..Jon Simonds..

The Basically Brooklyn Series

Have you ever read George Will? I find many young people today have never even heard of George Will. I started reading George Will around the same time I started reading the late Charles Krauthammer, Mike Royko and Jimmy Breslin. It was somewhere in the late 70s.

I loved Breslin and thought Royko, a Chicago native, should be required High School reading. I hated Krauthammer and Will. I don't mean I actually hated them. I just hated the conservative ideologue the two shared. It was impossible not to respect them. Their writing was a mirror on the wall reflecting the intellect standing before it and at times, the image before you would have you tremble in fear because the validity of their point was something you couldn't even begin to muster an argument against, lest you harbor some sick desire to look like Loki caught in the grip of the Hulk at the end of the Avengers Age of Ultron.

Royko, Krauthammer, Will and Breslin were syndicated columnists. Only George Will remains. They were all Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists in a time before the Internet was a household item and America wed the words Fake and News in holy matrimony. These were days when all four shared the same newspapers but stood worlds apart on the state of our country and where it should be. Royko and Breslin writing for the everyday joe, giving their blood, sweat and tears in an effort to balance a family budget while locked into the never-ending quest for the not so elusive American dream. These were Union men in days when Unions were strong, but the unions are mostly gone now, much like the American dream.

On the other side of the spectrum were the likes of Krauthammer and Will. Conservatives. Nixon didn't drive them into embarrassed hiding. These were men of convictions and not the criminal kind. They were budget conscious. Hawkish. It seemed to them, America was racing toward a cliff with such speed, the brakes would lock and the vehicle would skid right over the edge. The Japanese were making cars. The Russians had moved on Afghanistan. 241 U.S. Marines were killed in a single act of terrorism in Beirut.

These four journalists, before journalists were someone to hate, threaten and inevitably kill were America's diplomats. They never hated one another. They debated in a time when words like respect and compromise were still a part of the English language. I'm a peon in the shadow of a man like George Will. I'm a liberal flea on the shoulder of a conservative giant, but I think we should surely agree on the demise of America. We are no longer the leader of the free world, but merely a shadow of a nation that once was and the shadow is no longer trusted. We are no longer a nation united but divided by hate for those who differ from us; those whom we make excuses for the failures we hide and refuse to admit to. We read Facebook Meme's for our news and dismiss trained journalists as hoaxers. The biggest media in the world is exempt from the rules governing media. We have completely lost our way.

George Will has recently released a book. It's called the Conservative Sensibility. I'm sure I'll absolutely hate it, but it's ordered. It's on its way and I'll read it because sensibility is a word, like respect and compromise. Words that have seemingly vanished from the American landscape. We have to find those words again. We have to bring those words to life in the way we deal with one another. We have to force those words into the hallowed Halls of Congress. We must push these words all the way to the White House, or I fear America will vanish from the landscape too.

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