I'm Right Again Dot Com

                             A new commentary every Wednesday — October 5, 2016


    No one needs to have the proverb explained. I thought I might find from whence it came—The Bible, or some ancient Greek philosopher, but one source identifies it as an old Danish saying, another a Chinese proverb. The idiomatic expression apparently became part of English speech around 1500.

    It seems that the length of time magnifies the manner in which we judge major changes in paradigms and those responsible for bringing them about.

     When I look back over nearly 90 years (I was born in 1927) changes both radical and sublime seem to present themselves like chapters in a book.

     I remember the throes of the Great Depression for it greatly impacted my childhood and all those of my age more so than any other happenstance. I am barely acquainted with what brought us to that era, but I now realize what a miraculous turnaround Franklin Delano Roosevelt performed in an amazingly brief span of time—by tapping into the wellsprings of American resources and endurance. By the age of 63, at the end of the war in Europe, he had given us his last full measure of life.

   World Wars I and II (actually, it was one long conflict with a brief breathing spell in between) and those who lived in them changed the face of Europe and to a greater extent, the era of the great world empires—Great Britain, most of all. 

    1935-1945; there may never be another decade like it again in the ever-startling life of these United States. Unexpectedly, out of the heartland there came a severely modest man, from whom we expected so little and yet he burned like a pine-knot on the world scene. Harry S. Truman dared use the bomb that may have saved millions of lives—or could bring about the end of life on this planet.

    Truman stood up to Stalin and with the indomitable Winston Churchill, saved western Europe from becoming a part of the Soviet empire. He did not hesitate to fire MacArthur, at the time our longest-revered military leader, over the conduct of the war on the Korean peninsula and reinforced the dominant position in our nation that presidents are deemed to have over the military. Few would have predicted his fortitude and intelligence. Truly, the office can make the man...or woman.  

    Dwight Eisenhower led us to victory in Europe, then as President, warned us of the "Military-Industrial Complex." I continue to be amazed by the irony of this coming from a military man of such great renown.

    Vietnam: Three Presidents—Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon failed to measure the will of the Vietnamese to govern themselves.

    I cannot help but feel very deeply that the death of Osama bin Laden necessitated our being in Afghanistan. Time will tell if it becomes a viable nation after a decade of historic war and corruption. The opium poppy fields are greater than ever before. The Taliban are far from finished.

    Time will tell if the trade-off in Iraq was worth the cost; whether the end of Saddam Hussein will have had the slightest effect on the resolution of a religious war that has gone on between Sunni and Shia there for over 1300 years. How will the Bushes, father and son, as well as Obama be judged in another 100 years for the decisions they made there?

    How long will it take to put an end to the medieval menace of the so-called Islamic State? How long before Bashar Assad is brought before the International Bar of Justice for crimes against his own people?

    Have our leaders correctly judged the will of Iran for dominance in the region and will Israel survive the threat of the Ayatollahs?

    Most important question of all: Who and what is Vladimir Putin?

    So now, we stand on the cusp of another great change in our Presidency no matter which one of the parties' nominees wins in the next five weeks. These are momentous times, as were all that passed before.

    At no time in this past lifetime, the wildest guesses would not have begun to describe the future we all living out today. Time will tell, but judging the future by the changes in the recent past, beggars our feeble imagination to try to divine what it may bring.

    -Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself." - Joseph L. Mencken


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