our evening meal. They told us of the protestors, the injuries; even a journalist who had been caught up in the melee, and was arrested by police.
“This is not how we are supposed to act in this country,” my father said.
I sat and listened, not quite understanding much of it, but understanding that my country was fighting within itself, and that my parents were worried about its future.
Recently, about 5:30 on a weekday, I pulled my 2007 Ford truck into the driveway. I turned off the engine, and made my way into the house. I sat down for dinner.
The sound of the anchors on one of the cable news channels filled the room. They were talking about violence that had occurred at a political rally in Chicago. Many had been arrested.
Some people who were there claimed they were angry about civil rights. Others were there because they were angry about an elitist political class who seem oblivious to the will of the people.
The year 1968 was 48 years ago. Virtually every generation of politician over the last five decades has promised to fix the same problems.
Yet the same problems are still with us. We keep believing their promises, and we keep sending them to Washington.
It’s the same suits with different people wearing them.
If we don’t start making better choices in who we trust with our country, our grandchildren will have the same problems 50 years from now.
You can set your watch by it.
©2016 John Moore
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Photo credit: NBC News