As a 74-year-old career newspaperman who took an ill-advised sabbatical into the netherworld of politics as an operative for the national GOP, I find that period of my life tops the list of regrets.
After a 12-year run as an operative with five of those years as a Vice President for Political Programs for the National Association of Realtors managing, among other things, what was then the nation’s largest political action committee, I let the double whammy of political power and a six-figure salary too lucrative to ignore.
Fortunately, the lunacy ended when I walked away from life and returned to my professional of choice: A newspaperman who follows the advice of the late, legendary Chicago newspaperman Finley Peter Dunne, who wrote that it is “the role of a newspaperman to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
In 12 years as a political operative and association executive paying millions of dollars every year to members of Congress, I enjoyed the trappings but became a hardened man who sank into alcoholism. It is not a coincidence that I walked away from politics and, on the same day, joined alcoholics anonymous, which continues to help keep me sober for 27 years, eight months, and one day (as this is being written).
As a newspaperman, I have covered thousands of stories, shot hundreds of thousands of photos covering racial strife, wars, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the lies of former President George W. Bush that led us to a war in Iraq that was not necessary and the democracy-threatening one term of corrupt con-artist Donald Trump, continues to pose a danger to America and our way of life.
We saw the danger of that threat over the weekend when the Republican National Committee endorsed a second run for president by Trump, something he clearly wants
Then they publicly declared that the Jan. 5 Capitol Riot that damaged the seat of Congress, left policemen and participants dead, and tried to subvert a legal exercise of Democracy, the election was a “responsible exercise of Democracy.”
If that is truly how most members of the Grand Old Party feel about that riot that was clearly an insurrection, then I wasted seven years of my life as an operative for that now-despicable political organization.
Thankfully, I have spent most of my nearly 70 career years as a newspaperman, for dailies in Virginia and Illinois before going to Washington, and afterward as a contract photojournalist and reporter for various newspapers and publications. I hope to continue that for whatever time I have left on this earth,
But working for the party that now seeks to trash Democracy and the Constitution is, I feel, a black mark that cannot be erased. I was part of what is now revealed as a traitorous organization.
Like Trump and the gang of thugs he incited to trash the Capitol, threatened and killed people, and tried to overturn a legal election, the Republican Party has crossed a line that correctly brands them as traitors to this nation.
I pray for forgiveness for being part of what is now a traitorous, racist, homophobic and intolerant organization.
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