Monday, August 15, 2016


Gold Medals and Lead Balloons

I’ve been watching the Olympics and election campaign coverage alternately on TV. The difference is striking.

No, I’m not referring to the fact that one is a feast of fantastic sports events and the other is a race for the presidency. I’m referring to character. Aside from my jaw-dropping admiration for the athleticism on display in Rio, I’ve actually found myself choked up by the camaraderie and good will displayed within teams, between teams, and by every nation — East, West, North and South. The closest thing to animosity was the questioning by a U.S. swimmer as to whether a Russian swimmer should have been allowed to compete based on a doping charge.

The world I witnessed at the Olympics is nowhere to be found in the inflammatory, isolationist and dangerous campaign of Donald Trump.

Sometimes a confluence of disparate events — such as these two — brings truth into sharp focus; in this case, how the beauty and brotherhood displayed in Rio shatters the dire depiction of our nation and the world by Mr. Trump.

Remember Paper?

Time was when you would write a letter on a sheet of paper — with pen, pencil or typewriter — place it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and send it off to someone who would be the only person able to read it — unless he or she wanted to show it to someone else. No hacking, no cherry-picking for partisan purposes — ergo, no scandals. Ahh, the good old days.

Now just the mention of emails sends shivers down the spines of those in government or business who send and receive loads of emails daily. The email hot seat is currently occupied by Hillary Clinton, who happens to be running for the presidency. We don't know at this writing how greatly her email problem will affect her candidacy. I suspect that she will overcome it, and, on January 20, 2017, she will occupy the Oval Office. At least I hope so, given the alternative.

But the problem goes deeper than the hacking of emails for political dirt. With all its marvels, computer technology has opened the way for scams, pornographic seduction, robbery of bank accounts — and there is even a call by some in government to return to paper ballots as a guarantee against digital interference with voting machines.

I realize we can't go back to the old days and old ways — nor should we — but the advent of  sophisticated computerized chicanery is frightening. It's a Pandora's Box that Pandora never dreamed of.

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