Another Sunday morning, yay. I did the customary things, and in fact absolutely blitzed the Times Sunday Puzzle at 28 minutes. Minding my own advice I left the room at 9:30 for a long walk, to the California Avenue farmer’s market. I ended up with 3.7 miles, 10K steps, for the day. This long walk was distinctly more effortful than previously. I stopped at two points on the return leg to rest on a bench, do a sudoku.
Back home I finished a piece of writing. The Writers’ Group topic for Tuesday is “election”. Yesterday and today I put together a summary of all the presidential elections I could remember, starting with Eisenhower/Stevenson in 1952. I do not remember what motivated me, but I have a bit of memory of advocating for Adlai Stevenson among my classmates, at recess, on the playground at Kapowsin Grade School.
This was a useful exercise because it reminded me of how bad things have been. Do we think the country is in political chaos today? It helps to remember Watergate and the turmoil before Nixon’s resignation. Fake news? How about when Nixon’s direct employee, Ken Clawson, forged a letter purportedly by Edmund Muskie, the strongest Democratic challenger at the time, using the epithet “Canuck”, a loaded word in New Hampshire. When it was published in a New Hampshire newsletter, Muskie lost his composure when denying the letter to the press. He might have shed angry tears (or possibly melting snow on his hat dripped down on his face), but media reports of “Muskie’s tears” destroyed his campaign. (It was 1972, when real men just didn’t cry in public.) The Democratic nomination went to George McGovern, a far weaker candidate, and Nixon won in a landslide.
Anyway, remembering that, and Johnson’s “Daisy” commercial, and other awful or despicable bits of campaigning was a good reminder of how often we’ve been in turmoil and uncertainty and seemed on the brink of chaos; yet here we are.