June 30, 2022

How I learned not to trust people like Trump

Sam Smith – I remain startled that anyone can be fooled by someone like Trump. Some of the reason is that no small part of my journalism career involved investigating corrupt politicians.. I also spent my young teen years in Phiily where I was introduced to politics in a campaign that ended 69 years of corrupt Republican rule. I went to college in Cambridge Massachusetts, where, at Harvard, my best course was covering the town’s city council, , hardly a role model for virtue, for the student radio station.  

But even before all that, as a young kid I recognized the bad guys because I was an avid reader of comic books. We lived next to a small psychiatric treatment center which had a golf course that was also the short cut to my public elementary school. I used it daily as I once  described:

The attendants were friendly, especially a gangly orderly of minimal intelligence who became my dealer in comic books. Comic books were verbotem in our house, as was reading the Sunday funnies. The Roseneath orderly also introduced me to golf, thus becoming the first person to show any interest in teaching me a sport. He was a voracious comic book reader and gave me his old copies, which I would sneak to the third floor and hide under my bed until it was safe to peruse them. The house, being old, was full of creaks and my room, being at the end of the hall from the stairway, was virtually impervious to silent approach. Nonetheless, innate caution led me to read much of my contraband library by flashlight after I was presumed asleep.

Unfortunately, either through carelessness on my part or by accident, both the comic books and my source of supply were discovered. My parents, outraged at my deceit, were even more concerned that the orderly might have some perverted designs on me. Since, in behavior at least, the orderly was orderly, and since I could not at that point imagine what beastly acts he might be intending -- murder was my best guess, which I discounted as unlikely on a golf course in daylight -- I simply waited until the heat was off and then resumed importing the nefarious literature, albeit with considerably more care.

For me, it would be a new adventure every evening and I could never predict whether the wanderings of my mind would lead me to triumph or to a tragic end. Each was equally thrilling. These tales had their roots in Jack Armstrong, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, and the Shadow. But comic books slowly faded as I learned that I no longer needed each line drawn and colored in.

In short, while I still was in elementary school I learned the difference between good and bad guys, regardless of what my parents and teachers thought of comic books. As I grew older, I learned life was more complicated and that there were those who were both good and bad, like Lyndon Johnson, but the clues to the latter I had discovered by sixth grade.

And Donald Trump was an easy example. Just another comic book villain. 






1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not JUST! Not COMIC! Truly a Villain of the first order!

Semper Paratus