Carroll County Times

Dean Minnich: Higher ideals will prevail in gun debate

Those who ply a trade in words sail treacherous seas.

I once wrote that I felt a special kinship with the Canada goose, explaining that I admired the bird's grace in the sky, majesty on the surface of the ponds, tenacity in standing by a mate for life, courage in fending off marauding foxes - like that.

A local farmer called to say he found my comments enlightening, having been a reader for some time. He agreed that I might share some of the traits of the bird, but not exactly in the ways I had listed.

Geese, he said, are pests; noisy, quarrelsome, leaving a lot of crap behind them and ruining what others might mistake as a pristine and scenic farm pond.

Journalism, you see, requires that you keep your mind open to the perceptions of others. It's an instructive profession in that respect. Like political work.

Hillary Clinton's farewell as secretary of state was, in my view, triumphant.

Congressional Republicans were handed a bit of claw and fur for their efforts to discredit her, and through her, the Obama administration. The hearings into the "facts" of what happened to our ambassador and staff in Benghazi was a cheap charade for partisan rebuke, and she lit up their pretensions with a fine laser of riposte worthy of a master of the "Star Wars" light saber.

They were Jabba the Hutt, and she was a feisty combination of Princess Leia, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. The captive became the champion, the victorious protector of truth and justice.

Long before I learned to grant grudging credit to the skills of President Bill Clinton, I said I thought she would make a better president. She has shown that she has the grit and the intelligence, and today is ranked as America's most popular political figure.

And who was that guy who was badgering her from the big stuffed chairs at the front of the room? I forget.

That puffed up pretender to perfection, like his colleague, Lindsay Graham, and the pompous Rand Paul, and the good ol' boys whose moralizing runs along party lines as sure as waste follows sewerage, show less character and leadership than even that rascal Bill Clinton, reduced to a late show joke for his escapades with a young aide.

Why has Bill Clinton kept the respect of the American people? Maybe because he's just plain likable. Maybe because he showed his human side, and with it, compassion for others who may not always win awards for their choices, but deserve to be treated as human beings, and not just pawns in a vote count.

And maybe we have accepted Bill Clinton, in his retirement, as a leader among Americans because he survived what had to be a few interesting moments with Hillary Clinton in the wake of that tacky adventure in the Oval Office.

And finally, while Vice President Joe Biden has done a better job and corralling the rhetoric around the issue of gun control, I have to wonder how it would be going if Hillary Clinton took on the NRA and the Wayne LaPierres of the world.

We already know that oh, so many of the respectable and responsible and reasonable gun owners in the country are not supportive of the NRA's remarks, let alone its position, on at least trying to deal with the complex issue of rights versus public security.

I have to think that if Hillary decided to really wade into the fray, all the hard-liners would see marginal sympathy melt away, and they'd feel a lot more comfortable retreating to underground bunkers, as did the old recluse in Alabama who shot a bus driver and abducted a kid - while exercising his Second Amendment rights.