Muck-Raking Makes Its Return

By 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.


                       J. Edgar Hoover  

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.

Richard Milhaus Nixon

          Richard Milhous Nixon

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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Trickle-Down is Alive and Well

By Harry M. Covert

Ivory towers remain supreme out of the nation’s capital and the trickling down may have reached an all-time gully washer.

No matter which side of the political spectrum locals find pleasurable, we are all effected by the monied, the elitists and up-and-comers.

Will Rogers

   Will Rogers

It is worth considering how state and local political leaders will be acting by following the current exhaustive and nasty presidential campaigning.

The trickle-down theory was started in the days of Will Rogers, the humorist and wit, who said: “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.”

The issue today though is this: the “ins” on the national level are battling to keep their supposed lordly and lofty positions.

The split in the nation is more recognized now, more so than anytime perhaps since the Civil War – or the 1960s. On every level this trickle down business is rather obvious in Annapolis where the Republican governor is headed for a nasty confrontation with the Democrat controlled legislature.

In Frederick County, Maryland,  and other local jurisdictions, the combat for the hearts and minds of all citizens and voters has reached seething and unfriendly proportions. The public perspective out of Winchester Hall isn’t calming down. The outlook isn’t too good there, either.

Before actual nominees of the major parties were selected, it wasn’t a surprise that most figured the campaigners would be crowned, some thought they deserved the tiaras.

Evidence of distinctive alteration of the national landscape arrived recently. Not surprisingly, the elder George H.W. Bush, a stalwart of the GOP, let seep out he would vote in the November 8 election for the Democratic Party candidate. Naturally, he was influenced by the fact his son was denied his party’s laurel.

Facts show both the traditional structure of Democrats and Republicans have been in extreme turmoil. The old days are gone.

Locally both parties will face futures quite different. Lots of leaders are walking carefully not to be tainted by the national ticket. Some are brandishing their soap boxes.

The nastiness and personal animus seem to be the order of our time. It’s not new for freewheeling campaigns, but the meanness may be at an all-time high.

Is Frederick County at war with itself? Sure seems like it. Candidates break pledges selfishly. Who asks about honesty and veracity? No slogans these days like Honest _________fill in the blank). Primary campaign pledges don’t mean squat – to borrow some slang.

The state of affairs is not good around the country or the county. The situations leave a lot to be desired and to be corrected. Is a person’s word any longer a bond? Now, that’s a discussion to be debated another time.

The precedent set by national candidates in demeaning each other has reached incredible proportions. Neither shy away from obfuscations or stretchers defined as untruths.

The genie is out of the bottle. Apologies for using such a cliché. Consider what is best for the nation, for the county for every family and individual.

It is rather easy to pick verbal fights, to rant and rave, and then pretend all is right. That’s the position seen today.

The old adage remains true: “to the victor goes the spoils.” ©