Monday, June 5, 2006
Personal Asides: Bud A Two Party Disappointment .The Boring, Flat Tribune Who Would You Like to See Run for President Next?
To many who read the Tribune obit on my cousin, Bud aka Father George Helfrich, I appreciate your kind viewsparticularly Jason and Dennis Martin. Yes, he struggled with clinical depression ever since he was in his early `30s. Like me, he was half German and half Irishthe depression coming from his Irish side. I have been told for years that depression can run in families and can be largely regarded as an Irish malady. Our maternal Irish grandmother, Anna Kenney Cleary, was depressed and of her six children, only three (my mother being one) escaped that inheritance. Bud was the worst hit of anyone in my generation whom I ever saw. He was manic-depressive. It meant that there were times when he was unusually ebullient just as when he was depressive: sometimes moderate. All the while he was a superb priest with a gentle, self-deprecating sense of humor. He was foreclosed from being a pastor because of his malady. Anyone have any theories about the Irish nature of this thing?
Theres some thought in my family that possibly a manic burst may have contributed to his horrific accident April 22 that left him a quadri-plegic. It was a brilliantly warm day and for some reason, despite the fact that he had a touch of Parkinsons and was 78, he got a bicycle out of the garage which no one knew he owned and drove it down some highways to the Niles library to return some videos. There, at the library building, he unaccountably piloted the bike down a cement stairway. Jerking the hand-brake to a stop, he went over the handle-bars in a catastrophic fall that broke his spine and other vertebrae. Was it just an error of judgment? Or was he so much on an ebullient high that he either didnt see the stairway or, seeing it, decided he could take a chance and surmount it? Scratch any thought that he would purposely try to injure himself: he was supremely happy, people who talked with him earlier in the day maintain. Maybe he just didnt see the stairway. If you follow me around some days, youll see real errors of judgment: like trying to go through the wrong door through preoccupation of thought. Was this what happened to Bud?
We'll never know...
My hope that there will soon be two political parties who can offer at some point conservative social value choices to the voters soared with the emergence of state Attorney General Bob Casey, Jr., running as a Democrat against Republican U. S. Senator Rick Santorum. My wish is that whenever Republicans finally turn over the reins as they must do in our cyclical politics there will be abundantly good people on the Democratic side to choose from. Casey is a rarity in Democratic politics nationally, a pro-lifer who was chosen for his candidacy by none other than Chuck Schumer. Unfortunately, the culture within the Democratic party being what it is, Casey has wooed the Capital Region Stonewall Democrats, the Harrisburg areas largest organization of gay-lesbian Democrats (and straight allies) by whom he was just endorsed. Unlike an earlier politics when on Cold War issues we had two strong candidatesRichard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960, there appears to be very little likelihood that bipartisanship on foreign or social policies will develop before 2008
With the exception of John Kass column, always incisive, the Sunday Tribune was about as tasteless as yesterdays stale doughnut and coffee. What is it about the paper that causes it to suffer from terminal dullness? My view is that it has banished any responsible conservative opinion from its formerly conservative pages: due to political correctness of the news staff and the ignorance of its business side. In contrast, with all the faults of the Sun-Times, the citys Democratic party newspaper of record, it consistently delivers crisper news than its rival. Yesterdays Perspective section was a typical yawner without a glimmer of recognition for conservative opinion. Page One of Perspective featured fugitives sought for war crimes still on the loose (thats a heart pounder, is it not?) an article siding against any effort to hold schools accountable for salacious books they assign kids to read (predictably liberal) a hoary rehash of the Deep Throat expose of Watergate a turgidly worded story on governments intrusion into privacy which concludes stunningly: Ultimately the future of NSA programs may hinge on the publics reaction to the current revelations which has been mixed [zzzzzzzzzzzz].
Continuing: a studious, tedious portrait of Washingtons most boring Senator whos supposed to be deep because he cant crystallize his thoughts concisely, Dick Lugar who sent a memo saying it is important that we come to know the new Iraqi leaders [zzzzzzzzz] An oblique piece that portends to jazz up Navy Pier with a feature writers ideas that strain to be funny but arent [zzzzzzzz] A column by predictably liberal libertarian Steve Chapman telling us that attempts to prosecute the press wont fly (another liberal sop) a non-catchy piece by Clarence Page who rarely strays off African American topics that evenly balances black attitudes on immigration without coming to a conclusion. [zzzzzzzzzz] a fairly interesting article by liberal-radical Don Rose which delineates the late George Dunne as part liberal, part conservative (interesting had it been written when Dunne was activeor at least alive, but now? [zzzzzzz]. an editorial that isnt an editorial but a meandering factual piece without much point on how gang-leader Larry Hoover was caught by bugging identification badges in prison with the startling conclusion that Hoover will never see the Sears Tower again! All of it zzzzzzzzz. Then they wonder at the Tower why the paper is failing. Not a catchy piece for conservatives in a car-load because right thinking eludes the two liberal feminists who run Perspective
As we approach the mid-point in Bushs presidency, who would you ideally like to see become the Republican nominee? (or the Democratic nominee although I imagine more readers of this Blog are Republican). And what issues would you like to see him campaign on?