Small World: A spine of bronze


Henry Precht

Henry Precht

By Henry Precht

BN Columnist

Swish, swish, swish.

I was puzzled by these short bursts of wind until I heard added to them “touché, en garde.” Next, there was swish, swish, swish, gotcha.

I was walking up by the Civil War monument, as is my frequent evening custom. There, as he is fairly frequently, was the Civil War soldier. This time he wasn’t sitting down on the plinth for a rest. He was pirouetting and flashing his sword about.

Me: Hello up there. What gives? Are you practicing for the fencing Olympics?

CWS: They won’t take a professional like me. They’re just a bunch of kids at play. They don’t want any men of bronze in their ranks.

Me: Then, what are you up to, if I may ask?

CWS: Haven’t you heard? There’s a new civil war brewing and we’ve got to be ready to defend ourselves. And just like the big one, this one is rural agriculture against urban industry. Only this time, the farmers are the good guys and the city folks are the aggressors.

Me: Funny, I’ve missed any word of this particular struggle.

CWS: They, the enemy, want to close the Farmers’ Market or just as bad, move it off to some god-forsaken place. They say the folks who come to the market jam up the parking lot so there’s no room for patrons of business and urban shoppers.

Me: It would be too bad to lose the Market.

CWS: Of course. Any one who has shopped there would agree with you. Can you find anywhere such fresh and good vegetables, baked goods, meats, cheeses and what have you? No, you can’t.

Me: Don’t leave out the potted plants and coffee.

CWS. You know the best meal you’re likely to taste in this town would be the chopped up oyster mushrooms from the Market with butter, cheese and pasta. I’d give anything to have a taste, but my throat has turned a bit rusty.

Me: I can confirm from my fully functioning taste buds your supposition.

CWS: You know in my heyday, we didn’t have such fancy foods. You were lucky to get a piece of cornbread and a slice of salt pork. Now, men and women take pride in their cooking and trying new dishes. Our country’s the better for it. Moving the Market would be like bringing back the tasteless bad old days.

Me: Speaking of the country, have you been following the elections?

CWS: I’ll tell you what I think, but be warned: Back 150 years ago, I had no idea I’d spend my later life stuck on top of a monument holding up a flag. I thought I’d be carrying the flag to start a new society in the West. So you see how wrong, how shortsighted I can be.

That said, let me say what I think about Donald Trump. There are two things that you must always bear in mind about Mr. Trump. First, there is a huge popular movement against him. Folks are amazed and upset by the terrible things he says about people he doesn’t like. Plus, it seems the entire media establishment is lined up against him. Let him try a bit of his brand of humor and the press will accuse him of being a traitor working for Putin or an assassin threatening Hillary.

The other big thing about Trump is he has a massive ego — bigger than any wild rebel’s, bigger than any abolitionist fanatic. And like most big egos, he comes with a thin skin. Can’t take even the mildest criticism.

So, the bottom line, as I see it from up here, is he won’t make it to November. He’ll see — I’ll give him credit for reading the handwriting on the wall (how else did he slip out of all those bankruptcies?). He’ll see that he’s headed for a crushing defeat and he’ll drop out. He’ll claim, of course, that the system was rigged against him, that the corrupt elites were lined up against him. And he’ll be right. Still, accurate perception won’t salve his wound. So he’ll quit.

Me: Whew, that’s a skinny limb you’ve climbed out on.

CWS: Right, but I’m a man of bronze, remember. But I’ll go one branch further. It would be good for the country if Hillary would at the same time join him on the sidelines. People don’t care for her either. Let the country decide between Pence and Kaine.

Henry Precht is a retired Foreign Service Officer.

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