July 2, 2018
By Arthur H. Gunther III
Of all that was so sorrowfully missing from the presidency on the line-of-duty deaths of five newspapermen and women in Maryland last week, the saddest was a moment of silence. Had the non-president, even before he again flew off to his Bedminster, N.J., golf course for another taxpayer-funded weekend, bowed his head and led us all in respect for the fallen, perhaps that would have been a nod toward humanity. At last.
But, no, Trump offered so little and soon will return to his fake “fake news” claim meant to smear the messengers of fact and truth, however imperfect we are.
I took his ice-cold feelings personally, for I am a retired newspaperman who also blessedly worked in an at-times cursed and cursing local newsroom, as did the five men and women killed in the offices of The Capital Gazette in Annapolis Thursday by a gunman on a grudge mission.
Too many hate the messenger, and if you are crazed as well, and if you can easily buy weapons despite that, all journalists are in the gunsight, emboldened by a “president” who called media coverage of the North Korean peace talks “treasonous.” Joseph Goebbels, step forward.
All we citizens should take Trump’s despicable behavior personally. Where was his empathy for the fallen, as much in the line of duty, and now in the line of fire, as our military? Tweeting that he offered prayers for the victims and then leaving it at that is not enough. This was a mourning weekend in Annapolis, in America, and he played golf.
Bury your dead, loved ones of Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters. Those of civility mourn with you.
Perhaps the epitaph on all these tombstones should read, in the words of Pat Ferguson, Gazette reporter: “… buy a local newspaper.” Truth begins in covering local village and school meetings, all government doings. Cover the statehouse and the Congress. And, especially today, cover a presidency that is leaning fascist, playing representative government as fools, pushing an agenda fueled by racism, fear, hatred. Oligarchy, stand up.
Today, those of decency bow in mourning for the five journalists. On Nov. 6, we show up at the polls to forward what the Capital Gazette Five we’re accomplishing. Do not let democracy die in darkness. Do not let their deaths be in vain.
The writer is a retired newspaperman. ahgunther@Yahoo.com