Enemy of the State

I’m less than a year from reaching my seventh decade of living.

At 69, I will turn 70 by the end of the year, if I’m still breathing and above ground.

I do so as “an enemy of the state.”

No, a local or state or federal grand jury has not handed down any indictments.

No police officers, state trooper or federal marshals are trying to find me to attest…at least not yet.

I’m an enemy of the state because I report news for the media.

Reporters and the press, says new president Donald John Trump, are “dishonest” and print “lies” and are “corrupt.”

Interestly, the charges come from a new president with the lowest public approval ratings in this century, who is cited as a “four pinnochios” liar by seasoned and credible “fact checking” operations and stands up in public and swears he didn’t say something that unedited videotape shows he did say.

Trump claims his inauguration on Jan. 20 was the “largest in history” in both broadcast ratings and actual crowd.

Neilsen ratings, however, say otherwise.  His broadcast ratings came in seventh — behind Ronald Regan’s 41.8 million, Barack Obama (37.7 million), Jimmy Carter (34.1 million and even Richard Nixon (33 million).

Online, CNN reported 16.9 million viewers on its web site, well-short of the 25 million who watched Obama.

Aerial photos from The Associated Press shows the crowd that packed the National Malll from the U.S. Capitol for Obama eight years ago while open space appeared in several gaps of people for Trump.

Washington’s Metro System says its ridership on Inauguration Day was down from Obama’s in 2009.

Trump and his aides dismissed the stories as “fabrications” by “the fake media.”

As a news reporter and photographer for most of my 50 plus years working for a living, I have often been accused of being slanted one way or another.

If I write something that puts a Republican in a bad light, I’m called “a liberal” by the polite ones and a “lib-turd” by those of a more angry nature.

When one of my stories puts the glare on a Democrat, I’m called a member of the “rabid right” or a “right-wing wacko.”

Since I’m called all of the above in the course of a normal week, one has to ask:  “Which is true?”

Not a single one.

Jim Echols, city editor at my first daily newspaper reporting job (way back in 1965), said when he hired me:

“You’ve got six months to piss off one side in this city (Roanoke, Virginia) and then six months to piss off the other side.  If you don’t, I’ll fire your ass and find someone who will.”

I’m a political atheist, an individual with no locked leanings one way or the other.

As support limited government in some cases, more government in others.

I agree with a woman’s right to choose but I also sometimes carry a concealed weapon (and have a permit to do so).

I’m a motorcyclist who always wears a helmet (a full-face one), even in states where they are not required by law but I support regulations that allows an adult to make the decision themselves and not have one mandated by law.

My motorcycle helmets carry a sticker that says:

I’m not a Democrat.

I’m not a Republican.

I’m an American.

There is a difference.