Potpourri and Trumpery

Randy Riley - Contributing Columnist

When my term as mayor expired and I became the president of city council, I also considered retiring from writing this weekly column. Tom Barr, the editor of the Wilmington News Journal, told me that he would like for me to continue writing the Tuesday column. He also said that he was willing to double my writing pay from not-a-red-cent per week to double-not-a-red-cent per week. OK. I work cheap. At least now it’s doubled.

The real thing that keeps me writing a weekly newspaper column is the encouragement I get from friends, neighbors and strangers. Rarely do we get through a shopping trip to Kroger without someone stopping me and making very kind comments about the column. I am humbled by that and encouraged to continue writing.

I usually like to have a theme running through each of my columns. I try to follow my old college professor’s advice to carefully craft an introduction to the topic, compose the body of the essay to convey the main message I want the reader to grasp and then end the column with a summation that neatly wraps up everything. Whether I always achieve that goal is up to the reader to decide, but that’s what I try to do.

Today, I’m going to do something different. Throughout any week, I make notes and write down ideas for future columns. Some ideas end up as the theme for a full column. Many ideas end up in the scrap pile. A few ideas have become double columns. However, most of my ideas never make it to print. So, today will be a potpourri of thoughts and ideas that have finally make it from my brain to the paper.

The other day I heard someone use the word “trumpery” in a sentence. I didn’t even know that was a real word. So, I looked it up and discovered that it’s a very old word. It originated in France over 400 years ago.

It strikes me as interesting that many names in common use throughout America are descriptive.

Anyone with a last name of Baker can probably trace their roots to an old bakery shop. A person named Smith can climb down a few branches on their family tree and they’ll definitely find someone working as a blacksmith. Brewers made beer or whiskey and Coopers made barrels to hold the fruits of the Brewers labors.

Names often described a person, or what a person did. Now, let’s take a look at the word “trumpery.” The British Dictionary defines trumpery as a noun that means; 1) foolish talk or actions, 2) a useless or worthless article; trinket. The adjective form of the word trumpery means; useless or worthless.

Many people who are staunch supporters of Donald Trump will be offended by the use of the word trumpery as either a noun or an adjective. People who do not want Donald Trump to be our next president will find a direct connection between the meaning of the word and their beliefs about the candidate.

Personally, as someone who enjoys words, I find it all quite interesting and somewhat amusing.

Another interesting item in politics was reported in the pages of the News Journal recently.

Politicians can legally lie and get away with it. We have always known that politicians can be pretty loose with the facts, but if discovered lying, they could be held accountable. Now, according to the report in our hometown paper, the 6th District Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling that candidates for public office can say anything they want.

Their statements, distortions of the truth and downright lies are now considered protected by their First Amendment right of free speech. Apparently, our right to hear the truth is less important than their right to twist the truth. I find that quite interesting, also, but not so amusing.

Another interesting item has me thinking. The politicians and various candidates make a lot of noise about what the polls are saying — that is, until they don’t like what the polls are saying.

Mr. Trump bragged for weeks about his poll numbers. However, now that almost every poll indicates that Governor John Kasich is the only remaining Republican candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton, the polls don’t seem to matter anymore.

Come on GOP. If the general election is going to be between Trump and Clinton, Clinton will win. Trump will lose. Only John Kasich has a chance to be our next Republican president. We need to support him.

Here’s another goofy thing. I recently received an email about my Discover credit card. It showed my current balance and gave me a button to push if I wanted to make a payment – using my credit card.

My question is; if I pay my credit card bill with my credit card… what happens? That sounds like the way our federal government pays their bills. Smoke and mirrors and more and more debt.

Randy Riley is President of Council of Wilmington.


Randy Riley

Contributing Columnist