Only hope can save us!

I’ve kept silent in this hellish political season. That’s a hard thing for a journalist/attorney to do. I’ll admit I was unsure until last night but the light bulb went off as President Obama addressed the Democratic Convention.

I remember that night in 2004 when he first took the national stage. I was mesmerized by his forceful, infectious optimism, not yet tarnished by the corroding abrasion of Washington lawmakers. If you remember, his message was one of hope.

Well, a lot has happened since then. America is living under a cloud of fear. The fear of  parents who can’t imagine how they’ll pay for college for their child; the fear of grandparents who don’t turn on the lights because they can’t afford the bill; the fear of children who see friends shot in the safe harbor of a school and the fear of teens who see heroin as a cheap Saturday night.  Fear has grabbed hold of the black population, scared to send their young men for a container of milk and cops operating under a trigger point state of paranoia for their lives.

History has shown us what fear can do to a population. History in our time and not in the dusty books of a university library. Fear is palpable all around us.

The two candidates who saw that fear in our eyes took the baton and ran to places we never imagined. One who continues to ply that fear and the other whose burn to change it fell short.

Only Americans can change this malaise, this anxiety-ridden cloud that is suffocating us faster than a swath of disease-carrying mosquitoes on a stagnant pond. We are choking with fear. We long for the security of a country that can protect us, rather than a country who is chided and viewed with derision on the global stage. We long for the days when we could send our kids out on a summer night to play safely in the streets without fear of random gunfire. We long for the day when bankruptcy was the taboo and not the norm for every other American. We are Americans. We hope, we dream that our best days are still ahead. Our eternal optimism is what makes us stand out and what makes us strong in this world. That is precisely what makes us Americans.

If we, as Americans, are going to win in November, the candidates need to take our fears seriously, not ignore them. Listen to what the fear mongers are saying and give us a concrete path to tomorrow. That’s the only way to win the election. That’s the only way to tip the numbers in our favor.

Of course we are afraid. It’s a scary world but baseless propaganda which panders to that is not the solution. You’ve got this America, now get out and do something about it and vote. It is your birthright! It is our future.

If you want change……….we’ve come this far……..after 240 years of male leadership, why not let women take the lead!

Time for a change

Yogi & My Dad

When Yankee great Joe DiMaggio died, my Dad was so sad. When I asked why, he replied, “A big part of my childhood just died.”  Today, I finally get it.

Yogi was my childhood hero, along with John Glenn.  They were heroes at a time when that word meant integrity, courage and mastery of the game, whatever game they played.  Yogi was how my Dad and I bonded over The Yankees…you see,  my Dad was a catcher, one of the best and a great baseball/softball coach to me.

A true hero!

Die hard fans never forgave Mr. Steinbrenner when Yogi was banished but we all followed Yogi’s lead, straight into the stadium when he forgave the man and celebrated Yogi Day in 1999.  It was as if God smiled down on The Bronx that summer day and blessed us all with David Cone’s perfect game…who knew that when Don Larsen tossed a catch to Yogi before the game started that we would be a part of baseball history again. A perfect game on a perfect baseball day.

In my many years as a news reporter, I interviewed Presidents and rock stars, but never was I more excited then when I placed a call to Yogi in NJ and got him on the phone for a “beeper.”  My day, my career was made…and the first call I made after hanging up was to my Dad.

Rest in peace Mr. Berra. Have a catch with my Dad when you see him!

Recalling Al DelBello

Westchester lost one of its great sons today.  Former County Executive and Lt. Governor Al DelBello has died at 80 years young.

Al DelBello

Al DelBello/courtesy Patch.com

We came up together, so to speak. Mr. DelBello’s political career and my journalism career were on parallele timelines. I was a young cub reporter spending lonely weekend nights looking for news.  Al always had something for me.  I would call him at home nearly every Sunday night in the early 80s.  If Dee, his lovely wife, answered, she would kindly call him to the phone and we would create news on the spot.  He never brushed me off.  He never thought this local kid reporter was too inexperienced to bother with.  No, he took his time and always gave me a tidbit to leave for the news desk come Monday morning.  I miss those calls.  They don’t make politicians like Al DelBello any longer.  Honest, caring, every man and woman’s leader.

I hadn’t seen him in about two years.  The last time was at one of Dee’s business breakfasts. They always stood by and supported each other. They don’t make love like that any longer either.

Rest in peace Al DelBello. You will be missed.