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And so the earth turns


Dear Friends,

Good morning. The other day, Mighty Betsy and I were watching “Morning Joe” on the TV. Joe Scarborough and his better half, Mika Brzezinski, are obviously liberal in their political persuasion.

Joe is a former Republican congressman whose views often parallel my own. He was commenting about the Rev. Franklin Graham’s opinion that Mayor Pete Buttigiev should repent his gay lifestyle. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and recent Democratic presidential hopeful told the world that he is “gay” and his homosexuality was not a choice but was predetermined before birth.

That’s how MB and I look at homosexuality. As the gay tennis star Martina Navratilova famously said, “Why would anyone in their right mind choose to be gay?”

Whenever I bring up my unscientific research about homosexuality in the four Gospels … and conclude that Jesus had nothing to say about it, I’m met with a storm of criticism.

And so the earth turns.

The subject of the Rev. Franklin Graham makes my blood boil. He’s certainly not the man that his father was … the late Rev. Billy Graham. MB and I met Billy Graham when we were members of the American Newspaper Association’s board of directors. We were at the Statue of Liberty during the Reagan presidency.

I could never square the fact that Rev. Franklin Graham criticized former President Bill Clinton for his extra-marital affair with a White House intern but condones the sexual behavior of President Trump. I suppose that some things are just too difficult to understand.

Meanwhile, a few days ago, I was sitting in the barber chair for my every-three-week haircut (for me, a haircut is an oxymoron). I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that she didn’t know who Mayor Pete Buttigiev was. Probably most Americans don’t know the Buttigiev story.

The mayor of South Bend, Indiana is only 37 years old. He’s a Harvard grad, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Afghanistan War vet, classical pianist and speaks seven languages. He’s also gay.

I asked my barber if she’s registered to vote? No, she answered. Her husband? No, he’s not registered to vote either. He’s an enthusiastic Trump supporter and tunes into Fox News, exclusively. Should I have been surprised? Probably not. The Trump base consists of something between 30 and 40 percent of voting Americans. Does that mean that something between 60 and 70 percent are not in the forever-Trump mold?

We’ll see.

I wonder whether the weakening national GOP will affect the local Bucks County commissioner battles? For decades, the Republican Party has dominated the commissioner races. The majority commissioners have been Republicans, the minority commissioner, a Democrat. That may change this year. Republican Rob Loughery and Democrat Diane Ellis-Marseglia are incumbents.

Loughery’s Republican running mate is Gene DiGirolamo, the popular Republican state representative from Bensalem Township. Ellis-Marseglia’s Democratic running mate is Bob Harvie, a Falls Township supervisor. The Democrats have turned the political tables in registration.

They now enjoy plurality status among registered voters. It all will depend upon voter turnout. If the Democrats can get their act together, they’ll win the commissioner majority.

With this as background, you’ll understand why I was intrigued with Joe Lockhart’s op-ed column in the New York Times April 23. A partisan, Lockhart was Bill Clinton’s White House press secretary from 1998 to 2000. Here are his salient thoughts about the state of the Republican Party.

“Mr. Trump has abandoned most of the core principles that have defined Republicans for the past century,” Lockhart began. “Free trade abandoned for protectionism. Challenging our adversaries and promoting democracy replaced by coddling Russia and cozying up to dictators near and far. Fiscal conservatism replaced by reckless spending and exploding deficits.

“What’s left of the party is a rigid adherence to tax cuts, a social agenda that repels most younger Americans and rampant Xenophobia and race-based politics that regularly interferes with the basic functioning of the federal government.

“Republicans today are the party of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson … a coalition that, in the face of every demographic trend in America, will mean the long-term realignment of the federal government behind the Democrats.

“Keeping President Trump in office is the best way to cement Trumpism’s hold on the Republican Party.”

If Joe Lockhart’s summary turns out to be prophetic, it means bad times ahead for the GOP in Bucks County. We’ll see.

Sincerely, Charles Meredith