Gavel Gamut… By Judge Jim Redwine
The national conventions of the Republican and Democratic parties came in with the football season. There were bright colors and loud cheers, emotional fans and star players. And, much as with many football powerhouses early in the season, there were metaphorical pummelings of straw men. Many of these were directed at personalities and some even addressed differences of opinion on policy. But all of them featured heroic struggles by members of the home team and fifteen yard penalties for the opposition.
Both parties called upon past presidents and current success stories as well as popular entertainers. I understand political conventions honoring and learning from politicians. But other than Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, I have reservations about Hollywood being seen as a Mecca for philosopher kings. On the other hand, there are lessons one might learn from the foibles of someone else, especially a supernova like Clint Eastwood, ad libbing in front of the whole world.
Eastwood, who is 82 years old and almost half a century removed from his role in Rawhide, was supposed to speak for five minutes, but rambled on for thirteen. He managed to usurp the coveted 10 p.m. prime time slot with obscene references and banal attempts at humor. His old foreman on Rawhide, Gil Favor, would have saved him from himself but, unfortunately, Mr. Favor was unavailable.
However, Mr. Eastwood provided an object lesson to all of us who might be tempted to attempt dangerous endeavors for which we may be no longer suited. Snow skiing, football and running for president come to mind.
When one is tempted to do something that we might introduce with, “Hey, watch this!”, the image of Dirty Harry Callahan fumbling in front of millions of viewers and losing a debate to an empty chair should give us pause.
So, while there is no saving the iconic tough guy from being invaded by the body snatchers from the nursing home, at least we can thank him for providing a warning to the rest of us. Of course, just as Rowdy often ignored Mr. Favor’s sage counsel, we must heed the warning to benefit from it.