Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Tuesday, June 11, 2019


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith and Life for the Years of Winter--

“Mayor Pete” is in town today. It’s not just a campaign appearance, although since he is a presidential candidate, any speaking occasion is a campaign appearance. The mayor of South Bend, IN, Pete Buttigieg was invited by the Hamilton-Lugar School of Global and International Studies at IU, to speak on national security and international relations. It is important that any presidential candidate have a plan for national security and international relations, and that all of us know what it is, so we know if we should vote for him, so we’re glad he’s here.

Helen and I would like to hear him. We have a history of getting into the orbit of presidential candidates early on. When semi-son Len Kirkpatrick graduated from the IL state police academy, the commencement speaker was an unknown IL state legislator with the improbable name of Barack Obama. “He makes a good speech,” I said to Helen, “but he won’t go far with a name like that.”

I feel the same about Mayor Pete. “Buttigieg?” Really? Nobody even knows how to say it, and you can’t call the leader of the free world “President Pete.”

We’d like to go, though, simply to honor the School of Global and International Studies eponymous Lee Hamilton and Richard Lugar, probably the most respected US Congressman and Senator, respectively, of the 20th century. One was a Democrat and the other a Republican, both smart and able, and they put the needs of the nation ahead of their political parties. Lugar died recently and Hamilton, our fellow Bloomingtonian, is 88. The last of their smart, honest, capable breed.

I say all this partly to lead up to a mention of Hamilton’s recent book, Congress, Presidents, and American Politics. It is basically a compilation of the newsletters he sent to constituents in Indiana’s 9th Congressional District while he was their representative in Washington from 1965 to 1999, and continued columns since. I found it very valuable, but it was easiest to read when I read only his introductions and reflections on each column rather than the columns themselves, since the columns necessarily include a lot of facts and figures that are not necessary to understand the issues now.

Well, we’d like to hear Mayor Pete. We won’t go, though, because there is no way old people with walking problems can get to the IU Auditorium, unless we ride the special bus from the Atwater parking garage, and that runs only when the Auditorium is making money off ticket sales. Besides, you had to go yesterday to get a ticket, which are free, and stand in line, and each person could get only one ticket, so both of us would have had to go, and then back today, walking from the parking lot in Terre Haute that is the closest one to the Auditorium…

We’ll just watch Fox News, the way old people do, and find out that Afghanistan veteran Pete said that Democrats don’t favor national security at all and want to turn the country over to Sharia Law. I don’t understand the problem with that, really. I mean, Sharia Law is the same as Alabama Law, and they seem to think that’s okay.

John Robert McFarland

“I think it is an inevitable rule that people destroy what they do not understand.”

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