A (much) younger Rumpole sipping coffee and tuning in the BBC which re-broadcast a CBC broadcast by Canadian Journalist Gordon Sinclair that can be viewed below.
It was a different time, but not a simpler one. True, there was not a 24 hour news cycle and the ability to remain in constant contact with the world via cellular phones, computers and Twitter wasn't even a twinkle in the eye of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. But the Vietnam war was coming to a disastrous conclusion. And President Nixon, who had enthusiastically prosecuted the war since taking office in 1968, lied about bombing Cambodia abroad, and lied about breaking into the Watergate office complex at home. It was a difficult time to be an American abroad. There was a lot to be troubled about. There was a recession at home, plus inflation, high unemployment, unrest in the cities, and we were barely five years removed from the murders of Martin and Bobby.
And yet, troubled though we were, we wouldn't ever back down in support of our country. Maybe America didn't belong in Vietnam, but it was American men dying for a just cause (in theory at least- the destruction of fascist communism. Just ask those who lived through the horrors of the killing fields of Cambodia how peaceful Communism was back then.) Nobody thought for one moment that if America was successful in the Vietnam war that we would remain and occupy Vietnam and conscript its peoples. It was taken for granted that Americans win wars and then go home. We did it twice in Europe in the span of twenty five years at the beginning of the last century and it was understood we would do it again in Asia or wherever we were needed.
We've been thinking a lot about 1973 and 2011 lately.
A few weeks ago our country's credit rating was downgraded. America aired our dirty laundry about our debt problems in public. We don't hide our problems, we fix them.
This past decade saw American men and woman dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, and despite our successes we have not taken one red cent from their treasuries to repay the trillion dollars we have spent. A trillion dollars rebuilds an awful lot of schools, roads, hospitals and parks. It buys a lot of health care and pays for a lot of jobs for the unemployed.
Our economy is weak, we may be facing a double dip recession, the housing market crashed and has not yet recovered, and twenty five million Americans are unemployed or underemployed.
In many ways, at home and abroad, things are as bleak as 1973.
And so, we present to you one special Canadian: Mr. Gordon Sinclair, and his original broadcast in 1973 that had one American, his hair a big longer, his backpack a bit rattier, walking a bit taller in the streets of Europe that summer.
Where have you gone Mr. Sinclair? We need your words now more than ever.
Enjoy your holiday weekend. Courts are closed Monday. See You In Court Tuesday.