Tonight was the only debate there will be between Texas gubernatorial candidates, Governor Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. Abbott decreed there would be only one debate and no audience, so questions came from three political journalists, plus a few call-in ones from across the state. There was some concern, at least on my part, that Beto’s temper might get the better of him, but he was good—calm, controlled, knowledgeable, sincere, and sharp. Sure, he responded a couple of times when it wasn’t his turn but nothing bad or obvious. Abbott was as he always is calm, cold. self-assured—and blaming everything on President Biden or accusing Beto of twisting the truth.
tell when Abbott was dodging, dissembling, and glossing over only because I’ve
made a point of educating myself. He totally dodged a question about whether he
had become extremely right-wing, and he blew it on abortion, saying Beto favored
it up until the first breath. Clearly, Abbott doesn’t understand medical
considerations or the Hippocratic Oath—doctors are bound by their oath and by
law to do their best to save all patients. So they would resuscitate a baby about
to take its first breath or one that survived an abortion procedure. I truly
thought Beto came off much better, but I am prejudiced.
it in context: I had an interesting visitor tonight, a longtime friend (forty
years or more) who I haven’t seen in several years. We caught up on families
and old friends in common—mostly who had died, which is discouraging. But we
have been estranged since 2015 over her support of trump. She apparently didn’t
realize it and shrugged it off saying she had to vote with her late husband—but
that’s another story. It came up easily in conversation, so I addressed the elephant
in the room with us, and she asked me to explain my beliefs. So I talked about
immigration and the unequal distribution of wealth under Republicans for the last
forty years, among other topics. I thought maybe I had made a convert, but it
turns out I flattered myself.
asked how I knew all this, and I replied that I make it a point to be well informed.
She said she has access to the New York Times and the Washington
Post, but I couldn’t tell that she reads either. So I promised to send her
some links. But as she left, she said, “I’m just not that interested in
politics.” I replied that she should be because the future of our country is at
stake, and she said, “I think the country’s doing just fine, no matter who’s in
charge.” That, I thought, is it: voter apathy. I cannot tell you how
discouraged I was. But now the debate has energized me again.
anxious to read the analyses from political reporters. Guess I’ll go prowling
on the web.
that’s it for tonight, because my focus today was on the debate, though I will
brag that I’ve written two thousand words in the last two days. And my
puzzlement for the day: UPS has sent me a bill, with a return envelope, for
three cents. I seriously thought of taping three pennies to the bill and
returning it, but I’m not sure I could scrounge up three pennies—you never see
them in circulation anymore. And I remember reading somewhere that it costs
seven dollars to write and process a check. And they want me to write a check
for three cents?
get rid of a bit of my corporate anger today. Cigna sent me a reminder that my
six-month dental checkup is around the corner and in a separate email a
reminder that my account was past due. This from the company that wrote me in
September they had cancelled my insurance July 31? When I called, they said
they still had an active account for me. I told them to cancel it because there
was no way I would ever deal with Cigna again. Told them I had called simply
because I thought they should know how poor their customer relations are but if
they wanted to send me a gold-plated apology that, too, would be appropriate. I
can’t remember which one of us hung up first, but they were profuse in their
the world goes on. Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling is the most troublesome thing
I can think of tonight, and I am tempted to reread Faulkner’s 1950 Nobel Prize
believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail.” Putin
has gone from claiming Ukraine was aggressive to blaming the western world, and
one analyst has suggested we are already fighting World War III—on Ukrainian
territory. That’s an awful thought to sign off on.
Live in the present
moment: it’s fall, a time when life seems to pick up the pace again, another
year begins with all its opportunities. I am tempted to quote the words with
which the mother of a good friend from my childhood days used to waken us in
the morning: “God has made another new day. Think! Shall we let it slip useless
away?” Well, God has made another school year. We won’t let it slip useless
away. Sweet dreams.