What a week. The planets were in alignment and all the important events in 2020 happened at one time. It was almost too much. There was First Saturday in downtown Frederick, with the popular Fire in Ice displays; a shadow-less Groundhog Day and the Super Bowl on Sunday; the Iowa caucus farce on Monday; the president’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday; Gov. Larry Hogan’s State of the State address and the Senate voting on Wednesday to acquit the president; and maybe getting a new recliner for the TV room, by Thursday. Friday looked to be kind of slow.
Getting to the important part first, that recliner replaces one we got from a relative. The old one weighs an estimated 600 pounds and was manufactured when men were men and the foundations of recliners were made of cast iron and possibly lead. Haven’t decided its fate, but I’m considering a ritual burning in the backyard, or carving it up with a reciprocating saw so it fits in the trash container. If it weren’t illegal, I’d toss it in nearby Lake Coventry — which isn’t really a lake, but a quarry that was once a convenient spot for dumping old cars, among other junk, according to a local native in the know.
The new recliner didn’t get here in time for some serious sitting during the impeachment trial. After that, the 3½-hour Super Bowl — with an additional 6 ½ hours of pre-game filler — seemed to really fly by. Since our senators had to sit quietly through a week’s worth of impeachment testimony, you knew they weren’t going to approve extending the process for witnesses and more documents.
They yearned to be free to preen before the cameras again and explain why they voted against getting rid of a president who has done everything in his power to be relieved of a job he wasn’t qualified for and probably didn’t want in the first place. He has done so many things wrong, partly out of a need to look like he’s in charge, but mainly out of ignorance.
Halfway across the country, how about that Iowa caucus disaster? Iowa covets its position as the first and most important primary candidate-chooser in the country, but is a state that is majority white and conservative, mostly agricultural, and about as atypical of the rest of the country as you could find. Still, we get all excited about what a meaningful thing it is when they get together in their homey little caucuses and announce that we have a winner. Those days might be ending. What happened this time around is a great advertisement for having a national primary on the same day.
It’s the national media that has attached so much importance to the Iowa results. They also like to jump on the dropout announcements by presidential candidates, usually blaming it on candidates not getting enough “traction.” They don’t get traction, or anything else, because some of our most qualified candidates are ignored by the major media. The media pick the horses in the race. The also-rans don’t get to race. They’re out of luck.
Meanwhile, at the Capitol, senators and representatives had to return for the president’s State of the Union speech to hear him crow about how well he and the country are doing. He must have been crushed he wasn’t able to also crow about escaping conviction in the impeachment trial. That came a day later.
Maybe now we can get back to normal. Maybe we can get back to the dog days and serious drinking of the regular First Saturdays in Frederick, the start of baseball spring training, and tracking the primary results from the more representative states. Maybe we can find some White House functionaries and congressional representatives with backbones to rein in the president’s worst impulses to shoot off missiles when the mood strikes, threaten countries with war like we’re playing video games, tick off some more allies, and continue his incendiary rallies that encourage further divisions in an already divided country, and make it OK to hate again.
Spring training sounds like the best bet. Slow-paced, sun-baked, elegantly played baseball might calm us all down. Yes, baseball should do it, and maybe getting a nice little table to go with that comfortable recliner. One can only hope.
New recliner owner Bill Pritchard, who has worked in community journalism for 40 years, writes from Frederick. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.