Peaceful Transition

Today we are witness to an historic event unlike any other.

For the 44th time in nearly 230 years, we watched the peaceful transition of power from one President to the next President.

Contrast what is happening in Washington DC today to what is happening across the Atlantic Ocean in the West African nation of Gambia.

In that nation a President who came to power in a military coup in 1994 is refusing to leave after he was defeated in an election by the people. The new President was sworn into office in neighboring Senegal.

Last night Senegalese troops moved into Gambia to force the defeated by the voters President from office. Three other West Africa nations also have troops poised to assist.

Back here in the US of A, even though about 1/3 of the Democrats in the House of Representatives boycotted the inauguration of Donald John Trump as the 45th President of the United States and nearly a million protesters marching on the Capitol, the reins of power were handed over by President Barack Obama to his successor without troops or riots.

This is more than just an American tradition. It is the embodiment of what it means to be America. This transferal of power is the very essence that makes our nation, who it is.

Politics, ideological differences, angst over the outcome of the election all pale compared to the significance of this day which is the life blood of our great nation.

From the Cornfield, you may disagree with the politics, the ideology, the party – another right as Americans – but what matters is that we are all Americans.

Congratulations to President Donald J. Trump!

Mr. President Elect, You Are Wrong

Mr. President Elect Donald J. Trump, you are wrong in ignoring, maligning and falsely accusing a member of the national press corps because you are miffed and transferring your hurt ego in a way which goes against the spirit of the First Amendment.

I watched the first press conference by the President Elect since July on Wednesday.

Often during the campaign at such events I thought the national press corps was biased or had a jaundiced attitude coloring their freedom of the press duties. But yesterday, it was the man who will be sworn in to the highest office of the land in eight days from today who slighted not only the press, but the American people.

Trump was rightly upset with Buzzfeed publishing an unsubstantiated dossier, which has already seen portions debunked, in its entirety on its web site in the false sentiment of being transparent.

Where Trump went wrong was singling out CNN and its reporter Jim Acosta and applying the breach by Buzzfeed to CNN and Acosta. Referring to the network and Acosta as “fake news” was completely false and inaccurate.

Yes, during the campaign, at times, CNN did have a holier-than-thou attitude that was unbecoming and often seemed to be personally combative with the President Elect and his surrogates. I wrote and complained about it at the time – ‘Fess Up, Brianna.

This was not that case.

The network rightly reported that there was a two-page addendum to the intelligence briefing Trump and President Barack Obama received last week which noted there were allegations that Russia had obtained information and date on the President Elect in hopes of compromising his presidency and casting its legitimacy in doubt.

CNN steered clear of the scurrilous allegations.

It is one thing to refuse to answer a question, you do not like. It is quite another to throw a reporter out and bar him or her from their constitutional right to report and gather information to inform the public.

From the Cornfield, Mr. President Elect, in this case, you do owe both Acosta and CNN, the American public, an apology.

You allowed your mouth to run off before your brain was in gear.

Indelibly Etched in My Mind

My ex-in-laws were at Pearl Harbor on that “Day of Infamy.”

My ex-mother-in law wrote about her experience so her daughter who was 9 months old at the time would know what it was like.

When she finally got to leave Hawaii for the mainland they spent a month aboard a ship from Hawaii to the east coast.

Here is what she wrote:

December 7, 1941

Indelibly Etched in My Mind
by Margaret Huey

Each year around December seventh, countless individuals recall, with unerring detail, exactly what they were doing when the bombing of Pearl Harbor occurred. For those of us who were there, the events of that and succeeding days are indelibly etched in our minds.

I was twenty years old, the wife of a Marine Corps Lieutenant, and mother of a five month old baby girl, Kay. Today, I am seventy, wife of the same Lieutenant, now a retired Colonel, mother of seven children and grandmother to sixteen. The fifty year old memory is as vivid in my mind as if it happened last Sunday.
On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, my husband had taken our 1940 Ford and driven the fifteen miles from our home in Honolulu to the base at Pearl Harbor. He was to assume his post as Duty Officer of the Day, beginning at eight o’clock.

I left Kay with my neighbor, Amy Jean, wife one of my husband’s classmates, to attend mass. She was alone with her 15 month old son, Tommy, as her husband was on Midway Island. I walked the nine blocks to Waikiki Avenue to church for the seven thirty mass. At approximately seven fifty-five the mass was interrupted by noise which was reminiscent of the finale of a Forth of July fireworks display. The priest intuitively knew something was wrong. He gave us a quick blessing and told us we could leave but to proceed in the manner of a fire drill. Everyone was stunned but there was no panic. With God’s blessing, I wanted to return home as quickly as possible, but had no car.

I had put all my change in the collection plate and entered a phone booth in hopes someone had forgotten to pick up a nickel from the coin return slot. I found it empty. I dumped the contents of my purse on the floor. Luckily I found a nickel to make a call to Amy Jean. She tried to assure me everything was okay, saying the disturbance was nothing more than maneuvers off Sand Island. I looked at the sky and saw it peppered with flack and large gray puffs of smoke from anti-aircraft guns. I begged her to bring the babies and pick me up.
She arrived with the babies and a neighbor, a sailor who had come home for shore leave Saturday, December 6th. His ship was the U.S.S Arizona. She felt if there was trouble, we could take him to his ship.

The Hawaiian National Guardsmen were on the streets and the traffic was getting horrendous. We drove as far as Hickam Field, near the prison, when a guardman told us we could go no further. I argued saying my husband was Lt. Huey and Duty Officer of the Day at the Marine Corps Base. “Lady,” he shouted, “I don’t care if he is Admiral Dewey, you cannot proceed. This is war! I am sure he will be busy all day.” He told us to drive the car into the old sugar cane field to our right and take cover. He instructed our neighbor, the sailor, to go with him, joining other sailors in a truck to Pearl Harbor.

We sat in the car with our babies and wondered what would happen next. We were not afraid, only angry we could not proceed to Pearl Harbor, or go home. We had the car radio on and all stations were broadcasting, “This is not a drill, this is war! Stay in your homes.” Requests were being made for motorcycles, delivery trucks and ambulances. Doctors and nurses were told to report to their hospitals.

Within a few minutes, army trucks, filled with soldiers, were proceeding from Hickam Field to Pearl Harbor. They seemed like a happy lot, yelling and waving. It was like watching a parade. They too knew little of what they would see at Pearl Harbor.

Not far from us, about two city blocks, a plane descended and strafed some cars. We could see the red ball markings and knew it was not our plane. In truth, we did not know whose plane it was. We saw more coming and, for the first time, we were scared. Funny how one automatically ducks when something flies overhead. We soon raised our heads to see what was happening. We saw very little except for the large black puffs of smoke. The sound of bombs was deafening.

It was one o’clock before we were able to leave. The exodus from the sugar cane field was like traffic pouring out of a parking lot after a world series game. The return to Honolulu was very slow. We had to take many detours through the city as the streets were closed. King Street and Waikiki Avenue were closed. We lived just off of Waikiki Avenue. The traffic was so heavy that I did not really see any damage. The policemen, almost like a broken record, said, “keep moving”.

It was after three in the afternoon when we finally arrived home. The babies were starving and crying. We were physically and mentally exhausted, but filled with that natural supply of adrenaline which accompanies fear. When I went home, I found a bullet had, at sometime, entered the corner of the living room and lodged into the bedroom wall. This so unnerved me that I took Kay and went to Amy Jean’s to spend the night.

I could not get a call through to Pearl Harbor to find out about my husband. Amy Jean’s husband was on Midway. She was sure they had been hit too. We tried to call our families in the states but were told to keep the lines clear and stay off the phones.

Instructions from Civil Defense were repeated continually on the radio. We were to maintain total blackout and stay off the streets. If a light was needed, we were to cover a flashlight with blue paper or cloth.

We could think of nothing but the fate of our husbands. We tried to occupy our minds. We thought we should make some identification markers for the babies in case we should be separated if another attack should occur. I took a large strip of adhesive tape and printed Kay’s name, age blood type, address in the states and the fact that she was breast fed. I put it down the middle of her back, thinking she might possibly lose a leg or arm. I shivered at the thought and knew our attempts to put the fate of our husbands out of our minds was only being replaced with equally morbid thoughts.

We finally got the babies to sleep. We could not sleep. We crawled out of the bathroom window on to the carport roof to watch the red glowing skies and listen to the off and off explosions from the ships being hit in the harbor. In the distance it looked as though a forest was on fire. I remember thinking we were like cats on a roof, not afraid, but filled with curiosity.

While climbing out the window, the screen hit the back of my head and cut badly enough that I felt the hair sticking to my neck. We went back into the house to check the babies. I went into a closet and used a flashlight to see how badly I was cut. I was sure I needed a stitch or two, but we were not allowed on the streets. I applied a cold wet washcloth and returned to the roof to watch the glow from the fires most of the night. When we finally went to bed, we were still unable to sleep. The heavy trucks from Fort Ruger, three blocks away, thundered down our street throughout the night.

We were glad to see daylight and fully expected our husbands to come home. My husband finally returned on Tuesday, December ninth, at two thirty in the afternoon, in a jeep. He was wearing a steel helmet and a pistol was on his hip. For the first time I saw the career Marine I married. He brought home rolls of black tar paper to black out our windows. While working on a ladder covering the windows, I noticed he had a bad cut on his leg. He explained it happened while unloading ammunition boxes. One had fallen on his leg. I showed him the cut on my head. We both realized how lucky we were to have only superficial wounds.

We learned later in the day Amy Jean’s husband, and our sailor friend were safe. I did not realize how fortunate we all were until a few days later when I took a bus to King Street and saw hundreds of wooden coffins piled six feet high in front of mortuaries.

The following weeks were hectic. My husband put in long hours at the base. Amy Jean and I occupied ourselves building a bomb shelter, which was never more than three feet deep and could not accommodate more than one person, much less two women and two babies. It did keep us busy.

At the Punahou High School we were given gas masks and instructed how to use them. Babies were not given masks. Mothers were told to carry a washcloth and a bottle of boric acid solution for them. we were worried about what we would do if we had to wear masks when the babies had none.

My husband was sent to the Island of Palmyra, about a thousand miles southwest of Honolulu, on December 23rd, two days before Christmas. We were told to pack all of our personal effects for evacuation at a moment’s notice. I sold our 1940 Ford to Army Procurement for $650, and felt fortunate as others were getting about $250 for the same year on used car lots in Honolulu.

Kay spent her first Christmas and several succeeding months in a packing box lined with quilts as all of our furniture was packed for evacuation. We finally evacuated the ship to San Francisco in late March. I arrived in Washington, D.C.,on April 11, 1942, the day before my 21st birthday.

My sister lived in Indian Head, Maryland. She had saved their Christmas tree for Kay and me. I knew my nine month old daughter would remember neither the tree or Pearl Harbor, though I would all my life.

In the years that followed, every December 7th, Amy Jean and I talked to each other on the telephone no matter where we were stationed. On December 7, 1989, Amy Jean called from Bakersfield to say “Aloha dear friend.” Her cancer was in an advanced stage. She passed away December 28, 1989.

Amy Jean was a model of courage. She taught me to remain cheerful and hopeful in spite of adversity. I am grateful to have been with her.

For This I Am Grateful

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Life – filled with its ups and downs, the level plains which lie between;

The rain without which there would be no flowers;

The valleys where strength and supplies are found to climb to the mountain tops;

Health – though fraught with issues and concerns with which I must daily battle;

Healthcare – which has resulted in finding the root cause of many of my more serious physical ailments along with a cure for the fatal infection that threatens to kill me;

Eye Care – which provides the expertise to restore my vision rather than allowing me to go blind;

Family – who bring joys and tears, but with whom I could not live without;

Sons – those offspring who carry on and outshine the man who was their sire;

Granddaughters – who are beautiful, bubbly, putting a smile on my face even in the darkest moments with a look;

Daughters-in-Law – who put up with the “Old Man” and don’t fuss too much when their husbands stay in touch;

Mom – who may not always agree with the choices, decisions I make, but is always there to support me as her son;

Dad – who often is on opposite sides from where I stand, but is still there when least expected;

The Other Halves – who have brought love and joy to my parents and been there too many times to count for me;

Siblings – who bring the tussle and tumble at times and the closeness and connectivity that none else can know;

Ex-Wives – without whom I would never have known the joy and love of my two sons;

My Ex-Partner – who put up with me through good, bad, sickness and health for over a decade;

Chooey – who provides companionship, alerts me and loves his “Daddy” unconditionally;

Real Life Acquaintances – who have shown up at my door when unexpected, but at the right moment;

Online Friends – some who have been angels in some of my direst moments over the past few years when I felt I could not carry on;

Our Nation – though battered and torn at times, though enmeshed in family feuds at times, yet still the most free and greatest light of liberty in the world today;

God – for sustaining me thus far and deciding it was not time for me to cross the divide and go home yet.

From the Cornfield, I send out my wish to one and all for a day of reflection, a time with family and friends, a day of peace, love and joy this Thanksgiving Day before the madness of shopping fever takes over, forgetting the reason for the season.

May you find no matter your situation, station in life, health or wealth, there is always something for which to be grateful.

The Day the World Stopped

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

It was a mild, sunny Friday afternoon in the Cornfield. As usual on a school day, I was sitting in Mrs. Smith’s 4th grade class. Thoughts of the upcoming weekend filled my mind with revelry.

The daydream, as Mrs. Smith droned on about Indiana history, came to an abrupt halt when the principal’s trembling voice came out of the wooden box mounted in the top center of the wall behind the teacher’s desk.

The halting voice, filled with sorrow, announced that our beloved President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, had been struck down by an assassin’s bullet and was dead. Mrs. Smith’s eyes began to tear. Shock was on her face.

The class seemed transfixed as if turned to stone by Medusa’s stare. One by one, starting with the girls in the class, weeping and crying took over.

The girl sitting next to me (I think her name was Sally) was bawling her eyes out. My 8-year-old brain couldn’t comprehend why Sally was crying.

I began to laugh at her and make fun of her, not understanding what the principal’s words meant. Mrs. Smith came over to chide me and explain in terms my immature mind could comprehend what had happened.

As she spoke, my laughter turned to tears as well.

My mind went back in time to that dark night in the parsonage in Anderson, Indiana where my Dad was pastoring, watching the black-and-white television and listening as President Kennedy demanded the Russians to remove the missiles from Cuba or risk all out war.

I recalled the Russian leader, Nikita Khrushchev, taking his shoe off and pounding it on the table at the United Nations threatening to bury the United States in the ashes.

The man who had stood up to the red threat and made the Ruskies back down was dead.

The King of Camelot was dead.

His queen, Jackie, and the young princess and prince, Caroline and John-John, were left without a husband or father.

None of us rushed out of school, frolicking in the fall sunshine as we normally would with the weekend beckoning. With slow steps we made our way home.

Life was not the same.

Childhood was not the same.

The world stopped at 12:30 p.m. (CT) that afternoon in Dallas, Texas.

Over the next few days, not only did Americans mourn, but the peoples of the Earth lamented the loss of the Leader of the Free World. Even our enemies, the Russians and Chinese, expressed condolences and disbelief that JFK was gone.

A few days later on live television, I watched in horror as Jack Ruby, gun drawn, walked up to Lee Harvey Oswald, the President’s assassin, and shoot him dead. The police officers surrounding Oswald seemed to not see or did not care that the two-bit hoodlum Ruby had a gun out, pointed and walking quickly up to Oswald.

A half century later and another image that remains etched into my mind is that of a 4-year-old John-John in a short-pants suit standing smartly on Pennsylvania Avenue saluting as the horse-drawn wagon bearing his father’s casket came down the street, surrounded by a weeping throng.

The young prince was the picture of strength in time of trouble and hope in an hour of despair.

The fabric of the World was torn that day.

Life was changed for an entire generation.

The end of an era had come to a sudden and deadly halt.

Conspiracy theories continue.

The question of “What if?” still dominates the conversation when anyone pauses to remember that fateful November day.

From the Cornfield, that day is as real today as it was a life time ago.

Ask Not – Remembering

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Today is the anniversary of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s death at the hands of an assassin in Dallas, Texas. Across the Cornfield and across the nation, people are remembering the years of Camelot, when a young, charismatic politician stole the hearts of Americans.

At the time, though many throughout the nation still were at odds with the President on policy issues, he had managed to capture the people’s hearts as had his wife, Jackie, and children, Caroline and John-John. Speeches would denounce his politics and yes, even his religion, but would in the next breath extol what a determined, caring man and war hero JFK was.

A phrase which has become synonymous with the Kennedy years and the course of a nation was his appeal during his inaugural address on January 20, 1961: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”

Today that concept, that idea, seems to be alien to many Americans and especially lost on most of our national elected officials.

The concept and its origin is steeped in debate. Some arguing it goes back a thousand years or more to Plato or Juvenal. Others cite President Warren G. Harding who made a similar statement to the Republican National Convention decades before. Others cite JFK’s former school headmaster.

No matter the origin, the sentiment of the line is rooted in a belief shared since the foundation of this great nation – the idea of individual responsibility, individual fortitude, individual enterprise and individual ingenuity to build and sustain a nation unlike any other before it.

Ronald Reagan voiced a similar sentiment with his quip that government is the problem and not the answer. Kennedy recognized this. Kennedy knew government was only as effective as the people and what the people were willing to do for themselves and for country.

While JFK in his “New Frontier” speech to the 1960 Democratic National Convention made known his desire to expand on the more social platform instituted by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he also was a pragmatist who understood the need for the individual doing his or her part and not relying solely on taking from or asking for government to provide the solutions and answers.

That concept, that sentiment, appears so lost in the political climate of today. It is lost not just with the Democratic Party of which JFK is a legacy, but also with Republicans who are far afield of either Abraham Lincoln or Reagan.

From the Cornfield, as we remember Kennedy, let us once more look inward and say with him, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

And let it begin in the halls of Congress and in the White House.

To Those Who Served – Salute!

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

Today, we stop and give thanks for all those who have served the nation in uniform, protecting the freedoms we hold so dear. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in order to ensure that we have the life we so proudly proclaim.

Their sacrifice is honored with each election where not by coup, but by ordinary Americans casting a ballot and choosing those who will lead and represent them. The power and authority of those officials are transferred from one elected official to the next, from the precinct level to the highest office in the land, the Presidency, without the need for troops in the streets because of those who answered the call to duty, honor and service.

The ability to vote, the ability to choose, the ability to speak our minds, the ability to worship or not worship, the ability to write these words without fear, the ability to work, to succeed, to fail, to rise above our circumstances, all of this we owe to those men and women who fought for peace, justice and freedom.

None of our liberties came without cost and thus we owe a debt to each of our veterans and to those who still serve.

On a more personal note:

Normandy Award to Luther C. Powell

In those dark days following the sneak attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, four brothers from Nashville, Brown County, Indiana lined up at the recruiting office and joined the US Navy. These four brothers went off to save the world for democracy both in the European Theater and in the Pacific.

Three made it back home at the close of World War II. The one who didn’t return was my Uncle Homer. My grandfather and his other two brothers, Herman and Wesley, came home, but changed, never to be the same.

First Sergeant Jack L. Hollifield

My step-father, a fresh-faced kid from Sullivan County, Indiana didn’t wait to be drafted. He went to the recruiting office and signed up to be a soldier for Uncle Sam. He survived, though wounded once, three tours in Viet Nam. He remained in the US Army to retire after 20 years as an E-8 First Sergeant.

USN veteran Allen Powell

My grandfather’s only son, my uncle, later followed in his father’s footsteps and sailed off on the ocean blue with the Navy. He served around the world, then came home.

Allen's Honorable Discharge

All of these veterans within my own family are now gone, but not forgotten.

AFC Mark after USAF Basic Training

Their service made it possible for me to join the US Air Force in 1976. My time was spent at Grissom AFB, right here in the Cornfield.

It also allowed my step-brother, John Hollifield, a few years later to join the US Army. Unfortunately, we lost him in a drunk driving incident after he did his duty and was home.

The sacrifice of my grandfather, great-uncles and step-father also allowed all of us to still be living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This is why I am always appreciative of those who choose to serve in our military. This is why I always have an empathy and a connection to the families left behind to keep the home fires burning to shine the light to lead our service members home.

Each November 11th, we celebrate, not just the veterans of that long ago war that was to be the war to end all wars, but the holiday has evolved to celebrate and to show appreciation for all who have served our great nation and those who continue to serve.

From the Cornfield, veterans, I salute you and thank you!

Lest We Forget – 9/11/2001

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

It seemed to be a quiet, sunny day in the dwindling hours of summer. People going about their business. Children rushed off to school. Flights of pleasure, business and fancy were seemingly soaring the skies peacefully.

Tranquility and a sense of safety were shattered in an instant as a commercial jetliner plowed into the World Trade Center (WTC). What first seemed to be nothing more than a tragic accident was quickly revealed to be more diabolic in nature.

The world watched horror-struck as a second jetliner in live airtime was shown deliberately crashing into the second tower of the WTC.

The unthinkable, that which seemed to only be comprehensible in a movie script, lifted from the page of fiction into the horrifying fact of reality. Life changed forever.

9-11-2

I rolled over. Opened my eyes. With blurred vision, I looked at the clock. 10:48 a.m. I sprang out of bed, shaking my head, wondering why I had slept so late.

I grabbed my robe, moving between my loveseats to turn on the television. I made my way back around what I called, my loveseat, to make my morning coffee.

Strangely I heard the voices of Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. In disbelief, disconcerted and shocked, I listened and learned about the attack on America.

Nearly spilling the water, I finished making my coffee. I stumbled back to my loveseat to watch and listen to the unfolding events.

I yelled at the troubled young man sleeping on my other loveseat, “Wake up! We’ve been attacked!

Frightened, not knowing what to do, how to react, what to say, the young man took off on his bike. Running, trying to find comfort, peace and some sense of what was happening.

I stayed glued to the TV.

Not only had two commercial planes been used as guided missiles exploding into the WTC, but another had been fatally directed at the Pentagon.

But, this was not the end.

The news revealed a fourth jetliner, its objective still unknown, was deflected from further mass destruction by the heroics of passengers. Passengers, who followed the highest law of Love.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (KJV)

The unthinkable had become a deliberate, thought-out scheme of murder, destruction, mayhem, pain and suffering.

What had happened to America’s tranquility and safety?

Gone in moments.

What were and are we to do?

What could and can our leaders do?

What was and is America to do?

Life changed forever.

From the Cornfield, we pause, as we do each year, and remember the lives lost, the heroes, the resolve of a nation to not back down, to rise from the ashes and press on for a better day filled with peace, liberty and justice for all.

We will never forget.

We will never crumble.

We will stand tall.

We will cross any valley, climb any mountain, ford any stream and remain forever that shining city on a hill to which the world looks to find light in the darkness of ignorance, fear, intolerance and injustice.

And Therein Is the Problem

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is scheduled to speak on the nation’s largest black-owned Christian television network.

This should be positive news for the candidate who is barely in single digits with support from the African-American community as he faces the fall election.

Trump has been blasted by members of the community, the campaign of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and pundits for reaching out to black voters while speaking in front of predominantly white audiences.

Trump has been ridiculed for not going into black churches or before such groups as the NAACP to speak when invited.

The Trump campaign and surrogates have pushed back saying that the audience does not matter since the speeches are televised nationwide. They say that Trump is not speaking to the audience in the hall, but to the television audience and thus directly to African-Americans.

The campaign and surrogates have said Trump was trying to be respectful and did not want to go into areas where his presence would result in riots such as what occurred earlier this year when Trump spoke in California.

When it was announced today that Trump would go on the Christian network, owned by blacks and targeting a black viewership, this was a step in the right direction.

Not so say critics and pundits.

One black pastor was on CNN today and made it clear that Trump was not welcome to go into and speak to the black community or in black churches.

The pastor said he would be in the studio to protest Trump being on the network and beaming out to African-American Christians.

The pastor said straight out that Trump was not welcome nor should he be allowed to speak.

And therein is the problem.

How can we have an honest discussion when one side is ready to lock the door, batten the hatches, board up the windows and not allow for an open discussion?

From the Cornfield, I am not a fan of either Trump nor Clinton.

I am guilty of not understanding the perspective of those of color as I am an old, white man.

But in life, if we are ever to get along, we must be willing to tolerate each others’ opinions and views, though we disagree.

We must learn how to live in tolerant co-existence with one another.

To govern properly and do what is best for the nation we must learn compromise.

The same is true for getting along with others – even in our own families.

How can we learn or move forward when we close our minds to all competing thoughts?

As has been so often said throughout the years, I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Journalistic Integrity Model

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His father was a liberal giant. His brother is governor of arguably the most liberal state in the Union. He works for a center left news network. His political ideology is not a secret.

Yet, CNN New Day anchor Chris Cuomo is cut from the same fabric as those paragons of journalism, Walter Cronkite and Tim Russert.

Both icons maintained the highest level of objectivity and integrity in their reporting. While we knew their political bent, neither let that get in the way of doing the job of a free press who looks at events with an eye of neutrality and not picking sides.

This is why Cronkite was America’s favorite Uncle behind Uncle Sam. This is why Russert was the face of Meet the Press for two decades with full trust of the viewing public.

Compare this to today’s crop of journalists whom survey after survey reveals are not trusted. Today’s journalists rank far behind even the two most mistrusted presidential candidates in history.

Then there is Chris Cuomo.

Most people would accept if he slipped now and then and revealed a bit of bias or prejudice, but he does not. Instead Cuomo seems to go out of his way to uphold and maintain why the free press was enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Chris makes sure he does not become the story, but rather lets the story develop on its own. In questioning candidates and politicians of all stripes, Chris walks the line we expect of reporters unlike too many of his colleagues.

Whether liberal or conservative or moderate, whether Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or independent, all are put under the same glaring light of professionalism and transparency.

Chris is one reason I continue to view CNN. Not that I have many options with Fox News being too far to the right and MSNBC being too far left. 

There is hope left for the current cadre of journalists who have abandoned the principles on which our free press was founded.

That hope is the example of Chris Cuomo.

From the Cornfield, Chris keep up the good work and being an example for journalists everywhere in this day when too many journalists are leaving behind objectivity and integrity.

Thank you, for the breath of fresh air, Chris.