I love riding my bike every day. I experience a wonderful physical pleasure pressing down on the pedals and feeling myself flying across the path. In addition, I am very happy that bike riding has also helped me to attain a level of good health higher than I ever enjoyed in my life. Those are the physical things. Very important to me. There are also other aspects of riding that I enjoy very much. I can’t tell you how many times that I have pedaled across the pavement and found myself bouncing around ideas for a blog post. Ideas connect, I do some phrasing and by the time I get home it is like I can dictate the post from my head.
This is one of those posts. I love John Fogerty and his wonderful upbeat music. Here is one he performed about ten years ago during the last administration.
I grew up in the ’40’s. As kids we went to the movies on Saturday and saw double features of cowboy movies. Lots of gunslingers. There is something archetypal about a gunslinger. A loner, quiet, deadly, mysterious, a scary guy.
Here are a couple of insights and a connection that have been going through my head for several rides. First, as a boxing fan, I am familiar with the incredible upset victory that young Cassius Clay (he had not yet changed his name) achieved over Sonny Liston. Much has been written about this fight, Clay was a brash youngster. Liston a powerful old brawler. He claimed to be 32 years old, but some experts put him closer to 40. He had spent time in prison for armed robbery. Of the 46 fight writers at ringside, 43 picked Liston to win. I read somewhere, and, sadly, I can’t find it now, that secretly Liston was afraid of Clay. Clay acted truly crazy, including driving his bus through Liston’s neighborhood at 3:00 AM and waking up the neighborhood challenging Liston to fight him. While in prison, Liston had seen truly insane individuals and feared them. So, Clay was clearly the gunslinger in that situation. A loner, quiet, deadly, mysterious, a scary guy.
The other instance I thought of was between President Reagan and Nikita Khrushchev. My understanding is that Khrushchev also feared Reagan. Part of it was the press at the time which gave Reagan a certain wild west personality, not suited to be president. (sound familiar?) Also, Reagan had actually played a cowboy in the movies which influenced the Russian leader. Again, it was that gunslinger personality that struck fear into the heart of his opponent. A loner, quiet, deadly, mysterious, a scary guy.
And, finally, there is our gunslinger – President Trump. Like Reagan he has been vilified by the mainstream media. Numerous attacks on his intelligence, character, you name it. Certainly a slightly unstable entity, in the eyes of the press.
Now, let’s look at the Syrian Tomahawk missile launch. My understanding is that the President Trump excused himself in the middle of dinner with the Chinese President, Xi Jinping. When he returned, he informed the Chinese leader that he had just launched 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria. Enjoying your main course? A loner, quiet, deadly, mysterious, a scary guy.
What I think is going on these days is that cunning and extremely intelligent leaders, such as Vladimir Putin, are thinking the U.S. has a gunslinger in the White House. Who knows what he might do? My feeling is that President Trump will have vastly more success in relations with Putin than his predecessor. Likewise in relations with Iran. A loner, quiet, deadly, mysterious, a scary guy.