Shushing talk of presidential politics

Published 8:50 am Thursday, August 18, 2016

We banned all talk of Donald and Hillary at our recent family vacation. The adults were all told that we were spending the week without inflicting the nastiness and division of the political campaign onto our week away from the stresses of home.

We would talk about … anything else.

All was peaceful and calm until …

Until the grandchildren got into it.

“I’m for Hillary,” said the 9 year old.

“Well I’m for Trump,” replied the 8 year old.

We hadn’t thought to tell the youngsters to stifle their thoughts on the campaign.

As a first grader, I remember the back-and-forth debate on the school bus over John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Girls were charmed with Kennedy’s Boston accent. The boys tended to be for Nixon.

The New York Times over the weekend printed a story about the Clinton-Trump war threatening to break up marriages as husbands and wives split over their choices and bring the campaign battle into their homes. The husbands tend to be in the Trump camp. Wives are trending toward Clinton.

November is coming.

Meanwhile, the first predictable cartoons have emerged of President Obama asking, “Miss me yet?”

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In another part of the world, a coup attempt in Turkey failed a couple weeks back. President Erdogan survived and has begun a wide-spread purge of the military, teachers, students and government leaders. He seems bent on using the coup to eliminate all opposition and seize total control.

That’s what happens when a coup fails.

In 1944, a bomb planted by German Col. Claus van Staffenberg failed to kill Hitler. Hundreds of military officers were shot as a result. Plotters, realizing Germany was losing the war, had hoped to salvage the country by eliminating Hitler.

• • • • •

We have begun a few college visits with our rising high school senior, who has been studiously disinterested in the process. I’ve thought about his college choice a lot more than he has.

While coming home from vacation we veered off Interstate 40 in Asheville to look at the campus of UNC-Asheville. The college is small with a good academic reputation. The City of Asheville, of course, has a reputation of being a little … unusual.

The campus was pretty enough, and we got out to look around, finding our way to the quad. Signs warned pedestrians not to step onto the grass because it was being developed as one of those eco-friendly lawns without chemical fertilizers. On the edge was a big clump of goosegrass. I battle goosegrass at home with every chemical I can muster in the war.

I don’t think I could send money to a college that supports goosegrass. I had to fight the urge to rip the clump out of the soil as a favor to the college.

UNC-Asheville doesn’t have a football team, which is a big factor in my consideration. That’s why I so enthusiastically supported the middle son’s choice of the University of Oklahoma.

By that standard, maybe we should visit the University of Alabama …

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If you think it’s hot, imagine how the Davie High football players will feel in full pads and uniforms on Friday night for the season opener at Greensboro Page. The high is expected to be 89 that day. Good luck, Davie boys.

— Dwight Sparks