Letter From New York 02 17 2016 A dose of our better angels…

Since being in the hospital, I have developed a taste for tea.  No coffee has passed my lips since my release from the hospital.  My fellow patient, Anthony, called what they served “jail coffee” and I think he spoke from experience.  It certainly tasted like the only place they would serve it was somewhere where you were for punishment.

I get up in the morning, brew a cup of tea and crawl back into bed to sip it and read the NY Times on my phone.  Very civilized, I think. 

Today, I taught.  Larry Divney, an old, old friend who was my boss for about forty- five minutes at A&E, gave a guest lecture today.  Almost as soon as I began reporting to him, he left for the Comedy Channel which then merged with Ha! and became Comedy Central.  The rest is history.  He became Comedy Central’s President and then retired.  That lasted four months.  The he “un-retired” and became President of Ad Sales for all of MTV Networks and after a few years of that, he actually did retire.

We reconnected when our mutual friend, Chuck Bachrach, told each of us one day we must be close to each other because, I mean, how big was Columbia County and we were both there?  That day, we ran into each other at Walmart and have celebrated most Thanksgivings and some Christmases together.

He spoke today about his career and how he dealt with people, with honesty and integrity, which he always has and he inspired some of the people in my class.  It was great to watch him do the Divney magic with my class.

Honesty and integrity – so important, no matter what you’re doing and occasionally not always in the forefront of people’s minds and actions.  They always were for Larry and I like to think for me, too, when I marched through the world of business.

This morning in something I read there was an exegesis of Hillary’s relationship with Kissinger which she has been touting recently.  It has made me think less of her.  Kissinger was/is a bad apple.  He didn’t, as far as I can tell, play honestly or with integrity.  He was an opportunist of the worst sort.

Once, in New Delhi, I was in a restaurant, Bukhara, then considered the best restaurant in the city.  Might still be.  He was there with Nancy, close enough I could almost touch him.  We were all laughing and enjoying ourselves but there was a heaviness to his part of the room.  It was darker than where we were.  I still remember thinking about that, even now, all these years later.

He is not a good man.  And Hillary hurts herself with her association of herself with him.  He has the blood of many from the Vietnam War era on his hands.  He could have forestalled their deaths but I don’t think that mattered to him.  It was all politics. 

My friend, Greg Harrigan, was one of those who died in Vietnam who might not have had to if Kissinger had not fiddled with the peace process.

Am I bitter about what I know about the past?  Yes, a little…

Things did not have to be the way they were if men like Kissinger and Nixon had been men of integrity and honesty. 

My friend, Bruce Braun, messaged me on Facebook; all politicians have been cut from the same cloth, all the way back to the Romans.  I responded:  further back.  There were Egyptian politicians, Babylonian ones.  All of them about what was “necessary.” And “necessary” did not always mean what was honest but what was expedient for those who held power.

I’m getting old now and there will be a moment when I pass away and I will think:  I made it through.  My god, but I made it through this interesting thing called life.

However, I am still here and will be for awhile longer and since I haven’t quite made it through yet, I will still write and think and postulate about life and the future.

Today, in the Times, there was a report about the fact that while it is all quite wretched out there what with IS and Syria and Iraq and everything else, it is still so much better than it has been.  We are rising from the darkness more than we have ever been despite the horrors of the world.  Fewer people are in abject poverty.  Technology is empowering us.  We have not had the nuclear destruction of the world we feared during the Cold War.

Our better angels seem to be speaking, despite all the horrors that surround us…

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