Maybe cur­rent cri­sis-of-the-day panic will lead us to hard looks in the mir­ror

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - LOCAL PERSPECTIVES - Bill Lohmann [email protected]­patch.com [email protected]­patch.com (804) 649-6639

Icould’ve sworn I read Bar­num & Bai­ley packed up its big top and went home a cou­ple of years ago.

I bring this up be­cause the last week or so — if you can

get past the se­ri­ous­ness OPIN­ION of the is­sues in­volved — has been a real cir­cus around here.

The news about lo­cal news­mak­ers has been dis­heart­en­ing enough, and then the rest of the na­tion says, “Hold my beer.” A Florida politi­cian ac­cused of lick­ing men’s faces? Ama­zon founder Jeff Be­zos’ al­leg­ing ex­tor­tion in­volv­ing in­ti­mate pho­to­graphs against the Na­tional En­quirer, which is run by a guy named Pecker? (The tabloids must feel like they’re stand­ing in the bat­ter’s box with a Louisville Slug­ger and a slow-mov­ing beach ball float­ing to­ward the plate.)

All of this against the back­drop of seem­ingly un­end­ing crazi­ness com­ing out of Washington and other in­ter­na­tional cap­i­tals.

So, yes, 2019 has been a year to for­get, and I’ll be glad to see it go as it has com­pletely worn me out — (checks cal­en­dar) — though we ap­pear to still be in the sec­ond week of Fe­bru­ary.

Speak­ing of the En­quirer, per­haps next week we will learn a space­ship filled with vis­i­tors from an­other galaxy has landed safely in New Kent? Or Goochland? Or maybe even the last open field in Short Pump? (I’d sug­gest down­town Rich­mond, but park­ing can be a chal­lenge for out-of-town­ers.)

At this stage, though, who would bet against it?

I mean, who would have thought pag­ing through high school and col­lege year­books would be­come such a per­son­ally har­row­ing ex­pe­ri­ence?

I write this as some­one who gen­er­ally steers clear of pol­i­tics, but it seems that much of what has en­snared pub­lic of­fi­cials — and, for that mat­ter, any­one else at any time do­ing any­thing mean or stupid or self­ish, par­tic­u­larly when they’re young — is self-in­flicted, born in bad judg­ment, bad in­ten­tions or gen­eral clue­less­ness.

There’s a lot to be said for try­ing to live by the no­tion of never do­ing any­thing that you wouldn’t want your mother to know about or that you wouldn’t want to read on the front page of the news­pa­per (even at a much later date).

Few of us are dis­ci­plined enough to ad­here strictly to that adage, but it doesn’t mean it’s not good pol­icy.

Maybe, if we’re lucky, this will all lead be­yond the ob­vi­ous po­lit­i­cal pos­tur­ing and the cri­sis-of-the-day panic and into the realm of a much-needed, hard look in the mir­ror.

Per­haps there will be a reck­on­ing of what went on in the past and how we move on to a bet­ter fu­ture where we can all get along, re­spect one an­other and make the world a bet­ter place for ev­ery­one — and why it’s im­por­tant to think be­fore you act and to un­der­stand why cer­tain things are not just po­ten­tial rep­u­ta­tion-killers and sources of em­bar­rass­ment but hurt­ful to oth­ers and sim­ply wrong. Or not.

Maybe when the smoke from this dump­ster fire fi­nally clears and the danc­ing ele­phants have gone back to where re­tired cir­cus acts live, we will merely re­turn to busi­ness as usual, as if noth­ing hap­pened. That would be sad and a missed op­por­tu­nity.

If noth­ing else, this has served to en­lighten those who might still be con­fused at this late date that slather­ing black shoe pol­ish on your face is not ac­cept­able (and wear­ing white sheets with eye­holes and pointy hats is even worse). So, you know, make a men­tal note.

Mean­time, as we fig­ure out how we move for­ward, we could re­ally use a lit­tle di­ver­sion from the 24/7 on­slaught of grim news (and good­ness knows what comes next), and I’ve got one:

Spring train­ing! Pitch­ers and catch­ers re­port this week.

Maybe when the smoke from this dump­ster fire fi­nally clears ... we will merely re­turn to busi­ness as usual, as if noth­ing hap­pened. That would be sad and a missed op­por­tu­nity.

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