“I should dearly love that the world should be ever so little better for my presence. Even on this small stage we have our two sides, and something might be done by throwing all one’s weight on the scale of breadth, tolerance, charity, temperance, peace and kindliness to man and beast. We can’t all strike very big blows, and even the little ones count for something.”

— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, physician and writer (1859-1930)

***

The press has been taking in on the chin.

Since Trump the candidate began, he has used the press to his advantage when it suited him and denounced it when it didn’t.

Rallying around his “fake news” mantra like a preacher at a revival, he fires up his base and the continued body blows may have some effect down the line on the mainstream media; time will tell.

Trump continues to whine and blame the press for false stories, and the Democrats for creating a witch hunt – now the special prosecutor is against him. His claim that he is the most maligned politician ever just doesn’t play. The hypocrisy in politics gives me the shivers, as both sides have practiced obstructionism for decades.

In Maine we have a Republican governor who at one point vetoed everything submitted by a Democrat, just on his general principle. Our prior president was the victim of obstructionism throughout his eight years that culminated in Republicans' not allowing him to appoint a Supreme Court justice by blocking the nomination process. Sad.

The media don't always get it right, and often you can see a political slant in what you read in what the mainstream media chooses to cover, and where it is placed in the queue. The worst of it could be Trump’s network of choice, FOX; good that they dropped their “fair and balanced” tagline, as their agenda of bashing the mainstream media is unabashed and obvious.

In the end, it boils down to who you trust. The mainstream media is essential, and is the only thing that separates America from totalitarian countries. They are the watchdogs and they are the ones charged with bringing things to the surface. They will get things wrong from time to time, but the vetting that goes on at the New York Times and the Washington Post are beyond reproach, as it is on the mainstream television news networks of ABC, NBC and CBS. None of these organizations has an agenda like FOX or the Koch brothers. Influence maybe, but not an agenda.

We need to let the special prosecutor and the press corps alone; no amount of whimpering should shift us from that. The same people calling this a witch hunt are the ones who called for the impeachment of Clinton. In both these cases, it is up to the special prosecutor to figure it out. Let him do his job.

Where were these same politicians when former President Bush led us into the Iraq conflict based on information that there were weapons of mass destruction? When it suits their purpose, the press is fine, when it doesn’t, they discredit it by calling it “fake.”

By the way, last week's Trump mandates abolishing much of the Obama reform on Cuba policy reek of common sense being crapped on. When Trump tells us that when Cuba adopts human rights and free elections, he’ll think about lifting sanctions again, one can only scratch one’s head and wonder about the hypocrisy again. He makes a deal with an oppressive regime like Saudi Arabia, that he lauds as “huge,” and then throws common sense out the window by sermonizing that Cuba should adopt our ideals. Common sense suggests that we should consider Cuba to be a strategic ally; since it is only 80 miles off our borders, we should strive for normalized relations, not sanctions.

***

In state politics, common sense is meeting a challenge with the tip credit and the restaurant industry.

After determining that the tip credit should be restored and listening to the pleas of servers across the state, the Legislature overwhelmingly agreed. It has been a tough fight, but, in the end, the legislators listened to the workers in the trenches, and not the special interests that wanted it to disappear, or politicians who thought they knew best.

The Legislature, as a body, understood that the referendum was a mandate to create a livable wage by increasing the minimum wage to $12. Eliminating the tip credit was a way for the sponsors of the referendum to impose their desires by tagging it onto the wording. Even though tipped workers are protected by law to make minimum wage, there were some who wanted to change the restaurant industry in Maine based on their own agendas.

In any case, the initial vote in the Maine Senate was exactly one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to have the tip credit go into effect immediately, rather than wait until October (after the busy tourist season). After passing in the Maine House, it then came back to the Senate for a final vote and the one vote needed to give Maine servers what they wanted was promised, but wilted in the final hours; one can theorize that pressure was applied by his colleagues and the senator caved.

The shame and the assault on common sense is that though they lost the battle, the mostly Democratic senators voting “no” essentially decided that they would punish the opposition in what is bad sportsmanship and self-serving.

Perhaps a little more grace from the Democrats would inspire the Republicans, and then perhaps more middle ground could be found. I recently was on the losing end of a vote and wasn’t going to get what I wanted. The decision to be graceful in defeat and to vote on something more in the spirit of compromise was hard to stomach, but in the end it was pragmatic and met the principles of common sense.

Common sense and decency; where has it all gone?