They are also good honorable family men and friends of mine.
One of the trends that has most disturbed me, observing over the last 8 years, is the gradual demise and now the almost total lack of political dialogue in this country.
I am not talking about the media. Corporations control the mainstream, and honest debate and reporting of the facts and the truth has been marginalized. Even PBS has become a disappointment.
But it is what it is. And it will inevitably change.
I remember many lively fairway debates, and many sharp witty follow-up exchanges the following week on the group email. Jokes. Insults. Weblinks and amusing pictures.
Sarcasm, irony, truths and half-truths, red herrings and deliberate lies, back-and-forth, give-and-take, points conceded and points stuck to, argued confidently or spuriously clung to.
And next Saturday morning we would all be smiling and shaking hands once again on the 1st tee.
Why? Am I a coward? Do I not have the courage of my convictions? Am I afraid?
No. It was because debate had ceased. I remember the exact day. I had sent a picture of Bush holding hands with the Crown Prince and pointed out that the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian, the Wahabbis finance a great deal of world terrorism, Osama is Saudi Arabian, that the country is a dictatorship and treat women inhumanely. And that Saddam and Al Qaeda were sworn enemies. Simple facts.
The stream of vitriol I received was shocking. Caps. Colors. Limey Go Home! Hypocrite! America-Hater!
So I had a choice. Keep banging my head on a brick wall, or shut up and keep my friends.
It was never like this before. How did it happen?
I remember the Bush-Gore debates. I remember Bush with his earpiece, blinking in the headlights, repeating Rovian soundbites, while Gore reasoned, strung logical thoughts together, tried to debate. And I remember the opinion poll afterwards. Majority for Bush, because Gore "came across as arrogant " and Bush "a man of the people ". I knew then we were in big trouble. It had worked. And boy have they taken it to the limit.
This is becoming a polarized and divisive nation. A nation of Us vs Them. Of Rich vs Poor. "Immigrants " vs "The People ". Christians vs Liberals. False premises all.
A nation of You 're With Us Or You 're Against Us, of investigative journalists and Democratic dissenters tagged as traitors, of unquestioning faith in the right and might of Bombs Bursting In Air and The Rocket 's Red Glare.
Of Christianity vs Islam. Of "Bring 'Em On ". Of permanent war and fear.