When my dad was dying of lung cancer, I remember him sitting on my sofa and giving me two bits of advice.
The first was to spend time with your children when they are young – something he sadly thought he did not do enough of when I was younger.
The second bit of advice he gave me came via my mother and “The Dick Van Dyke show.” “Your mother was right. Never lose your sense of humor or your thumbs.”
For children of my generation that was a direct reference to an episode called “It May Look Like a Walnut” and my mother has been fond of referring to that episode since it first aired.
Dad, not so much, but he tried hard to keep his sense of humor even at the darkest hours. One of them came when he told me he heard about experimental therapy that could prolong his life. Since it wasn’t FDA approved my dad couldn’t get it. “Knowing my luck it would kill me quicker, or make me grow an extra arm,” he joked.
But watching my dad get a death sentence of three months that he suffered through and stretched into a year and half was no joke. And like most who loved their father, there isn’t a day that goes by I don’t miss him. He died when he was two years younger than I am now.
I’ve always wondered if the therapy he heard about could’ve lengthened his life or if there were other therapies we didn’t know about that could’ve done the same.
Last week President Trump signed the “Right to Try” act which will give those dying a chance to try experimental drugs.
Between the low unemployment numbers announced on Friday and the “Right to Try” act signed into law, the president would seem to have had a better week than most under his belt.
Instead, we are inundated with tweets about NFL athletes, and a fake ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House attended by interns and government workers instead of Philadelphia Eagle fans. The president tweets out distractions, undermining his own agenda.
Meanwhile in the press room his surrogates, including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who claims she has more credibility than members of the media even though she won’t admit she’s ever passed erroneous information to the American people.
Some are upset by all this, but I’m not one to lose my thumbs.
I’m convinced the president, and his faux outrage is spurred by reading “Misery is the New Happiness” by comedian John Debellis (2018 Abuzz Press). “Always turn another person’s disaster into how they’re ruining your day,” Debellis wrote. He also wrote “Life is only as bad as we make it.”
Chaos is everywhere and the president has made political gains in this chaos and enraged his base by playing both the victim and the aggressor. Trump continues to scream “Witch Hunt” while his administration has sanctioned 13 Russians indicted by the Mueller investigation.
Rudy Giuliani admitted on national television he is engaged in a strategy to defend the president in the court of public opinion against impeachment because he believes that’s where the Mueller investigation is going to take the country.
People as different as Sen. Jeff Flake, who said, “Don’t go there,” and former FBI Director James Comey have spoken out against impeachment. Rahm Emmanuel, former chief of staff for president Obama and a frequent Trump critic warned that impeachment is a “legal constitutional standard” and not something to be tossed around merely for political reasons.
The president, in an attempt to get out front on the issue pardoned Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative commentator, author filmmaker and provocateur who became a cult figure on the right after proposing conspiratorial theories about former president Obama and Hillary Clinton. The pardon sends a clear message: Anyone indicted and convicted can be rest assured the president will be there with a pardon to greet them on the backside.
To top it off the president, who says he isn’t above the law, says he can pardon himself.
The idea there is he isn’t above the law because the law says he is so. Having fun yet?
Today the issue is: what did the president know and when did he know it? What actions did he take? No matter what else we consider, those issues must be dealt with honestly, openly and factually.
If at the end of the day the president is right and he has done nothing wrong, then everyone had better accept it. If, on the other hand at the end of the day he is found to have done something wrong, we’d better be able to deal with that and accept it as well – all of us.
In the meantime, remember to keep your sense of humor and your thumbs. Dad did both.