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Three score and ten or more

Thursday, October 22, 2009


My concept of fear has  evolved over the years.  I used to be afraid of dark rooms and, as a little boy, I asked my mother to come in and look under the bed, in the closet and verify that there was nothing to fear in these locations   Gradually I became confident that I could go to bed  by myself, confident that nothing yucky was going to come out of the darker places and do me harm.  (Though I still  tried to sleep without arms or feet hanging out over the edge of the mattress, just in case something was under the bed that might find those parts appetizing. 

Gradually I developed a clear  understanding that though things might make me nervous (going on stage, first night (I did a stint in Long Beach, California where I found that one of the world’s great actresses routinely had someone standing off state holding a bucket incase she had to throw up before her first entrance); asking for a date, taking an exam in Hymena Hoffman’s history class, (one of the worlds all time great teachers, but a giver of exams that might curl your hair) driving a car solo for the first time, working up nerve to kiss your first girl, etc.  Fright was reserved for things that might create permanent damage.  There are things in my life that seriously frightened me:  Driving a truck full of blocks down a steep curvy hill and putting my foot on the brake only to have the brake pedal go down to the floor; standing in the jump door of a Ford tri-motor airplane wearing a forest service parachute not much bigger (in my opinion) than an umbrella, then, on cue, jumping out that door, knowing it to be the last voluntary act of my life; prowling the city dump with friends in search of (I don’t remember what we were looking for) and having a brown bear rise up out of the refuse about ten feet away, looking like he was sixteen feet tall and shaking his head angrily; climbing my first forty plus foot pole with belt and hooks to instal the cross bars, braces and insulators to help install the Union Pacific Railroad CTC (central train control system), then feeling my arms, without my volition, reach out and clutch the pole (“freezing” on the pole, they call it), necessitating that at least two other climbers, (seemed like twenty) climbing the pole, attaching a pulley to my back, and literally prying my arms loose so they could get me back on the ground. (Actually the most frightening thing was when the foreman told me I had to immediately climb a pole again, and finish the job, or be laid off – with a wife and three children, one of them newborn, all, needing my salary to survive), that second pole was as bad as the jump door of the airplane). 

These have always been the kinds of things that I felt were frightening, but they are immediate things, and you either survive them or not (obviously I did).  When I say I am frightened, I don’t fear an immediate strike of lightening, but my fear is as vivid, just not as immediate and my fear is not of personal death, but for the death of the type of nation I have come to love.

A number of things which have happened  since the election of President Obama which have made me nervous and distrustful, but I never felt an emotion that approached real fear until the administration launched its attack on the Fox news network  (The Fox Network such as it is, holds no special place in my heart) an act, which, if upheld, essentially vitiates any hope we have for freedom of expression, a central focus of our Constitution and our way of life.  Political correctness forces have been picking at this freedom for some time, but this is a frontal assault on the core of Bill of Rights.   Almost at the same time it was revealed that our country (as one of a group) has endorsed a United Nations resolution that could become law in our country if some have their way, making public speech or criticism of an faith or religious group an international crime (the article I read implies that it identified this form of criticism as a form of terrorism. 

The implications are mind boggling and hold more threat to our existence as it is than could be completely imagined. 

I was calming down on this subject, but as I sat in our Cardiologist’s office, the President was shown being interview by some lady newsperson and his answers to her softball questions were so self  convicting of Obama’s feeling that any organized criticism of his programs deserve stifling that my feeling rose again.  Thus, this post!!!


At 1:24 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Boy! You've done some scary things.

I haven't actually had the "feeling" of fear at Obama's admin but I've had this growing feeling of pessimism.

PS I'm so ODed on politics that I said to myself this morning: "I'll go read Richard's blog."

It was not my lucky day.

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Ed said...

I guess I'm kind of with Patrick on this one. I'm not fearful of the Obama administration, rather I have a feeling more along the lines of "here we go again." Just once in my life time, I would like to see a president who believed in minimalism when it comes to the federal government. The last five certainly haven't.

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

pessimism is what I felt during the Carter fiasco and occasionally with other Presidents. Nervousness and pessimism and "here we go again" was my reaction to the bailouts and things like that, but a direct and conscious attack (not really on FOX NEWS at all) or series of attacks on the Constitutional right of free speech, to me is really frightening. I would hope it would be frightening to everyone.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Kelly said...

Richard, I would like to post a copy of this at http://rescivitatis.blogspot.com. I hope you don't mind. I will leave a link back to you.

At 9:18 AM, Blogger Sue said...

So funny that you should write about this, because my blog today is on the very same subject.

Great minds fear alike, cousin...



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