Tuesday, August 1, 2017

"There. Is. No. Chaos"

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That was the Twitter message yesterday from the Tweeter in Chief. I couldn't resist because it is simply so deliciously outrageous. I am convinced Trump's definition of terms resides somewhere in a parallel universe with which I am unfamiliar.

I am maintaining my stance about not wanting to dive too deeply into the chaos on the national political scene. It's so discouraging and so unfulfilling. But the list grows longer each day of chaotic gyrations emanating from the White House, the Congress and filtering down into virtually every municipality. The number of defections (some call them merely "adjustments") among senior staffers is growing. How many "fresh starts" and "new pages" does Trump get?

So now he brings in a four-star general in the form of James Kelly to steady the ship.

There is some good news. The stock markets are at all-time highs. Good news or impending peril? The Supreme Court is back to political balance and there is a full complement of nine justices. No chaos there at present.

The leaks of classified information are significant, however, and there are substantially more at this point in his administration than either of his two predecessors. George W. Bush had eight leaks, Barack Obama had nine. The Trump administration has logged 64 leaks of classified information to this point, and the numbers continue to escalate. Clearly, something is going on that is unprecedented. There seems to be a concerted effort to bring Trump down. Ironically, it was the discontent with career politicians in the first place that facilitated his election.

There is a persistent rumor that Vice-President Pence is mounting support from donors and preparing for his own inauguration. That relies on some wished-for scenario that would include a Trump impeachment for removal from office. There are even folks out there who speak openly of assassinating Trump to hasten the day for his removal from office by violent means. What seems far-fetched today could materialize someday. Can anyone predict that one? I can't.

The rumors run rampant every day, fueled by the cable news networks. Fox News is nothing more than state-run television in my estimation. The opposition cable news channels are no better.

Congress is in complete disarray over getting its agenda together on repealing and replacing Obamacare. After running on that agenda for nine years and with a majority in both Houses, we have seen nothing productive getting done to correct the system. Legislation is stalled on an entitlement program that will bankrupt America if left unchecked.

Either that, or two other options suggest themselves: One, Obamacare will collapse if left untended, and/or two, Obamacare will be rescued by yet another taxpayer bailout for the insurance companies and Obamacare will be transformed into a single payer system, which was the original goal when it started. It still translates into bankruptcy. Just how long can we go on borrowing our way into the future with no consequences?

Socialized medicine is the only obvious outcome. My guess is that for all the rhetoric coming from Republicans about freedom of choice, they aren't much different than Democrats. Overcoming the status quo is proving more difficult than originally envisioned by the voters. The pledge to "drain the swamp" now seems a distant echo from the campaign trail. Good sound bite, but little more.

Looking around the world we see Russia trying to reassert its will globally through Vladimir Putin. He will stop at nothing to covertly insert himself into the political calculus and disrupt our democracy in any way he can. Who knows what Robert Mueller will come up with? Did Trump collude with the Russians to defeat Hillary? The idea is laughable. Were they willing to meet to gather dirt on Hillary? Absolutely. Does that rise to "collusion"? Stay tuned on that one.

Let's not leave out North Korea, boldly brandishing the threat to annihilate any large city in the United States their noble dictator may randomly select. At his cabinet meeting yesterday, Trump merely asserted, "We'll handle it."

Now there is news about another special prosecutor being appointed to investigate all the Democrats, including HIllary, Lynch, Comey, the DNC, and that list grows. Our government, our political institutions, our staid and true principles of the Republic are rapidly being redefined. Confusion and distrust reign unchallenged, it seems.

I secretly cheered for Barack Obama, and hoped he would succeed when he was POTUS. I have the same aspirations for Trump. I am hoping there is a way forward that can be identified, clearly communicated, and that statesmen on the political front might yet emerge. But for now:


Friday, March 31, 2017

Seventeen Inches

Once again, I cite a story that was sent to me by Jim Ritchie. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did at the start of the 2017 Major League Baseball Season:

In  Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA's convention.

 While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh, man, worth every penny of my airfare.”  Who is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter; I was just happy to be there.

 In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948.  He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate. Seriously, I wondered, who is this guy?

 After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage. Then, finally …“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility.  “I may be old, but I’m not crazy.  The reason I stand before you today  is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.” Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the  room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?”

 After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches?”, more of a  question than answer.  “That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”Another long pause. “Seventeen inches?” a guess from another reluctant coach.

 “That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?” “Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.  “You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”
“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison. “Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”............“Seventeen inches!”

 “RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major  Leagues? “Seventeen inches!”  “SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause....“They send him to  Pocatello !” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter. “What they don’t do is this:  they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches or nineteen inches.  We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.'” Pause... “Coaches…” pause, "… what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate?

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today.  With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards.  We widen the plate!”

 Pause...Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag. “This is the problem in our schools today.  The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people.

 We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”  Silence....He replaced the flag with a Cross. “And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate for themselves!  And we allow it.”

 “And the same is true with our government. Our so called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply to themselves. They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer  serve us. And we allow them to widen home plate and we see our country falling into a dark abyss while we watch.”

 I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curve balls and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

 “If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today.  It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools & churches & our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …” With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside, “… dark days ahead.”

 Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach. His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your  players — no matter how good they are — your own children, your churches,  your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches."

And this my friends is what our country has become and what is wrong with it today, and how to fix it.

"Don't widen the plate."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Beware the Warning Signs

Several months ago I was giving one of our daughters a ride to Salt Lake. She commented that my car seemed "noisy" and wondered if I thought so. I dismissed her comment because she isn't often in town and I was giving her a ride to the airport. I thought she didn't know much about cars and probably wasn't in a position to make that judgment.

Then another daughter a few weeks later drove it home from Salt Lake when she was with Patsy, and the next time I saw her she made the same comment. "You know, Dad," she wisely counseled, "if you just let it go with a car things only get worse in time." "Women," I thought to myself, and once again I dismissed the warning.

Over the holidays we swapped cars with a son and his wife who live over in Heber City. When he returned it to me he wondered aloud, "Why is your car noisier than I remember it? Isn't a Prius supposed to be quieter?" Well, he didn't drive it as much as I did and I chalked up an explanation in my mind that it was probably a little noisier with snow tires on it during the winter months.

Then, after digging it out repeatedly in January and finally being able to drive it once more on a regular basis in February and March, I had to admit to myself - this car really DID sound noisier than I remembered it being. There was a distinct humming vibration in the steering at freeway speed that could easily be discerned in the steering wheel when I turned slightly left or right.

Then I took a group of colleagues (men and women) out to lunch last week. All commented on how noisy it sounded. Our collective wisdom led us to suspect a faulty wheel bearing assembly. One said, "In my professional opinion (he is not a mechanic) this needs to get into the dealership for an inspection."

I heeded the warning signs finally, and took it in for an evaluation. Sure enough, the right front passenger side wheel bearing assembly was badly compromised, and the mechanic told me I would have been a dead man at freeway speed had it failed en route. He thought it might have happened as early as the next two or three trips I took it on.

My purpose in telling this story is to remind us all that warning signs constantly seem to pop up in our lives on a frequent basis. Some we heed, others we dismiss. Some amount to nothing, but others may have life or death consequences if left unattended.

Recently, I have been made aware of some who are leaving the Church. There seem to be a variety of reasons, but each story suggests there are warning signs that left unattended can be catastrophic in time.

In one case, after a lifetime of service to the Church and a pension plan from "the Lord's university" in his hip pocket, it was reported a man and his family had exited the Church. He had been making increasingly bombastic statements about the humble servants the Lord has put in place. "Joseph Smith was the only true prophet," he maintained, "and all the others are just false prophets who have been leading the Church astray ever since." He asserts it is our Mother in Heaven who will judge us, regardless of what the scriptures have revealed. He is now helping Denver Snuffer raise money to distribute a new and improved version of the scriptures and build an "undefiled" new temple.

Another boldly declared, "The Church is talking out of both sides of its mouth on gays and lesbians. They are all our brothers and sisters, but same sex attraction support groups are nothing more than lip service. The leaders of the Church tell us to love them as our brothers and sisters, but they are not allowed to have full participation in the blessings."

Still another railed against the Church's policy to not permit minority-aged children of openly rebellious same sex couples from having the blessings of baptism and priesthood ordinations. They have been deeply offended and have asked that their names be removed from the membership rolls of the Church. "I cannot pay tithing to a Church that discriminates," he told me defiantly.

Most recently, I heard about a group who plan to protest next week's Conference proceedings because of a decades-old grievance about a Scout leader who was abusing Scout-aged boys and the activity had gone unreported for years until now when the boys had finally come forward. They have filed suit against the Church and are seeking judgment to avenge the loss of the innocence of those boys.

Still others, I have been told, plan to protest at the Conference for women to have priesthood ordinations, and others who would advocate for the leaders of the Church to overthrow President Monson because he is now senile. Stop me if you're old enough to remember that one before. News flash - the President of the Church is almost always an old man subject to the infirmities of the flesh.

These warning signs among us are real, and those who hold these often political and highly charged philosophical positions are certainly entitled to express their opinions. I believe most are sincere in their passionate assertions that they are right.

These conditions, it seems, are persistent now, but these conditions have always been with us. The Lord's servants have never had an easy path in this dispensation or in any other. The blood of the martyrs attests to their diligence and faithfulness in the face of all the opposition. In their lives we see a pattern worth emulating, I believe. We will be beset and besieged on all sides in the days and years ahead. The path will not be easier. The "noise" will become deafening until we must give heed and take action or risk death spiritually and even temporally.

I suggest that we chart a course and make up our minds early to heed the warning signs and take steps to repair those conditions that threaten our safety and our peace. The solutions will not come through political means. The Republicans and the Democrats are dead to me. The solutions to our frustrations may not always come to us through the leaders of the Church either. In our impatience with them we may be left to look within. What is the path we will take?

I ignored the warning signs of a bad wheel bearing assembly that persisted for months before I took action, seemingly just in time to save myself and my family from some dire consequences. But in acting to correct a simple malfunctioning part on a car I was spared. How like that simple story are our lives?

What warning signs are you detecting in your lives? Is it something you see? Perhaps something you can hear? Or is it more subtle? Is it something you feel that isn't right in your life? What do you need to do?

Maybe it's time to take it to the Dealer for repairs. You don't have to wait as long as I did to find relief.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Observed Elder D. Todd Christofferson:

"What a precious gift is divine love! Filled with that love, Jesus asks, 'Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?' Tenderly He reassures, 'Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come. . . will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.'" ("Abide in My Love," Ensign, November 2016).

He concludes: "Will you not love Him who first loved you? Then keep His commandments. Will you not be a friend to Him who laid down His life for His friends? Then keep His commandments. Will you not abide in His love and receive all that He graciously offers you? Then keep His commandments. I pray that we will feel and fully abide in His love. . ."

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Donald Trump is NOT my President

It's time to finally turn the page into a New Year.

L. Brent Goates
Since my last entry much has transpired. Chief among the events in my life was the passing of my father, L. Brent Goates, on November 20th. It was surprising how many of his contemporaries and others seemed to pass during this holiday season. On the way to the cemetery in the mortuary limo, Patsy observed that it seemed so many people were dying, and she asserted most people seemed to die over the holidays. I challenged that statement, observing that people die every day. A brother-in-law, quick on the draw with Siri, queried, "What day do most people die?" The immediate response was a graph showing that Christmas Day, December 25th, is the number one day of the year on which people die. Who knew?

Dad lived a long and productive life. It seemed so appropriate that he died the week of Thanksgiving. We planned the funeral events for the Saturday following Thanksgiving, and providentially all our children and grandchildren except one family were in attendance. The night before the funeral, November 25th, we had a visitation for friends and family on what would have been my Mother's 91st birthday were she still living. Our missing family was sending a missionary off to Mexico and simply couldn't be in two places at once.

Dad's passing lifted a burden from my shoulders that was unexpected. He was the last of his generation on both sides of the family to pass on, and I felt all the uncertainty of his situation resolve in an instant upon his death as they rolled the gurney carrying his body down the sidewalk to the waiting mortuary van. It was the end of an era. I was so happy for him I could hardly contain my exuberance. Some people may not understand that emotion, but it arises from my certain faith in a life after death and a reunion with all his loved ones on the other side. Coupled with that I felt the moniker of "Skipper" that had attached to me in my childhood by my Grandfather had finally been erased. The release was tangible and welcomed.

He had reached a point in his existence where living became a burden for him. His body was slowly deteriorating day by day and the dilution of his physical, mental and emotional energy was palpable. Finding the exit door to mortality had seemed so elusive. He kept asking me, "Does everyone have to go through this? Why is it so hard?" Of course, those are rhetorical questions no one can answer except those who pass through the portal, and once they are gone it's impossible for them to tell their tale.

Despite his demise, because he lingered so long we had ample opportunities to discuss everything and to say our farewells until we were fully satisfied. I miss him a lot. I find myself reaching for the phone to talk to him, then realize he isn't here any more. But I rejoice in his escape from his decrepit physical frame. He and we were blessed that he maintained his sense of humor and his quick wit right to the end, an outcome for which he prayed continuously.

Just before his passing the Cubs triumphed in the World Series. Later the Utes would fade to number 21 in the final college football standings after losing to Washington, so in that one case things DID get worse.

And then the improbable election of Donald J. Trump happened. He received no help from me, and neither did Hillary Clinton. I've heard so many say since then, "Donald Trump is NOT my President." However, I am not one of those people. I was as gracious and accepting of Barack Obama when he was first elected and then re-elected as I knew how to be, but surprisingly I have not had such magnanimous feelings for Trump. Why? I guess it's because no one can predict with any accuracy where we're headed from here. On the one hand I believe his agenda more closely resembles mine, but on the other hand at least I knew what we were getting with Obama. After eight long years, the Republic survived, an outcome many doubted when he first took office. That's what leads me to hope we just might survive Donald J. Trump too. America is resilient, if nothing else.

On the day of our 47th wedding anniversary, December 19th, Packsize held its annual Christmas party. We're actually more politically correct than that, so it's now called a "holiday celebration." Because of the conflict in our calendar, I excused myself and took Patsy on a date to celebrate our anniversary. When we returned home later that night I was surprised (shocked, more accurately!) to learn that I had been voted "Person of the Year" at Packsize by my peers. It was a humbling recognition. My first reaction was to wonder if we had somehow lowered our standards as a company.

Donald J. Trump, 45th POTUS
I watched the inaugural in part on Friday, January 20th. "The most important election of our lifetimes" had mercifully come to a conclusion. I was mostly underwhelmed with Trump's inaugural address, seeming as it did a compilation of his campaign stump speeches with little or no substance I could discern in it. I remain convinced that our political system in this country is beyond help. Time will tell if it can be rescued, but don't hold your breath. I plan to look to inspired Church leaders and the scriptures for guidance from here on in. There won't be any political saviors anytime soon, though we all seem to cling to that hope. I'm still turned off by the media coverage, and the harder I seek to avoid political coverage the more pervasive it seems to be.

I can't conclude without a passing tribute to God for the prodigious amounts of snowfall that have landed in our front yard this year. In the thirty years we've lived in Pine Valley at 7333 feet above sea level, we have never seen so much snow so early in the winter as we have experienced this year. It culminated two weeks ago with snow each day and mechanical failures in the equipment owned by the man who plows our road. The snow kept piling up, drifting in, and once I got out one morning I could not get back in for over a week. Patsy remained behind snowbound in the house, and I camped out night after night at my father's home in Salt Lake. Finally, we secured the help of a local excavator with a robust 4x4 front loader who was able to scoop out the road so we could be reunited. This is the first year I have heard the term "atmospheric river," and I can validate it's a "real thing".

Any discussion about snow at our house is always a conversation against self-preservation. If I express gratitude for all the snow, I am expressing hope in the coming summer when we so desperately need the water from the reservoirs so we can drink and water our livestock. On the other hand moving this amount of snow around and navigating through it can be challenging (and expensive).

So those snow events led to the purchase of another gas-guzzling SUV with more clearance, more power and 4x4 muscle than my environmentally friendly Prius. I kept the Prius and now I have a 4Runner to bail me out on the dicey snow days.

We begin 2017 with hearts filled with hope and happiness for what the future may hold this year. For me at least, it is the beginning of a new era as we embark on an exciting and unknown future.

And like it or not if you live in America, Donald J. Trump most certainly is your President.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Could It Get Any Worse?

I have really been working at putting myself out of range in this election season, as I mentioned in my last post. Instead, I have been filling my time with far more productive activities, like following the Cubs through the playoffs. How great is that story? After 71 years of futility they are going back to the World Series. I am so happy for them and all their long-suffering die-hard fans. I suspect there are overnight now more Cubs fans than at any time in their history.

And how about those Utes? Now 7-1 overall, and tied for the the lead in the PAC-12 South. Their 52-45 shootout with UCLA yesterday in the Rose Bowl where Joe Williams smashed the single game rushing record with 332 yards was poetry in motion on a football field. They got some love in the coaches poll today, moving up to number 16. Even the Cougars from the school down south have been fun to watch. Their record doesn't reflect how close they've come to being undefeated. Even Utah would be undefeated with a few more inches that fell short on the final drive in their single loss to California.

So, believe me when I say these have been pleasant diversions from the nightly news. Speaking of that, aside from the politics, I have wearied of the nightly crime blotter - murder, adultery, theft, burglary, armed assaults, and all that goes with it. As a product of the Sixties, I have always been a television addict, but those days are now gone as my television time has been self-restricted. I hate commercials. God blessed the man who developed the "Hopper," and I praise that man's name now.

I am continually reminded of the ancient record as found in Mormon 8. Mormon was the father of Moroni, and one of the last survivors of an ancient nation state that once thrived in the Americas. But his civilization was destroyed by wickedness. He writes here in about 400 A.D., with a prophetic vision of the times in which we live today:

 35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

 36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

 37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

 38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies — because of the praise of the world?

 39 Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?

 40 Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?

 41 Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.

I want to be clear - I have always thought of myself as an optimistic person. I really don't want to believe in secret combinations that are set up to get gain, murder the innocents for power, and grind the faces of the poor into the dust. I don't look for the anti-Christ under every bush. I want to believe that people are basically decent, hard-working and honest with one another. I really don't want to let myself go there with conspiracy theories about "rigged" systems of government or business that pollute our inheritance as free people in America.

But, that said, the conditions, the rhetoric, the back and forth of the political dialogue to which we have been exposed this election cycle have been so reprehensible that if I had small children at home I would have no choice but to unplug the television. Even with sports, I record the games, fast-forward through the endless commentary and commercials and reduce my watching to the actual plays. That Utah-UCLA game yesterday took four hours. Watching it the "Hopper" way I do takes a little longer than a half-hour.

Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Filtering out all the "noise" is exactly what Elder David A. Bednar was speaking about here. The search for truth isn't difficult if we ask ourselves these two important questions posed by Elder Bednar.

Some are simply too young to remember the Clinton era when Bill was the POTUS and his whole presidency seemed to be one sexual intrigue after another. Stains on a blue dress, parsing of tortured definitions of what constituted "sexual relations" in front of a panel of the House of Representatives convened to impeach him for lying to a grand jury, and the lies that were told, then refuted and corrected with hard evidence to the contrary; all were the "highlights" of those years. Impeached in the House, but a conviction lacking in the Senate, Bill Clinton skated, though he was impugned and lost his license to practice law. And now he's back running for "First Gentleman," whatever that may come to mean. He is anything but a "gentleman."

This year the Clinton legacy has all been brought to the forefront once again, accompanied by the allegations of the escapades of one Donald J. Trump, man of the world if ever there was one. It seems our national moral compass has been demagnetized. We are no longer shocked by anything that once would have immediately disqualified these two candidates in Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Our true north is whatever a scheming politician says it is. I noticed the other day that the polling done last week puts Clinton and Trump in exactly the same place they were a year ago when this all started - in other words, nothing has been settled yet. I guess we should be grateful they are both the most loathed candidates ever put forward to run for the presidency.

I think the counsel of this priceless hymn is worth repeating - If the way be full of trials, weary not. . .

And so, in answer to my question, "Could it get any worse?" I answer yes - the Cubs could lose the World Series, and the Utes could lose to Washington next week and get little or no respect in the national rankings.