Selected writings by Graham Bathgate
Four Cemeteries and other Grave Tales
A slim volume of enlightening observations and musings on visits to graveyards in four countries. Very much down the line, but a deadline will help!
Great Memories of USA (Extracts) Original pub. Kapiti Independent News, Nov., 2016
US President Election (2016) In Perspective, a Trifle Compared to US History and Culture
In Scotland long ago I entered my teens, having read stories about cowboys and indians, watched Wagon Train, Bonanza, Maverick and Rawhide, and listened to Doris Day, Bing Crosby, Buddy Holly, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, The Doors and The Beach Boys, and other great American music and culture much extolled until our very own heroes came along, the so-called British Invasion led by the Beatles taking America by storm but not entirely eclipsing its shining lights. Now I live in New Zealand and I often hear of Sir Edmund Hilary and I wonder what he would have said about the US President-elect – perhaps that fine man would have said something like you can scale the heights but it’s what you do afterwards that counts. Meanwhile consider this catalogue of greatness and not-so-wonderful.
The US is a country that produced Geronimo, Wyatt Earp, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Liberace; shot several presidents and John Lennon, invented Rock ’n’ Roll and Jazz (and Hip Hop and Rap), put Neil Armstrong first on the moon and the first men in flight, invented the atom bomb killing 130,000 in Japan, assassinated Martin Luther King and a couple of presidents, produced the Ku Klux Klan and the United Nations, invented the motor car, awarded Pulitzer prizes for sparkling achievements, and saved Britain from speaking German. And consider, too: Silicon Valley, Scientology, cell phones and the internet; the needless invasions of Viet Nam and Iraq, over 30% of all scientific research and development funding to the world, prohibition of the sale of alcohol and overtaxing its poor people; no gay marriage in most States but poligamy OK in some; moving pictures and Hollywood with the likes of Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Ronald Reagan; inventors such as Alexander Graham Bell (OK, so he was Scottish working in Canada, but the first phone patent was American), Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin, … …
… … American achievements should make up for a President Trump without so much as blinking. Apart from which it’s possible that even President Trump will become wonderfully presidential as befitting the greatest office in the world. If that should miraculously occur, it probably won’t prevent woeful promised policies, trying to control the legislature, interfering in global warming, influencing the media and making things up. Anyway, as we say in Scotland, “Dinna fash yersel’”; in Canada, “Take it easy!”; in the USA, “You have a good day!”; and way down here in li’l ol’ God’s Own New Zealand, “Good on ya! She’ll be right”. No doubt, time will tell what the US President-elect does after scaling his Everest. At least Scotland, Canada and New Zealand don’t hold circus-like elections … yet!