Category Archives: Politics

The Race To Save America

McGrath Turtle

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — If Amy McGrath were running for public office in more liberal parts of the country, she would only be able to keep a straight face by a being a right of center Republican.

Sane-minded Republicans, the few that have yet to be tarred and feathered for thinking for themselves, will eat up her unprecedented military service. Free of bone spurs, McGrath flew 89 combat missions during her 20 years in the Marines, breaking the that branch’s gender barrier.

Heavily decorated for her service, Lt. Col McGrath, a Naval Academy graduate, then entered politics – as a Democrat – in 2017 (even though her husband is a Republican).

Her stances on key issues – like supporting the second amendment with some baby steps with background checks — place put her firmly into the center lane, where she is careful not to make a dangerous move, lest she commit career suicide in home state of Kentucky.

Concerning your president (not mine), McGrath has stated: “I want to do what’s best for Kentucky,” adding she will support him when he has good ideas. “To me it’s not about your political party, it’s not about wearing a red jersey or blue jersey.”

In a state where it would be a shock if a referendum on going back to white and colored water fountains would not shock me, she has to walk that tightrope like a Wallenda.

She accepts climate change as fact, but with a keen eye toward what substantial legislation would mean for the coal regions of eastern Kentucky.

Not to be confused with Bernie Sanders, she is firmly behind Obamacare as is and against free college tuition.

And yet, Amy McGrath is my favorite politician right now.

Of her combat missions, what she faces now may be her most important.

With no more need to donate my $27 to the Sanders campaign for mugs and bumper stickers, I may just send some that way.

And, if you want to save the Union, you should feel the same.

She is running for senate in Kentucky against none other than Mitch McConnell, who struggles for a 20 percent approval rating nationally but is around 50 percent in the home state he rarely even graces with his presence (and allows for eastern Kentucky to remain in squalor while overwhelmingly grabbing votes there).

Your president (not mine) can’t help the fact that he is who he is, as we all knew he was who was before too many of you (not me) gave a sociopath his ultimate playroom.

It is his enablers, both in the House (before the 2018 midterms) and still in the Senate, that have collectively failed to give him his rabies vaccine.

Some know better, speaking in hushed tones under condition anonymity about how they’d like to vote for sanity, if they only could, on draconian policies.

But they fear retribution so much that they follow the lead of McConnell, the Senate majority leader, who would probably block aid to starving kittens if his lord and master – not to mention special interest groups – told him so.

I have engaged with many other concerned lefties about other contests — from Arizona and Colorado to Maine and Iowa — that could help tilt the Senate back to a place of sanity and humanity.

McGrath is currently being given a 45 percent chance of winning, suggesting a waste of money and effort, as compared to those. I get it, but the whole landscape could continue to change with what is going on currently with the coronavirus and the economy.

My argument with throwing unmitigated support behind McGrath is that a victory, seen as difficult but not impossible, would kill the proverbial two birds with one stone.

It would knock McConnell off his perch of power, and send his butt bhome.

The fact that she has built a nice war chest already, which is driving McConnell bonkers, shows that I am not alone.

Why is this so important?

Let’s recount the ways, using the book “Un-Trumping America: A Plan to make America a Democracy Again” by Dan Pfeiffer, the cohost of the podcast “Pod Save America.”

Quickly establishing that your president (not mine) is nothing but a petulant child who can’t help himself, he begins getting to root of the matter, with the scourge he calls “McConnellism” by page 13.

It boils down, as he breaks it down, to a cultural Civil War between Yes We Can vs. Because We Can.

In his position of power, he led blockades against President Barack Obama without showing any willingness to compromise, as he lone stated agenda was for him to be a single-term president

As much as the Russians and the poor timing of James Comey, he set the table for your president (not mine) to place our democracy in peril.

McConnell does nothing because it is or is not the right thing to do in his mind. That would mean he has a belief system and a moral compass in the first place.

He will hold up a stop sign simply because he can.

Pfeiffer flat-out dubs McConnell as “the worst person in American politics.”

And that’s saying something, since we have the worst president in modern American history in the Oval Office.

So here we are, with Amy McGrath.  Her bid to unseat McConnell, and turn McConnellism to ash, may be just as important – if not more so – than the presidential race.

She’s all we have, and the best we can hope for in a state like Kentucky, so let’s do all we can to make it happen.

 

 

History Will Reveal The True Winner

Bernie4Blog

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — Stop asking, will ya?

Yes, I’ve accepted the sad fact that Bernie Sanders will not be president of the United States.

Some of that is on him, I must admit. He was fantastic with laying out the broad strokes of all that ails our ailing nation, he had a hard time when quizzed on the minutiae.

What a pity.

The details were there. They just could not be captured in a sound bite on the debate stage or even in an interview with Rachel Maddow.

And saying “go to the website,” while helpful for we the diligent few, amounts to bad optics.

In both 2015-16, and again in 2019-20, Sanders was grilled on how he was going to pay for his ambitious plans to level the playing field and he could never quite get a piece of that hittable curve ball.

And here we are. It took a pandemic on the level of the Black Plague and the 1918 Spanish Flu (even though Spain had nothing to do with it) to prove him right.

Locked up in our homes like the “Man in the Iron Mask,” with the economy at a standstill – an irony of all ironies, since your president (not mine) is like a savant who only sees life in dollars and cents without any common sense – the House and Senate voted on a stimulus package in an attempt to do an end run around a pending depression.

The price tag? Try $2 trillion.

For all those who asked Sanders how he was going to pay for it, guess what? You just did.

And at an amount well above his wildest dreams of free college tuition, health care and combat against climate change.

You can argue that it took a so-called act of God – coronavirus — to create the need for the elected leaders, grudgingly in a troubling number of cases, to meet the need in a one-time payment.

Sanders, and backers like myself, will respond that the human crisis was always there. It was just always neatly tucked away, out of view, while the mainstream media didn’t venture too far from the center lane to unearth the underlying issues that made us more prone to a scourge. It was a storm without a name.

People were dying of hunger, because of lack of health care and going broke just to keep roof over their heads.

The coronavirus is easy to talk about in its own narrow context, but not in a broader one. People are going to work, defying orders, because they have no choice. They have preexisting conditions, weakening their immune systems, making them more susceptible. This are issues all in Sanders’ longstanding, and unwavering, wheelhouse.

They are most vulnerable, and the most vulnerable now to the threat of a spread of the virus. It might interest some of you to note that, while I still get e-mails from the Sanders campaign, they are no longer asking for donations to it.

Instead, they are asking for donations to several organizations seeking to help working families, whether it is restaurant workers or Amazon workers or those who won’t be able to make their next month’s rent.

That’s what he has been all about for decades, and that’s what he is all about today.  How and why he didn’t receive more black support (other than from, maybe, those in the middle class) and from seniors will keep historians occupied for decades.

I can’t help but mention that polls suggested Sanders might have fared better in the 2016 general election than did Hillary Clinton, who was more palatable for dyed in the wool Democrats but not enough with swayable people in the street.

What would that have meant now? It would have not have stopped the coronavirus, and no one should suggest anyone would, but a less archaic and nearly criminal healthcare system would have been in place to provide resistance.

Proactive testing — like in Iceland or Germany – would have happened sooner. People would have been able to shelter in place by late February or early March without fear of surviving, as a President Sanders (or Clinton, to be fair) would not have been in a state of denial.

But, while reality has now endorsed Bernie Sanders for president after all, he was a victim of his own inability to full articulate what he wanted to implement.

We – the so-called Bernie Bros. – always got it, but doubters needed more and never got enough candy in their trick-or-trick bags to wipe the masked smirks off their faces.

When they cried socialism – conveniently dropping “Democratic” from in front of it – he should have said “Nordic Model.” Instead, he repeatedly just copped to the charge and threw himself at the mercy of the court of common opinion.

And he never realized that the term “Medicare for All” scared the bleep out of too many people, especially seniors. He should have just said “universal health care” and left it at that.

As I age – I just reached a new demographic of “55 and over” – I have come to reach the conclusion that your legacy is all you have.

It equates to the fairy tale of ascending to heaven, just as a negative legacy equates to going to hell and no legacy to speak of equates to purgatory.

And Bernie Sanders, when history is written, will have a legacy that will prove him to have been a man a good decade ahead of his time. He will go down as the father of the modern progressive movement that may save this country from itself.

And one day, when someone like Alexendaria Ocasio-Cortez becomes president, his name will be fondly evoked.

Because of his age, he may or may not be alive to see it.

Let’s hope that we are.

Dying With The Consequences

Coronavirus

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — So there I was, a nice (well, sometimes) Jewish boy from Northeast Philly, sitting at a Catholic Mass while Sofia (raised Catholic, in deference to her mother) did her altar service.

The priest went through that portion of the Mass (I’m getting to know the routine) where the assembled flock is asked to pray for certain specific people and situations.

Included was a plea to pray for those – patients, medical professionals, etc. – dealing with coronavirus.

Given the fact that this was several weeks back, you have to give the priest props for being well in front of the curve on what has quickly turned into a pandemic that has left us sheltering in place until further notice.

Which brings me to the point of my Sunday sermon: You can’t pray this away.

This is basically what your president (not mine) was doing when he put your vice president (not mine) in charge of combating and containing it before it invaded our “great again” shores.

But it came anyway, like the invasion on the beaches of Normandy.

No, we can’t blame them for the disease itself, but we can for the sheer lack of leadership that has been clear since before this administration was selected.

Those of us with foresight asked real questions about how a circus master and his lackey would handle any crisis, and we were told to stop being such “snowflakes.”

As you battle for half-cartons of eggs and loaves of bread at the store, and then sit inside your home, scared literally to death of something we can’t see, we are all snowflakes now, are we not?

There are silver linings to almost anything, and there are here.

Families are spending time together. I have learned to live without sports on TV. Sofia, as I type in this mad fury, is taking her guitar lesson via Skype or Zoom or some such thing.

School districts have developed extensive learning plans that will come in handy on snow days or in other unforeseen scenarios.

We have all had sudden graduate-level lessons in hygiene.

The list goes on.

And topping it is that enough people – maybe, hopefully, finally — see that your president (not mine) is unfit to serve.

If Charlottesville and Puerto Rico weren’t horrifying enough, they were harbingers of what was to come.

It’s no longer about politics, to vote him out. It’s about the future health and well-being of your children and your children’s children.

Right-wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh and politicians like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R, Fla.) led the propaganda parade against coronavirus.

Ironically, Gaetz donned a gas mask to mock the hysteria before having to self-quarantine after a constituent died. Now, he is asking for the same paid sick leave he voted against as a dutiful Mitch McConnell stooge.

Limbaugh, the racist talk-show host who got a Medal of Freedom from your president (not mine) during Black History Month – and with a Tuskegee Airman in attendance – is dying of cancer and among the most vulnerable to coronavirus.

Pundits are public figures, and have an extra sense of responsibility with medals around their necks.

Politicians are, by definition, leaders.

At times such as these, we need responsibility and leadership.

The failure to take it seriously – and leaving an immediate science-based crisis to a second banana who doesn’t believe that cigarettes cause cancer or that climate change is real – put every single one of us at risk.

The bitter irony here is that many of of the respiratory issues relating to smoking  put people more at risk for coronavirus, not the mention that global warming is a mother ship for infectious diseases.

Pence

It was done while keeping one eye on the stock market and the other on the golf course. That left no hands on the wheel, and a serious crash on the side of the road.

The attitude from the top went from predicting we will have “zero” cases of coronavirus to that it is no worse than the flu to being summoned from some Fantasy Island to chopper back to the real world.

You wonder why he is not my president? This is why.

And, after this fiasco, there is no reason why he should be yours, either.

As fate would have it, there is a decent chance that coronavirus will be handled – not conquered, but handled – by the fall.

Again, it will still be there – just like AIDS, the threat of terrorism, etc. — but not to the point where we can’t live our daily lives.

This will be fodder for your president (not mine) to spike the ball in the end zone and do a touchdown dance at a red state rally.

He will pound his chest at debates and claim that he, like Neanderthals before him, hit coronavirus over the head with a rock and dragged it back to his cave to be cooked and devoured over an open fire he started by rubbing two sticks together.

Be on guard for such talk. While it is the fuel of a classic sociopath/narcissist, you don’t have to let it fill your tank.

You know it’s not true.

You know better.

I don’t say this lightly, but it is a matter of life and death.

And we need – we deserve – a president we can all call our own (even if he is not from same political party or supports all the same policies.)

And if you need to pray on it before reaching the same obvious conclusion, please do.

This column ran in The Times Herald on March 22, 2020

Middle of the Road Leads Nowhere

Middle of the Road

The following is a modified version of  a column that ran in The Times Herald on March 1, 2020:

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — There once was this girl. For whatever reason, she batted her eyes at me twice in French class (either for the sport of it or because she had something stuck in her eye).

I was hooked, hopping the one-way train to Swoonsville, and not catching the return trip for a few years.

Even though there were other girls who entered and exited the picture back then, she ranked in a category of her own (and I have the pile of songs written about her to show for it).

I would try to shake the status of being the low man on her depth chart to no avail. On numerous occasions, I would ask her to meet me — the mall, the pizza place, bowling alley, etc. — only to have her never show up (she would usually giggle and say she forgot, and I found the airhead act endearing).

I couldn’t help but take this bumpy road down memory lane when listening to those bemoaning that Bernie Sanders was not the best choice to unseat your president (not mine) in the general election because we need a more centrist candidate who will meet the other side in the middle.

It exemplifies an extreme naïve attitude, the same as the one I had as a teenager (without a fully developed brain), and it tells you all need to know about this waltz wherein Democrats dance with two left feet and end up tripping over themselves.

A review: Your president (not mine) made a hard right turn back in the 2015-16 campaign season, and took a lot of supporters — including plenty that didn’t see themselves as being what they became — with him.

More than a few right of center Republicans worried about it costing the White House after it had been, well, a little too black for their taste for eight years.

Pundits, with their degrees from places tucked far away from the real world, concurred that not moving to the middle helped him in the primary but would cost him the ultimate prize in the general election.

Logic may have been the immovable object, but the whole Make America Great Again (eye roll) thing was the unstoppable force.

Because of this recent history, one wonders if there is even a real middle for left of center Democrats to go to anyway.

And now, we have a separate but equal scenario heading into the 2020 election, with so jeers and fears toward and about a progressive candidate, Bernie Sanders, that his candidacy is on life support.

What your president (not mine) and Sanders have in common, while not agreeing on the time of day on policies, are flocks so loyal that the opinions of so-experts may no longer hold up.

 

Even as voters flowed in with the tide in recent primaries and went with “Status Quo” Joe Biden, exit polls showed they were thinking more progressively, and in line with Sanders.

The message, the takeway: There is no need to fold like a house of cards on a speed boat.

There is something happening in this country, albeit at street level, and only those willing to get down and dirty need to put their ears down to the ground can hear it.

The voters outside the base want more than just change from what your president (not mine) wrought upon us. The need change. If you want to mock it, calling it a revolution, go ahead. You don’t defeat a dictatorship without one.

If you think that meeting the other side in the middle is the way to go, you are conceding defeat before the coin flip.

Just take a hard look at the crowd at the next rally for your president (not mine) and ask yourself if anyone there, even with the help of GPS, would know their way to the theoretical middle if Ted Nugent was playing a concert there.

I would postulate that since Biden as wrestled the driver’s seat from Sanders, his views — – or lack thereof — will only be taken as a sign of weakness and he will be incessantly mocked for it by the right.

Rachel Bitecofer, a 42-year-old professor from a small college in Virginia (and recent guest on Real Time With Bill Maher), agrees. And it just so happens she rattled the cages of traditional political science thought when she nailed the 2018 midterms like Nostradamus.

Her theory is that there really is no such animal as a swing voter, and no such a black hole as a center. They both still exist, she concedes, but not to the extent that her colleagues think.

In a recent article in Politico, she described it as “flipping giant paradigms of electoral theory upside down.”

So, fellow lefties, it’s time to eat your Wheaties and grow spines. Stop worrying about meeting and greeting anyone in a Ghost Town once known as the middle.

You are just asking to be stood up, the same way I was on those windswept streets of 1980s Northeast Philly.

 

Another Open Wound

Sanders

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — There is one thing about a bitter loser, which I freely admit I am: We dwell on our setbacks, keeping us up nights for decades after a defeat, more than our victories.

The writing is on the wall with my man, Bernie Sanders, and I am one heck of a sourpuss right now.

Don’t expect me to “just get over it” anytime soon.

The mainstream media took for what seemed like fiendish joy in its 24/7 hatchet jobs on the man who I consider the only candidate who tried to give a voice to the voiceless.

There was no other end game for Sanders beyond seeing people put roofs over their heads, food on their tables, send their kids to college, breathe cleaner air and have the same kind of health care as the rest of the civilized world.

Oddly, exit polls around the country show that most voters support this progressive (not socialist) agenda.

And yet, mostly out of concocted fear – and younger voters not putting down their iPhones long enough to vote – Sanders is slip sliding away.

The party establishment has dutifully lined itself up behind Joe Biden, a nice enough chap who has been running for president, unsuccessfully, since I was in college (that’s a long time ago, as I turn 55 March 23).

To put it in perspective, “The Simpsons” was not yet a series (having only appeared on an episode of “The Tracey Ullman Show”) when he first ran in 1987-88.

I have nothing against Biden, really, but I’d like to know what he stands for – on anything – in terms of the issues.

And, it seems, no one really cares.

Me, I care. If you seek substantive change, so should you.

I fear he’s like the knife you bring to a gunfight, the spray can you use on a raging forest fire or the whiffle ball bat you bring to a game of hardball.

What really galls me the most is that Pennsylvania is identified as a battleground state (along with Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Florida).

By the time this horrendously flawed primary/caucus season gets to us (not to mention New York state) in late April, we will have zero say in choosing the nominee.

It is particularly irksome when you consider that the Philadelphia suburbs are circled as a major hot spot in the presidential general election.

And yet, red states that will never go blue in the general election got to sign and seal the deal for Biden (with the help of his on-air campaign workers in supposedly neutral media).

For a sore loser such as I, this will never sit right.

After Sanders rolled in Nevada, a winnable state in November with a diverse population, he was dubiously dubbed as the frontrunner.

In what appeared to be telegraphed through their teleprompters, the talking heads on the all-news networks were playing “Taps” for Biden when, in fact, they all knew he was going to win South Carolina, after which they could call him the “comeback kid” and drone on and on and on about how he cornered the market on the black vote.

The problem with the whole flawed process, the one that leaves Pennsylvanians (and others) with zero say, is the difference between how white and black voters are viewed by alleged experts.

White voters are sliced and diced up a million different ways – by age, by income, by education level, by geography, etc. – while black voters are unscientifically culled together and tossed into one voting bloc for analysis.

But who says that a rural black voter in South Carolina or Alabama has the same wants and needs as, say, a black voter with whom he or she has nothing in common (other than skin color) in Detroit, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh or Cleveland?

This mindset has a real chance to cost the Democrats – those of us with noble ideals but new and improved ways to lose – the ultimate prize.

Plain and simple, Biden – like Hillary Clinton before him – will be christened as the nominee on a false positive.

Consider that no Democratic presidential candidate has won a state in what is considered the heart of the Deep South (Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana) in the New Millennium.

States along its rim/outer core (Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky) have similar outcomes (Oklahoma, like Mississippi, not gone for a Democrat in the general election since before the signing of the Civil Rights Act).

The only exceptions, in terms of rim states with different demographics (transplanted residents), are Florida (won by Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012) and North Carolina (won by Obama in 2008, but not 2012).

And, in both of those states, Hillary Clinton lost in 2016.

What does this tell you? All these states have significant black populations, but their collective vote gets magnified in the primary season only to be trapped in the presidential election, making one wonder two things:

1) Is the electoral college flat-out racist?

2) Is the way the Democrats anoint their champion a wise one, strategically?

Biden got around 60 percent of the black vote in the Deep South, and that is put in a context as being the ultimate difference between himself and Sanders, and yet it will likely add up to zero – in terms of electoral votes – when it matters most.

The onus will be on swing states such as our own, and yet we didn’t even get to choose in the primary because of the horrendous scheduling.

Yeah, I’m bitter that Sanders is all but done, but not just because he was my candidate.

It’s the how and why he was systematically marginalized that will be keeping me up nights.

This column rain in The Times Herald on March 15.

Will It Go ‘Round In Circles?

Circles

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — Despite being the anti-gun party, the Democratic donkey is locking and loading and eyeing up a close-range target: Its own foot.

Yes, the party that can’t get out of its own way is back at it again, turning the primary and caucuses (eye roll) into what will be a prolonged and destructive civil war.

And, on one leg, it will be forced to hobble to the finish line in November of this year.

The real losers? The American people.

And the only winner will be the other side, the one with a vocal minority that will gladly give you four more years of their president (not ours), even though he has set the bar so low for civility and behaving presidential that any of the remaining Democratic hopefuls would have to join a satanic cult to match it.

Last time around, the Democrats made the mistake of trying to have an uninspiring candidate, Hillary Clinton, run unopposed.

Russian interference aside, she still should and could have won the general election – and for reasons I have enumerated before (a better running mate, campaigning in swing counties of swing states, standing up for herself in debates, etc.).

This time around, we have the opposite. There were so many candidates that the field looked like the ensemble of a Broadway musical.

Even now, with a few (Andrew Yang, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, etc.) dropping off, the battle for the lead role is up for grabs.

As it should be.

Nothing better – and more American, let alone Democratic – than a little healthy competition.

The problem is that the fighting has gotten dirty, with below-the-belt blows that were on full display during the debates ahead of the Nevada Caucuses and South Carolina primary.

The sand thrown around the sandbox, considering what is at stake, was laughable.

Upstart Michael Bloomberg is spending is own money to get elected? OK, and? What did your president (not mine) do to get elected? At least Bloomberg is diametrically opposed to your president (not mine) on all the issues that matter.

Bloomberg is not my candidate of choice, but I have to say he is growing on me. It’s interesting that he is now fielding issues about stop-and-frisk (a policy initiated by Rudy Giuliani when he was mayor and supported by the current “person” who calls himself president). We all knew about it before. It’s not a revelation.

It’s important to bring it up, sure, but let us not forget the intent – despite its clumsy and insensitive execution – which was to try and curtail black-on-black crime (the same kind that Louis Farrakhan decries to applause) in largely black neighborhoods.

Also, Bloomberg was allegedly caught saying not nice things to and about women.

But, uh, hello?

Remember that low bar we talked about? Should we get into the Access Hollywood tapes? I didn’t think so.

Let’s move on to my candidate Bernie Sanders, who is the frontrunner du jour. As such, he had to enter the debate with body armor to fend off his also-ran competitors.

They talked about his backers – the so-called Bernie Bros. – being not so nice on Twitter.

You mean the same Twitter format that your president (not mine) uses as his 3 a.m. bully pulpit?

Take it from someone who has gone the full 15 rounds with too many of his supporters to count, often having to block them when responses turned into challenges to have a duel in the Town Square, that no one goes as low as they go (especially once beaten down on the facts).

If your president (not mine) can’t be blamed for his brigade, why should Sanders take the heat for what a few supporters did in his name?

Heading into the debate, Sanders had close to a third of the vote in national polls, and had opened up a double-digit lead. That’s quite an accomplishment in a field made even more populated by Bloomberg’s surge.

And yet, television pundits twist and turn it around to say Sanders hasn’t grown his base from when it was just him and Clinton, who only built her delegate (and super delegate) lead by winning a lot of southern red states before he was a known entity to the black voters that make up a large part of the Democratic electorate in those states.

It’s a general theme, picking on Sanders’ electability (one guy with a book to sell on MSNBC said he’d lose 44 states and another disagreed, although slightly, saying 40).

Why is there never discussion about why Sanders is surging into Super Tuesday? They don’t want to address his popularity, and the crowds he brings out as compared to the others, because it doesn’t fit the script.

It is clearly evident that will come down to Sanders and Bloomberg, arguing like two old Jewish men at a deli over whether to get the lox or the whitefish on their bagels (I can say that, since I’m of the tribe). It’s pretty clear that only Joe Biden, who still clings to some tepid black support in those same states that gave Clinton that cushion she clumsily dragged to the finish line ahead of Sanders.

Biden will do well enough, I predict, that the pundits will declare the guy who needs a wake-up call and snooze alarm the “comeback kid.”

That means a temporary three-horse race, but one wonders if the others – Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg – will read the writing on the wall and do the right thing and drop out.

This will put all eyes back on the ultimate prize.

If the Democrats want to take aim on the White House, they need to stop targeting each other.

So far, with a foot wound in danger or getting infected, it does not look good.

This column ran in The Times Herald on Feb. 24, 2020.

Turn and Face the Strange

Change

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE  — It was the fall of 2000. I had become engaged to my now-wife (and Sofia’s “mama”) over the summer, and I could feel the winds of change in the air.

I had been a sports writer since 1988 and, other than not getting to be next Johnny Bravo (Greg Brady still should have gone for it, and then done college), I was content.

I liked to write, and I liked sports, so it fit (at least better than the glove on O.J.’s hand).

The problem was that sports are played on nights and weekends, a time when most of the spectating world is doing the opposite.

But if you’re a sports writer, it means you are working nights and weekends.

It was fine for 13 years, but I looked into the future and saw an abyss.

If I wanted to be a family man, I needed to make a change.

Some would call it a “Come to Jesus” moment. Lapsed Jew/atheist that I am, we will just call it a moment of truth.

While others in my situation had to either leave the business or go elsewhere, a chance to turn the beat around – quite literally — was right there at The Times Herald.

Newsroom turnover always had a mind of its own. We would have a set staff for long stretches and then, for whatever reason, everyone would seem to leave at once.

At this particular time, while we were full in sports, the newsroom had turned into a ghost town.

Skirting the tumbleweeds, I walked into the office of then-editor Mike Morsch – a straight shooter from the Midwest with whom I had a good rapport and still call friend – and, in the words of Tony Montana from Scarface, “proposed a proposition.”

I offered to fill one of the many empty chairs in the newsroom, but only under the condition that I would be the police reporter and nothing else. I wanted no parts of covering municipal or school board meetings.

Ever.

To my surprise, he was good with it.

For a while, I did both – helping out sports on busy nights, like when there were Friday night football games to be covered – while also learning the ropes of the police beat.

Within a few months, though, I really wasn’t even homesick for sports anymore.

News was growing on me.

But that’s easy for me to say.

I wasn’t going to meetings, like other reporters, and coming back to the office to write about complex issues – ones that truly affected people’s lives — while on the deadline crunch.

When I became managing editor in 2003, a large part of the job was scheduling reporters based on their meetings. If they had a conflict – there were more municipalities and school districts than reporters – we had to prioritize.

It was an odd thing, not having any personal experience with what was or was not important.

Until now.

The times they are a changin’ (nod to Sir Bob of Dylan).

As a concerned citizen, I have been to a handful of Whitpain Township meetings – and have gotten up to voice my opinion with more passion than I thought possible – about an ongoing issue in my neighborhood.

I won’t bore you with the gory details. Let’s just say that someone is looking to rewrite the zoning code to maximize his profit margin. Some of my concerned neighbors are primarily focused on the environment — water flow, trees being chopped down, the view from their back windows and water basins.

I’m with them on all that (even though my eyes glaze over with the water basin stuff), but my main thing – and that of a few others in our core group – is what even more cars will do to an already tenuous morning traffic logjam.

The other night, while we were waiting for our issue on the docket, the room was packed beyond capacity about the issue of what will become of the Mermaid Lake property.

As concerned citizens from that end of the township grilled the developers about many of the same concerns we have – only on a larger scale (school overcrowding chief among them) – it hit me just how much these meetings matter.

If citizens don’t turn out and speak up, a lot of these permanent changes – changes for the worse – will be made in their name.

During all of this heated debate, I noticed a few young ladies who appeared to be reporters furiously taking down notes (one had a small laptop and the other big yellow legal pad).

I don’t know where they were from, but I’m glad they were there.

It was another moment of truth.

While I remain eternally grateful that I never had to be in their shoes and cover a meeting, I am eternally grateful they exist.

Because these meetings matter.

Always did, and always will.

This column appeared on February 16, 2020